Gap years are often associated with the year between high school graduation and freshman year of university. But, today, more people are realizing that just because they missed that intended time slot, doesn’t mean they’ve missed their chance at a gap year. We’ve seen it in movies like “Eat, Pray, Love”, and read about it in blogs on Verge. Those who’ve continued their studies straight away, entered the work field, and have even raised families, are realizing that they, too, are seeking a transformative life experience to find themselves, and serve the world to the best of their ability.

But no matter your place in life, here are five great reasons that a gap year is a great idea for everyone!

1. Get to know yourself so you can better serve the world in a role that fits you!

Want to discover something new about yourself? There’s no better way than to step outside of your comfort zone. Gap year programs allow you to experience new cultures and new languages—expanding your horizons and giving you a new understanding of yourself and the world you live in.

“To travel is to live.” – Hans Christian Anderson

And with new experiences, come new skills and greater knowledge. Use it to polish up your resumes and university applications! Many employers and college recruiters now recognize the benefits of taking a gap year. A gap year helps to develop your global and cultural understanding as you work, study, and travel abroad.  This unique experience will make your application stand out! And with flexible programs such as Maximo Nivel’s, you’re able to customize your time so you can gain experience in a wide range of environments, and get exactly the kind of gap year you’re looking for.

2. It may be much cheaper to earn college credits abroad

Earning credits through a gap year program may be a less expensive alternative to taking those credits when you attend university, but that’s not the only way a gap year can help you save money. Did you know that, on average, only 59% of US university students graduate within six years? The American Gap Association (AGA) found that students who took gap years had a shorter average time to graduation—four years or less. Taking a gap year can help you find your focus and get through your studies more quickly—and at a lower cost!

It may be much cheaper to earn college credits abroad

The best gap year programs partner with an accredited university to offer college credit for your gap year. College credit can help to advance your standing at university, or give you the boost you need to obtain a certification to compliment your career and apply for a promotion. This way, your “year off” isn’t a year off at all—you can work, study, and travel, take part in skill-building courses, and earn credits to advance your academic and professional standing.

3. Make your resume stand out and improve your chances of success

A gap year can give you the opportunity to build skills that will make you a more marketable candidate to future employers and put you on a path of success. For those looking to continue their studies, once back from their gap year, AGA found that students who participated in a gap year program had higher than average grades. When you take time off for a year abroad, you’re investing in your personal growth and development. Getting better grades, and higher quality job prospects is just a bigger bonus!

Make your resume stand out and improve your chances of success

When you take a gap year to work-study-travel, you’re demonstrating many of the attributes employers look for in job applicants: independence, courage, teamwork, organization, and the willingness to try new things. On top of that, AGA reports that people who took a gap year were as much as 75% more likely to report they were “happy” or “extremely satisfied” with their career outcomes.

4. Release your stress and don’t burnout

Do you need a break? It’s not uncommon to feel burned out after years of academic or employment servitude; or maybe you simply need some global inspiration before starting the next stage of your life. A gap year program gives you just what you need–A study conducted by a group of researchers from around the world found that employees who took sabbaticals (adult gap years) experienced a decline in stress and an increase in psychological resources and overall well-being. In addition, employees were able to acquire new knowledge and skills on their time off, and returned to their roles in the company with more confidence.

Release your stress and don’t burnout

For students, the findings are similar. After a burdensome year of homework, exams, papers, and projects, studies found that students who take gap years come back more prepared and excited to re-enter the classroom setting. They’re more confident with their major, and more focused on graduating. For all involved, a gap year provides travel, adventure, and experience leading to a fresh start upon return.

5. Build new skills by learning a new language

In addition to all the life learning you’re going to indulge in, you have the opportunity to develop new language skills–great for any industry in today’s globalized world. Immersion in another culture is the best way to gain true fluency in another language. Between volunteering and working, you can take courses and utilize what you learn immediately, whether interacting with locals at cultural events, or with your host family at dinner. With classes ranging from beginner to fluency, there’s a reason for everyone to continue learning.

Build new skills by learning a new language

And if that isn’t enough, the benefits of learning a new language go way beyond cultural connection. The brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised. Being fluent in another language keeps your brain fit, delaying the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. In addition, it’s been proven that multilingual speakers are better at solving problems, multitasking, and are stronger decision makers. By learning a new language, you’re developing at least 4 new skills. Nice!

Want more information about getting involved in a work-study-travel program in Latin America? Click here to learn more about our gap year programs.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]