The road after high school seems paved for most students. Get the best grades you can, pass your exams, research universities, apply to your top choices and fingers crossed you get accepted. Within the span of a few months, you will have gone from a high school graduate to a freshman at your new university.
While the university experience is certainly exciting and most of us decide to apply for university right after graduation, alternatives to a typical higher education path exist. For instance, what about taking a gap semester?
Some may see it as a loss of time or as a sign of confusion about your future. But taking a few months off can not only give you a break in your studies, but also open up your mind and transform you in a completely different way.
Here are some reasons why a gap semester may be a good idea for you:
1. Travel the world
Adventure awaits in every corner of the world. Why not take your backpack and go on a trip to open your mind to foreign places and cultures? Exploring the globe will not only open up your mind, but it will also make you evolve as a person by challenging you in unusual situations.
2. Get some work experience
School teaches you many important concepts, theories and ways of thinking. It also allows you to create your future while making forging lifelong friendships. But what you don’t have yet after high school is practical experience. Today’s society values experience and taking a gap semester is exactly what you need to work at a hotel you like or to undertake an internship somewhere.
3. Figure out what you want to do in life
Finding one’s vocation is not easy, and not many people know exactly what they want to do after high school. What if you are still unsure about your career or about the person you would like to be? Taking a gap semester can open your eyes to a range of new perspectives and ideas. Who knows, you might figure out your dream career in the midst of them!
4. Develop a hobby
When again will you have time to develop the passion you always had? Be it music, sports, cooking or photography, take the time to deepen your skills in a certain area or to learn new ones. Who knows, they might prove useful in your future professional journey!
5. Learn a new language
Speaking various languages will not just bring added value to your CV, it will also help you get around much easier with people from all around the world. So, go ahead and sign up for that Spanish exchange program in Barcelona or the intensive French classes in Paris you’ve always dreamed of!
The world needs hands to help, and you may just be able to contribute. Be it volunteering at a local charity in your town or going abroad to work with an NGO, help making this world a better place by making changes one person at a time.
7. Combine all these experiences and become a new version of yourself
Taking a gap semester is a unique and personal experience. You could choose to do all the above-mentioned activities or completely different ones; the choice is entirely up to you! In the end, what matters are the experiences you will collect, the memories you will make and the choices you will take.
Megan Tang, a Bosc 2 student from Hong Kong who interned in public relations and enrolled as an English tutor before starting EHL in February 2018, explains why taking a gap semester was important to her:
“I had a very busy high school life: I was a member of different musical ensembles and held different leadership positions. The gap between high school and college life was a great time to hold back from the hustle and to spend some time putting myself into pieces. It was also a good time to step out of my comfort zone."
If like Megan, you are also thinking of taking some time after high school to explore the world or try out new things, you could decide to apply for the February intake at EHL. You would then start university by having already collected experience otherwise not accessible within a classroom. You will have gained in maturity and be fully ready to start an exciting adventure in hospitality management!
Author: Lorraine van Nijen, EHL Bachelor student