5 Steps to Planning Your Gap Year Abroad

Posted by Up with People on March 8, 2019

Experiencing a gap year is more than just taking a few months off to travel. Sure, that can be a great benefit of a gap year, but it isn’t the whole story. We’ve decided to help you out just like we have helped thousands of other youths around the world with five steps to start planning your ultimate gap year abroad.

  1. What do you want to get out of your gap year?

This is the most crucial part of planning your time off from school or work. Each person’s answer will be different. Some people want to volunteer in other countries while others are looking to expand their knowledge of different cultures around the world. Up with People previously wrote a blog to help give you some guidance on making the most out of your gap year experience that may provide inspiration in discovering your ‘why.’ Many colleges allow you to defer admission up to one year, although there is the possibility you’ll need to apply again. This will vary based on different colleges. Make sure to talk to your advisor throughout your gap year planning process.

  1. Decide where you can achieve those goals and what program can help you do that.

The world is made up of 195 countries. This means the possibilities of where you travel during your time off during college or after high school are endless. Having a clearer understanding of why you want to take a gap year will help you determine where you want to go and who you want to travel with.

Many of the Up with People gap year students have taken interest in the idea of experiential learning to continue their education in a nontraditional way. Students who want to become active, positive agents of change in the world have found themselves in the Up with People program. They immerse themselves in different cultures by staying with host families and volunteer through community action in different cities around the world. Others may find a more suitable international program for them where they can practice medicine or aid in social work. It just depends on what your goals are.

  1. Raise money and save for your gap year.

Taking a gap year is something that requires a lot of financial planning. Many programs out there offer scholarships and grants to help with tuition costs. There are also many fundraising options available such as creating your own GoFundme page or opening up a dialogue with your friends and family on social media. Other ideas to help save and raise money could be:

  • Create a budget (and don’t forget to be realistic with your goals!)
  • Sell belongings you don’t need or want
  • Cut back on eating out or excess spending
  • Get a job working remotely
  • Host a fundraising party or event
  • Apply for a loan or deferment on current student loans
  1. Gather all of your travel necessities and book your flight.

You’ve got a program, the money, and ambition in your back pocket. Now it’s time to put your plan into action by getting all of your travel necessities together. Depending on where you go or what program you decide to travel with will determine what you need to pack. Some of the basic essentials include items like making sure your passport is up to date, travel insurance is set up, making appointments for any vaccinations you might need, or linking up with an international banking system while you are away.

Here is a printable travel packing list we’ve provided for those who are planning a semester or full year abroad.  

  1. Have a plan for your return home.

Just because you’ve booked your flight there, doesn’t mean it’s not important to focus on when you return as well. There will be a ton of culture shock by immersing yourself into a new environment, as well as returning home to your old one. Make sure you have a support system in place. Another important thing to consider is returning back to school or to your previous job. Make sure you have spoken with your advisor, counselor, or boss to ensure that there is a smooth transition back into your normal routine. Oh, and don’t forget to book your flight home!

If you’re ready to start exploring the possibilities of your gap year, talk to one of our Admissions Counselors to learn more about the Up with People On Tour program. We’re now accepting applications for July, 2019 and January, 2020! You never know, it could be the perfect fit for you.

Questions? Click Here To Contact Up with People.


Topics: Gap Year Abroad

Up with People is a global education organization which aims to bring the world together through service and music. The unique combination of international travel, service learning, leadership development and performing arts offers young adults an unparalleled study abroad experience and a pathway to make a difference in the world, one community at a time. Click here to learn more about the internationally acclaimed program, Up with People.

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