TORONTO – April 12, 2017 – Projects Abroad offers volunteering programs that can make a gap year that much more worthwhile. Choosing to take a gap year after school is an option growing in popularity for many high school graduates, with travel usually being the major focus.
In 2016, 1140 gap year students went abroad with Projects Abroad, which was the most ever. These students represented 32 different nationalities and contributed 275,000 work-hours to cross-cultural exchange and impactful community projects. Project Abroad's volunteering programs encourage self-development and facilitate work that significantly benefits communities in need.
Plans to take a gap year are often motivated by a desire to explore foreign places, possible career paths or new passions before starting the next phase of life.
"Despite my initial plans to go straight into college, I decided to take a gap year and travel," says Clea Arrieta, a Projects Abroad volunteer who participated on a Teaching Program in Ethiopia. "I grew, I learned, I opened my mind to more things than a year at school could have taught me. If you're wondering if you should really do it, just do it."
The following are some of the ways in which spending time volunteering abroad during a gap year can be beneficial:
Choose a career path
Some high school graduates may have a desired career path, but these are sometimes based on assumption without practical experience. Others might have greater uncertainty about a career, with there being many options available. By volunteering abroad participants can expose themselves to a field of study to help determine if it would be a feasible career option. Projects Abroad offers programs in Medicine, Law & Human Rights, Journalism, International Development, Veterinary Medicine, and more.
Gain practical experience
For those who have already chosen a career path, or have a passion in a particular field, volunteering can be useful to learn from professionals by working with them. Gaining real-life experience allows volunteers to build skills that are beneficial on a resume or university application.
Serve a community in need
Projects Abroad's volunteering placements are designed to help local communities around the world. Many communities face problems such as poverty, pollution, limited access to education and health care, labour exploitation and discrimination. Our on-the-ground staff work with community organizations to create projects that address needs voiced by locals.
Become a Global Citizen
Projects Abroad runs programs in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. By visiting another country, volunteers get to immerse themselves in a different culture and way of life. They return home with an international perspective that shapes their future academic and professional lives.