Thinking about taking a gap year in 2020 but not sure what options are available for you? Luckily, there’s a lot! Whether you want to work or get an internship to save some money, learn some new skills or even travel a bit, there’s plenty of opportunities still available, even amidst the pandemic. Here are 9 of the best ways to spend your gap year in 2020.
Whether you want to work locally, in a new city or work while traveling, getting some kind of job during your gap year is a great idea. Not only does it provide you with funds for your current expenses and a chance to save up for the future, but it also provides you with great work experience. You can try to get a job or internship in a field you’re interested in, work at the cool coffee shop down the street or move across the world to work on a farm or as an au pair.
2. Learn to teach English as a second language (and then go do it!)
There are a number of places (we recommend International TEFL Academy) where you can get trained and certified to teach English as a second language. Once you’re certified, the organization will help you get placed at schools, summer camps and language programs around the world where you can work or volunteer abroad teaching English. This is one of the best ways to spend a gap year, especially now: you can do the online training first and travel and teach later, when it’s okay to travel again. You can come back to your regular college classes next year and have an incredible skill that’ll fund your travels for years to come.
3. Join a gap year program.
If you don’t want the responsibility of planning your own gap year, there’s a lot of cool programs that’ll do the leg work for you. Many programs have already planned for modifications around the coronavirus as well and are figuring out ways to keep the learning and traveling aspects of their programs while keeping everyone safe. Check out:
4. Volunteer at a National Park.
If you live near a National Park, volunteering there can feel like a mini-vacation every weekend. Plus, it’s a great way to get involved with protecting and conserving some of the most beautiful places in the US. If you don’t live near one, there are probably some nearby state or local parks that could use volunteers, too!
5. Move somewhere new.
If you’ve always wanted to live in Los Angeles or Portland or Portugal, why not take a few months off from your normal life and do it? Try volunteering in exchange for room and board (check Workaway for open opportunities). Or you can find a job and a short-term apartment to stay in for a semester or two. A change of pace (and scenery) can help you shake things up and find renewed motivation.
6. Find a passion project.
A gap year is a great time to work on a passion project or strengthen an old hobby. Depending on what project you’re undertaking, you may even be able to find scholarships to support you with some funding! There’s no question that working on a passion project you may not have had much time for before is one of the best ways to spend a gap year.
7. Get certified.
You may not want to take all your semester classes online, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot you can learn with online courses or certifications, or (maybe) even in-person ones, depending on where you live. Learn to cook or scuba dive or build apps. You could also study a new language or just pick up a few marketable skills while taking a break from your regular classes. (P.S. Recent grads, this is also a great one for you!)
Yes, travel may be difficult right now, but it won’t be this way forever. If you’re planning on taking a gap year during 2020-2021, you can certainly make plans to travel, especially during next winter and spring. Start small if you’re feeling hesitant. Be sure to book your flights with airlines offering flexible policies so you can change your dates if needed. Not sure where to go? Here are some countries planning to welcome tourists in the latter half of 2020.
9. Some combination of the above.
Can’t decide? You don’t have to! Spend a month volunteering abroad, then come back and work a part-time job while working on your passion project. Or get a part-time internship for a few months, followed up by a trip to somewhere you’ve had on your bucket list forever. Head out on a National Parks road trip this fall while working a remote internship. The opportunities are out there! With some creativity and caution, you can spend a really awesome semester doing something totally new while still being safe.
Are you thinking about taking a gap year in 2020? Find more ideas and inspiration on our Instagram.