12 Feb Why taking a sabbatical year can be a great idea
The other day I was chatting to a friend who said he feels like he missed out by never taking a gap year. He went straight into work after school and while he’s doing pretty well for himself these days and has his own business, he feels like he missed out on a rite of passage that most people experience in their 20s.
I did feel for him, as, looking back on it, my backpacking days really shaped who I am today.
When I left university I wasn’t quite sure of what I wanted to do for a career and it was difficult to find jobs in journalism. It seemed like most jobs weren’t advertised to the public, or if they were, you needed to have tons of experience. So I went travelling around Australia. I stayed in hostels, I played drinking games, I learnt to make new friends and I did all sorts of adrenaline pumping activities.
It changed my life, it made me who I am, and I ended up finding my life’s passion. Travel writing.
With graduate jobs becoming more difficult to secure, you might think that taking a gap year straight after university will subsequently mean a gap in your CV – but research suggests that taking a gap year can prove to be very beneficial for self-growth and also have a positive effect on your employability.
Netflights.com surveyed over 2,000 UK adults, discovering that only 15% of Britain’s over 25’s took (or still aspire to take) a gap year – whereas a whopping 54% of 16-24-year olds have already taken one, or plan to do so in the near future, making this an increasing trend for post graduates. To make the research easier to understand, Netflights.com have created an infographic which shows the main findings from the research.
Over two thirds (63%) of people who took a gap year or sabbatical said it greatly benefited their CV and employability.
Almost everyone (90%) who did an internship during their gap year said it positively impacted their confidence by combining both travel and employment.
When it came to self-progression, 90% of people who travelled abroad said it positively impacted their confidence and over 40% of students who took a gap year post college say they gained confidence, independence and maturity.
However, women seemed to take to travelling better than male counterparts; 46% of females say that they gain confidence when taking a gap year, compared to 35% of men answering this.
A further 40% of females also said they gained a better understanding of themselves on a gap year than men.
The motivation for travelling was also different between boys and girls. Whilst almost half (46%) of females chose to do so to boost their confidence and gain global knowledge; 43% of males are grabbing their backpack because they believe it will boost their CV and job prospects.
When picking a destination to visit – English speaking countries seemingly were first choice. The US and Australia topped the poll with a surprising entry coming in at number three – the UK and Western Europe. This was closely followed by Canada and Thailand. I chose Australia as my first destination to visit because I knew there wouldn’t be a language barrier and I felt more comfortable travelling solo there.