THEY’RE the working holidays that are all about taking a break – from the rest of your life.
HSC exhaustion, career choice confusion and the need for a break from study are behind an explosion in youngsters taking gap years.
Up to 15 per cent of school leavers are opting for extended breaks, University of Sydney researcher Andrew Martin found.
Prince William highlighted the trend when he spent a gap year in Chile, Africa and working on an English dairy farm.
Gap-year organiser Antipodeans Abroad finds jobs in conservation, teaching, building and orphanages around the globe for 700 students every year.
Founder Colin Carpenter said gap years gave teenagers the opportunity to grow.
“Lots of kids will come back and change (their career plans). They are choosing their career path when they are hell bent on studying for the HSC,” he said.
“It gives them a chance to contemplate who they are and what they want to do.”
Career adviser and author Heather McAllister said just one in 10 students had a definite idea about what job path was right for them, with gap years helping teenagers mature before they had to make life-defining decisions.
“They have done 12 to 13 years of study and it gives them a break and they come back refreshed,” the Who You Are Is What You Do author said.
“Travelling on their own makes them grow up. It doesn’t always provide all the answers but they may find out more about what they want to do.”
Maja Gabrynowicz, 19, spent her gap year teaching English and working in an orphanage in Ghana – while Sarah Stiles is off to Ecuador in September.
Both worked multiple jobs to fund their travel.
“I was exhausted. You are at school so long and there are not many opportunities in life to take a whole year off,” said Ms Gabrynowicz, who is now back studying at Sydney University.
Ms Stiles, 18, admitted her trip could help form her career path.
“I didn’t want to go into more studies straight away so I thought I would give myself a break while also doing something worthwhile,” she said.
Source: Herald Sun