To Gap Year or not

You’re about to do a gap year. You’ve been thinking about the idea for a couple of months and you’ve reached the conclusion that there’s no better solution to overcome your personal struggles and work to be a more complete person…
But what about your career, family, friends, pet and, above all, money? ????
Let’s have a minute of silence for all gap years that never actually happened…

Gap Year is a popular thing among young people that usually happens before the beginning of college or after you finish your degree. It consists of gaining experience (international or not), outside your field of ​​activity, throughout a whole year.
But do you know the good news? This’s just another of those definitions they have put in a box. In fact, you can take a gap year or a sabbatical year or, even better, a sabbatical break any time in your life, for whatever reasons you want and under any conditions you deem appropriate!
So we talked to Pedro Gaudêncio, Full Stack Developer at JungleCoders, whose personal motto is to make breaks between jobs to invest in himself and discover new motivations:

“My first break was in 2015, whose main intent was to invest in myself without any detailed plans, being subjected to different environments and cultures, far from everything I knew and, most importantly, doing all that by myself.
Stepping away from the traditional school-job-marriage-children nexus in society can be scary but, at the same time, it’s a great learning process and preparation for adulthood.”
Because we know that our personal growth is much more than our daily grind, we have gathered some of the reasons that usually justify sabbatical periods:

Traveling to meet new cultures

Have you ever imagined snapping your fingers and finding yourself in a completely different place away from home?
All countries are different and this includes habits, lifestyle and living standards, values, communication and routine in general. In other words, when traveling to meet new cultures, your life skills will develop to the point that you won’t even know what you were doing on this planet before that.
“But where do I start?”
We can help you: a website with information about every country in the world, with several relevant links where you can know all the details you need about the countries you’d like to visit. Make a list with the countries that interest you the most, gather all the information you can and establish a route between them.

Plunging into a different country and learning its language

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Imagine if we could talk to any person in the world, wouldn’t that be neat?
Unfortunately, we don’t have time to know all the languages ​​in the world, but taking a sabbatical to learn different language, while you’re living in another country, is the most effective way to become a pro in it.
Forget the language lessons and all the grammar you need to learn… The best way to start speaking a different language is to go to that country and practice it. The so-called chunking**, in other words, *learning with expressions and contexts* used in the daily routine of those inhabitants.
A study conducted by the York University in Toronto, Canada, found that bilingual people have a more resilient brain, due to the effort required to manage both languages. some parts of the brain are exercised by it, helping with task management and concentration, and may even protect you against certain types of dementia.
On the other hand, from a professional standpoint, learning a new language is always a great option, since it’ll be highly valued by most employers, especially if you’re thinking about an international career.
We now share with you the best languages​​ to learn in your current professional career.

Finding new vocations

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Amid the pattern imposed by society – studying and getting a job to make money, to provide for a future family – have you had time to find out what you are doing here?
Pedro Gaudêncio shares how gaps helped him discover new paths and vocations:

“My breaks allowed me to discover several different vocations and I learned a lot, particularly: cultures, perspectives, mentalities, languages ​​and people. I learned how to scuba dive and worked as a guide for divers up to 30 meters deep; I communicated in Thai, Japanese, Burmese and Vietnamese; I became fluent in French; I hitchhiked in 3 different countries; I learned how to drive and explore Vietnam on a bike, where I volunteered and taught English in schools, I found accommodation and hosted travelers through Couchsurfing; finally, I learned more than I ever tried to learn and everything due to my stance and open-mindedness to absorb what people and places have to teach us.”
Figuring out where to start isn’t easy…
For this reason, there are expert agencies on sabbatical periods, which suggest different programs in several countries**, having in mind the experience you’re envisioning.


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We know this’s of the trendiest clichés right now.
Well, that doesn’t jeopardize the weight and value of making the decision to volunteer.
Our routine is almost like a daily marathon. Managing time is one of the greatest challenges our generation has to deal with **and, for that reason, we’ve end up forgetting our most unselfish side. So, a sabbatical may be decisive *to give more of yourself to social causes*!
Do you want to take a sabbatical break and dedicate yourself to different motivations than your own? *Here’s your opporunity*: go teach some classes, provide medical support, work with animals, rebuild destroyed areas… You can opt to do these in Europe or even around the rest of the world.
Whatever your motivation is, it’ll surely be a *path of self-discovery* for you and a **priceless help ** for those who need it the most.

Working and boosting your CV

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A gap year doesn’t mean neglecting your CV, quite the opposite. When you acquire international experience in your field, you’ll be opening doors in your career when you come back.
If you have a stable job, go abroad for a period to bet on a professional position similar to the one you currently have, where you can further develop your technical skills.
If you’re about to start your career, take your first steps towards a professional career and acquire experience in your field. You can start with an internship and then perhaps evolve even more.
The most important thing is that you’re capable of merging this self-discovery stage with the professional element, with that you can get to know other cultures, you learn other skills, you make new and great friendships, while improving your career. Best 2 in 1 evah!

Is this experience for you or not that much?

“Yes … I would love to go for a sabbatical, but where am I going to get the money for it?”
We talked to Telmo Martins, adviser at Gap Year, about that fear:

“The idea’s starting to gain some traction in Portugal among young people and their parents, but, between professionals, there are clear constraints that prevent it from being viable for the vast majority. The concept of stopping for a while is still associated with not-so-positive preconceptions enforced by the traditional mentality. The usual path in Portugal is school/university and work and, jumping straight from one job to the other without pausing – that’s quite different in other countries.
Constraints are mostly related to money and that’s the number one reason why few people actually do it, but slowly the concept is spreading itself, especially the potential to do something like this, even to those who won’t.”
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We know that money’s always a concern but, depending on your plan for this gap, you can think of alternatives that won’t kill your wallet, such as looking for a stable job in a different country during the time you deem necessary.
Like we’ve said in the last section of this article, this will allow you to learn new realities, new skills and make friends for life while making money.
So instead of shutting yourself at home, crying and thinking about what that sabbatical could have been, put a smile on that face, open up your mind and start putting everything together to step out of your comfort zone.
Now that we’ve given you the best arguments for taking a sabbatical, when are you going to book that trip?
If you still have questions, talk to us and find out how we can help you make the best decision.
Take a leap of faith and discover new things.
Come back in the end to tell us everything! ????