What do you need to consider when planning a gap year? How can you get ready for it and what should you be aware of during these Covid times?
It feels like a huge step with infinite possibilities and lots of things to prepare but if you make sure to plan ahead and do your homework, you’ll set yourself up for success.
Here are our top tips for planning your 2021 gap year...
Start with your why. Brainstorm your reasons for taking a gap year, take note of your passions and interests, and try to find an experience that fits what you’re looking for. There are so many great gap year programs including volunteering, foreign language classes, experiential learning, and even taking an internship abroad.
Once you’ve established your why then you’ll be able to sift through the mountains of information and pick out programs you truly feel passionate about. And another thing, don’t limit yourself – you can accomplish so much on your gap year and combining more than one passion is totally possible!
When & Where?
Sounds simple but deciding on where you’d like to go and what time of the year can take some planning! Narrow it down to your top three destinations, then, check out what these places are like during the time of year you want to go. Try to avoid high season so you don’t go paying extra and try to plan around the weather so you get to actually enjoy the city you visit! And don’t forget to check Covid-19 regulations and closures too which can also have major impacts on your stay.
Once you’ve selected your destination, course dates and the program itself – you should definitely prepare yourself. If you’re taking an internship, a language course or any other experience – get familiar with it. Do background research, study, connect with future colleagues or classmates beforehand, get to know the culture, the location, the lifestyle etc.
One of the best ways to approach your gap year is to feel prepared for it. We have noticed that students who make an effort to learn about the destination, the program and the institution they’d be attending beforehand, often feel more relaxed, more confident and more able to enjoy every part of what’s coming.
We can say from experience that attitude is a huge part of a student’s success. Even if everything is mapped out to perfection, that doesn’t guarantee success. Your attitude towards your gap year needs to be positive because there will be lots of new challenges and steps to take.
A gap year means learning as you go, staying open minded, trying new things, embracing challenges and getting out of your comfort zone. A gap year is meant to be challenging and the more proactive and adaptable a student can be, the more they’ll get out of their overseas experience.
With Covid being a major travel factor right now, make sure you’re updated on all the latest news. Before booking flights take a look at the most updated travel restrictions and border closures. If it’s a connection flight, make sure it doesn’t layover in a closed country (it has happened!). Check out all options but we would highly recommend direct flights to save any hassle.
Extra travel documents are also a thing due to Covid. Check out this link to access the Health Control form which is now necessary to have when traveling to Spain. Also, proof of a negative PCR test taken within less than 72 hours of travel is required when entering most European countries.
Before you embark on your journey, familiarize yourself with local regulations in the city you’re traveling to. Things like compulsory masks, social distancing and hand sanitizer when entering establishments are important to know. You can buy what you need in advance this way and you’ll make sure that you don’t break any rules you’re not aware of!
A gap year right now is entirely possible, it just comes with a little more awareness of your surroundings and knowledge of safety protocols. Other than that, there are so many programs still available. More on Gap Years in Spain here.
For more details on gap years, planning, local restrictions, traveling and more – you know where to find us.