Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Adventure Awaits: Gap Year Opportunities

As seniors begin their final semester of college, reality strikes that life after college is fast
approaching.  While some will enter the workforce or continue to graduate school, others will seek time in between their undergraduate degree and their next professional step.  This time in between the two phases has come to be known as a gap year.

Students take a gap year for many reasons: to gain experience, to learn a new language, to explore career options, to serve, and more.  To read about the pro’s and con’s of a gap year, check out this article.

If you are a student seeking a gap year, you might consider the below options:

AmeriCorps Vista: AmeriCorps VISTA members are passionate and committed to their mission to bring individuals and communities out of poverty.  Members make a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a nonprofit organization or public agency within the United States.

Camp Adventure Youth Services: Students and recent graduates participate in this service learning program that allows them to gain skills and experience related to youth services and program management.

Critical Language Scholarship Program: The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a fully-funded overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students

ISV: Impact Your World: ISV's mission is to support sustainable development initiatives around the world through life-changing student volunteer and responsible adventure travel programs designed to positively change our world and to educate, inspire and result in more active global citizens.

The JET Program: The JET Program is a competitive employment opportunity that allows young professionals to live and work in cities, towns, and villages throughout Japan.

Peace Corps: The Peace Corps is a service opportunity for motivated changemakers to immerse themselves in a community abroad, working side by side with local leaders to tackle the most pressing challenges of our generation.

Purdue University Military Extension Internship Program: With the help of the Department of Defense and USDA, the Military Extension Internship Program helps university students and recent graduates gain professional skills through unique internships that provide real-world work experience with military child and youth programs.

Teach for America: Teach for America’s mission is to enlist, develop, and mobilize as many as possible of our nation's most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence.

For additional ideas, check out this link from Yale’s Office of Career Strategy.  Taking a gap year may help you clarify your career direction, broaden your network, expand your worldview, and build your resume. 

As always, as you consider your post-graduation options, be sure to consult the professionals in your institution’s career development office. 

Written by:  Bobbi Sullivan, Simpson College Director, Career Development and Civic Engagement

Edited by:  Anne Funke, University of DubuqueAssistant Director of Vocation & Civic Engagement