Taking a gap year can be tremendously beneficial for your personal growth — it can be full of adventure, experience, exploration or any combination of these things. It will take some planning to make the most of your year, but if you set goals for yourself, your year will be a productive, valuable time that you’ll remember forever. Here are a few ideas to get you started on planning a gap year for 2020.
Gain Experiences and New Skills
Explore and discover a new job/career path.
A gap year is a great time to explore and try new work experiences. Try seeking out opportunities that align your passions and interests with career exploration and skill-building. Look into what careers are out there and what might suit you — you may be surprised by new career paths you haven’t considered, or some you didn’t know existed. Working during your gap year can also help you narrow down what fields you want to study in school and give you time to build up savings to help pay for school.
Turn your passions into a career.
Channel your entrepreneurial side and explore turning your side-hustle or passion project into a way to earn income while doing what you love. You’ll be able to gain new skills that not only look great on a resume, but more importantly explore new career paths and find ways to merge your passions with your future. Some young Canadians have created personal protective equipment pop ups, others opened up online stores for unique t-shirt designs. Opportunities are out there. If something like graphic design is your thing, maybe explore working with your favourite independent local restaurant on a digital menu project.
Volunteer in your community.
Looking for a way to create positive changes? Take this time to research local volunteering opportunities that line up with your passions and skills you’re looking to develop, from home or in person. Volunteering not only benefits those in your community, but it can also expand your horizons and give you a chance to develop or hone skills and learn about the impact of nonprofits and charities.
Take Advantage of Virtual Learning
A gap year can be the perfect time to learn a new language, dive into a subject you’ve always wanted to know about, or learn a skill like coding. There are tons of free online learning resources at RBC Future Launch at Home.
Travel and Explore
International travel is not recommended at this time however some provinces and cities are starting to welcome Canadian travelers from other areas. Travel doesn’t have to mean long flights and jet-setting to international destinations.There are countless amazing and inspiring places ready to explore right here in Canada, whether it is the Rocky Mountains in the west or Bay of Fundy in the Atlantic. You can explore your own city or venture to other cities and provinces to explore what the great north has to offer. But before you start planning for a trip, make sure to read up on and follow all provincial and local municipality guidelines for travel.
Michelle Dittmer, president of the Canadian Gap Year Association, says a gap year should be about making creative connections that lead to something you want to accomplish. Taking a gap year may look different right now, but it can still be a life-changing opportunity to discover what you love and focus on becoming the best version of yourself.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.