What do you think of when you hear ‘gap year’? A bunch of late-teens and early-20-somethings, between their college years, partying their way across Europe or Southeast Asia?
And similarly for the professional crowd, what does the term ‘career break’ or ‘sabbatical’ mean to you? Do you envision a potentially CV-destroying, money-draining waste of time?
These stereotypes couldn’t be further from the truth. For the ones who do take breaks, the experience doesn’t destroy your work ethic upon return to work or studies. Rather, it makes you more targeted in what you choose to do because now you know yourself better. Your path may change, but for the better. Any time you take to focus on where you’re going in life is time well-spent. Hence these not-so-surprising stats:
So, you’ve decided to take a step back and analyze where you are going. You have a sizable chunk of time to devote to this. There are many ways you can carve this chunk of time. You’re using it to focus on yourself – Thus it should be done with focus and intent. Some people leave the chunk as it is and go for an unstructured gap year. Little or no planning; this could mean landing in Thailand with the intent to trek wherever you see fit; letting the experience lead you and being open to whatever comes up.
Others are structured breaks. This makes sense: Even ‘free-form’ traveling ones tend to have a minimal amount of planning (answering the question what experience would I like to give myself?)
Some college students and professionals choose to enroll in a structured gap year or career break program such as volunteering in an NGO. These are fabulous initiatives in which participants walk away with new insights and skills.
Oftentimes though, these programs are more geared towards early-20-somethings than professionals in their 30s. In addition, both students and professionals may be looking for something that allows them to focus purely on what they want in life and how they can make an impact in society with their unique talents. Entrepreneurship skills can then serve as the container to be filled with whatever you can offer. For this reason, many people between the ages of 18 and 38 are choosing Knowmads. What’s different about it? It blends the flexibility of being able to design your own education and schedule with the structure of being on-site three to five times a week, with built-in times for reflection and project work. In addition, its focus is decided by you: You decide what you want to learn and what you want to create. All the tools are there to form the structure that you then fill. And there’s an instant network of socially-conscious businesses, trainers, alumni, and professionals right at your fingertips.
At Knowmads, you will:
Chances are, you chose an unstructured break because you didn’t know what you wanted to do, just roughly that you would land somewhere and ‘see where it took you’. What if you got the freedom and exploration that traveling affords you, while also learning tools to work through those questions of what it is you really want and where you should go?
As a final point, I’d like to leave you with this infographic from Gap Year Association:
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