Christian Gap Year Opportunities. It seems like there is a dozen of them! With so many options available, how can you decide what to do? Randomly searching on Google probably won’t help you any further: YOU.NEED.A.PLAN. Save yourself money, time and a lot of frustration and start planning your gap year right away.
Here’s what we would recommend:
- Pray about it!
- Talk with people around you
- Make a top 5 list of things you would like to do
- Get insight in your budget
- Finalize your plan
1. Pray about it!
Are you still in the phase of considering doing a gap year? Don’t forget to seek God in this! He has a plan for your life and is maybe calling you somewhere in particular. Maybe your gap year offers a perfect opportunity to grow or get involved in ministry, to grow in your faith or to serve God in a practical way. As we are a Christian organization that offers a Christian gap year program, we consider this as the most important part of your preparations for your gap year!
2. Talk with people around you
You made your decision to do a gap year. Cool! Let we said before, don’t randomly Google for opportunities. Talk with people around you: siblings, cousins, class mates, friends, people from your church’s youth group. You will be surprised by how many people did a gap year and by the amazing stories they have. Ask them about their ideas and the organizations that they looked at. It could give you some valuable insights and lead you to the best way of spending your gap year.
3. Make a top 5 list of things you would like to do
After you checked your network, make a list of all the opportunities that you are passionate about. If you would like to go abroad during your gap year: Europe is the top destination, attracting 48% of travellers under 25. You could:
- Go backpacking! Explore different countries and meet people from all over the world
- Do volunteering work
- Work abroad. Would you like to travel but do not have money? No problem, there are lots of opportunities to work or volunteer abroad in exchange for shelter and food (exactly what the volunteers in our hostels do!). In your free time you can explore the country you are in!
- Improve your English or learn a new language
- Learn new things by taking a course or classes
Write down everything that comes to mind! Did you finish your list? Make a top 5 of your favorite opportunities!
4. Get insight in your budget
Before you choose what to do, it is wise to check your budget. This will help you choose the right gap year opportunity. There are many websites that show you various Christian gap year opportunities around the world, such as WorkingAbroad or Gap360. Although these opportunities could be an awesome way to spend your gap year, they can cost a lot of money. The average gap year costs about €5,500, according to research from Charter Savings Bank. But a gap year doesn’t need to be that expensive at all! For example, you could live in Amsterdam and volunteer in our ministry for a full year for only €720 (including residence permit, ministry training program, food and accommodation, excluding returning flight, health insurance).
Dave Owen, deputy editor of gapyear.com, recommends planning your budget before you leave. “Work out exactly how much money you have and how long it needs to last. From there you can work out a basic daily budget. Draw up an itinerary of attractions, tours and activities you consider essential, and how much these will cost. Chances are you’ll always spend a little more than planned, so budget for that too.” (source: The Guardian)
5. Finalize your plan!
Your gap year can be an adventure of a lifetime, but you don’t want it to plunge you into a lifetime of debt. With a realistic plan, based on your budget, you can consider which Christian Gap Year Opportunities you are going to take. Apply in time for your favorite option and check in advance if you need any visa, medical or travel insurance. This will also give you time to raise the necessary funds before you leave.