The Gap Year Balance

Blog by Lauren Ponsi (picture credit: JESHOOTS.COM)

 

The working holiday visa comes with immense benefits compared to regular travel. You get 365 days of living AND working in Ireland all while having fun, making memories diving into Irish culture.  In order to survive your working holiday, you have to find that that work-play balance that is ideal to you.

 

Work balance

Most likely the first thing you’re going to do once you land in Ireland is start job hunting. Think about what your goals and budget are.  For me, I registered with a few employment agencies, started off with temporary job assignments. This put me at working 35-40 hours a week Monday through Friday. This fit my goals and budget because I made enough money to pay rent, travel every so often as well as go experience the Dublin social life.  I had weekends off to travel, go out for the occasional Tuesday night trad session and even enjoyed take away a few times a week. This is what worked for my lifestyle within reason, I was able to gain work experience whilst still having fun.

 

I was able to gain work experience whilst still having fun.

 

FYI: If you know you hate mornings and sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day will drive you crazy, then temp jobs won’t be your thing. Dublin is such a diverse city, there are all kinds of jobs you can apply for. You don’t want your gap year ruined because you’re at a job that is not on par with your expectations.

 

Photo credit:  Angela Compagnone

 

 

Ballin on a Budget

Along with your gap year expectations, comes the price tag. When you’re thinking about the lifestyle you enjoy and the goals you want to accomplish in the year think about how much things cost.  Create a budget for yourself, what are the things that you can’t live without, how much do you need to save for travel and what are those extras you can forgo. Plan out the trips you want to take in advance, this way you can pay a little at a time or put extra cash away each paycheck. Also, Ireland likes to give everyone a little 3 day weekend every now and then called bank holidays. Utilize these to your advantage because it’s a free paid day off in most Monday to Friday jobs.   

 

Budgets are a good habit to get into, and it helps you become aware of how you’re spending your money. If I want to do more traveling I will maybe limit my take away and cook more, or skip out on that Wednesday after work drinks event. And that is a great benefit to taking a gap year, you don’t necessarily have to be go-go-go all the time. It’s fine to take a weekend off to save a little extra for that beach trip next bank holiday weekend.

 

Photo credit: Jess Watters

 

 

Work Hard Play Harder

So we all aren’t going on a gap year to strictly work, of course,  we want to meet new people and jump right into the Irish culture. The Stint Gap Year Program is a great way to kick-start your year in Ireland.  Before you even land in the country you’re already being linked with people on the same path with their Facebook community. Here you get the chance to make friends and find those who are similar interests as you.  With Stint, you’re never alone and there will always be someone who would be interested in doing stuff with you.

 

Along with Stint, there are so many social applications such as MeetUp, GirlCrew and the Facebook Events section are a few of my favorites because it allows me to filter by interests. You can find weekly hiking groups or what events are going on that week in the community and even get involved with some locals.

 

Photo credit: Kinga Cichewicz

 

A working holiday gives you the freedom and flexibility to grow into a new culture. You create an everyday life in a new country and can find yourself amongst the locals. Find the balance the perfect balance of travel, work, and friends to create the best year ever. Interested in hearing more about The Gap Year Program? Fill out a super-short form and we will give you all the infomation you need. 

A Gap Year

(photo credit: Ian Schneider, Unsplash)

By Lauren Ponsi (Stint community manager)

 

College is coming to an end, the countdown to graduation is on (or in some cases passed!). Friends are accepting those big kid jobs or committing to graduate school. Neither of which seem to take your fancy.  The world is calling your name and you decide that a gap year is what you need.

 

Well, here are some things you should know:

 

Money (…& Work) 

Finance is the first thing that comes to mind when considering a gap year.

 

“How can I afford to spend a year traveling whilst living at the same time?” A working holiday visa is a great way to spend your gap year.

 

A working holiday visa is a residence permit allowing travellers to undertake employment while supplementing travel expenses. Take up a job in a bar, or cafe to make some extra cash. Employment agencies are also a great way to balance work and travel. They work with the schedule you want- say you work one month then take off the next month to travel. Having a stream of income makes financing a gap year less stressful and putting international work experience on your resume is a BIG bonus.

 

Solo travel

(photo credit: Steve Lewis, Unsplash)

Don’t be afraid to be alone

You will be starting fresh in a new city, and probably know no one there. This is the most intimidating idea of taking a gap year. Even for the most outgoing people, being in a foreign city and making friends can sound terrifying. But you’re already out of your comfort zone, what is the worst that can happen! Going off on your own is the best way to learn about a new city (and yourself). You’re not reliant on anyone else and you can do whatever you want to do. Sit at the cafe reading your favorite book, spend hours in the art museum or take that Irish step dancing class.  Just go for it!

 

don't be afraid

(photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash)

There will be ups and downs

You are probably daydreaming of that perfect hollywood-esque gap year where you meet Paolo and become an Italian pop sensation- come on, we’ve all been there! Being honest, things aren’t always going to go as planned. If you have a hard checklist of everything you want to get done, you’re going to be highly disappointed. Because with life ‘sh*t’ happens.

Enjoy the time that you have, the bumps in the road will pass and the ups will outweigh the downs.

You have to learn to go with the flow because when you miss your connecting flight and are stuck in the East Midlands (middle of England!) airport for 24 hours, there’s nothing having a meltdown will do to fix it, but it will make a great story later on.  Enjoy the time that you have, the bumps in the road will pass and the ups will outweigh the downs.

 

A gap year is ultimately what you make of it. Experiencing a new country, new city, and a new culture is terrifying yet exciting. The best part of it all is you get to experience all these from a locals perspective. You melt into everyday life just like someone who was born there.  You have your favorite Chinese food place not on the must-try tourist lists, you’ll know the bus routes like the back of your hand and even find yourself speaking the slang in everyday conversation. So what’s holding you back, just take the gap year!

Considering A Graduate Program?

Graduate school can seem a little intimidating. You’ve just spent the guts of FOUR long years doing your undergrad. The thoughts of more all-nighters, increased student loans, and a pretty competitive jobs market- boo!

What if there was an option that was lower in cost, took less time and came with some pretty sweet perks…sounds too good to be true?! Well, it’s not. Here’s why you should consider a graduate program in Ireland.

 

(photo credit: unsplash)

Timeframe…

Time is money and money is being able to get that guacamole on your burrito, win/win! You’ve spent at least FOUR years as an undergraduate, the thoughts of two, three or even four more years to gain a masters degree is killer right?! Fear not- most graduate programs in Ireland take one or two years maximum. Short and sweet!

 

Cost…

Program costs can vary depending on the course and university, average costs are between $10,000- $20,000 per year which is significantly lower than in the US (medical based graduate programs can be higher). Sidenote: you will also have the ability to earn some cash while you study, more on that next. 

 

(photo credit: unsplash)

Opportunities…

Employment

You will also have the ability to work while you study! Those on graduate programs are permitted to work 20hrs (part-time) per week during university terms and up to 40hrs (full-time) during the holidays. Graduates can also avail of an extension of up to 24 months after their program finishes. Currently, graduates with skills in STEM, Accountancy, and Law are in high demand. 

Resumè boost

Your resumè will get a big ol’ boost too. Graduate school alone looks good on your resume, but graduate school abroad looks even better. This shows employers you’ve super skills in areas such as maturity, working/learning in a diverse setting, and much more.

Language barriers

Embarking on a graduate program in Spain or Italy sounds A-MAZ-ING, until you realize that language can be a huge barrier. Let’s not beat around the bush here, settling into a new city and school can be stressful enough. As English is the spoken language in Ireland, you won’t have to worry about a language barrier…just make sure you know all about having the “craic” and a cuppa “tae”.

 

(photo credit: unsplash)

Experience…

Away from the classroom, the experience will be awesome! Live in a new city, immerse yourself into local culture, connect with people from all walks of life and take the opportunity to travel across Europe too. Weekend hop to places like London, Edinburgh, Barcelona, and Paris with cheap flights from Dublin airport.

 

Bet you still have a million thoughts and questions!

If you’re worried about financing your studies, check out this helpful how to get scholarships to study abroad blog.

There are programs that can help with the application, arriving and settling in process. The Stint Ireland Graduate Program which is in partnership with UCD, one of Europe’s top universities, offers a program packed will all the support you will need to help you get set up and settled into life in Dublin.

How to be a digital nomad

 

 

Here at Stint Ireland, we are always challenging ourselves and what we do. When we say that we provide tailored experiences, we mean it. We recently caught up with Stinter Caroline Burden. Caroline is working remotely for a startup in Washington D.C. whilst on a working holiday visa in Ireland. Although not a very traditional way of experiencing a gap year, it is a pretty cool way!

 

“But how?”- we hear you ask.

 

We’ve got a three-part series where Caroline discusses all things remote work and living in Ireland. 

Part One

In the part one Caroline covers how the merging of her working holiday and remote work came about.

 

Part Two

Part two Caroline tells us what an average day looks like and how connecting with the startup scene in Dublin has been beneficial.

 

Part Three

And lastly, in part three, Caroline provides us with her top three tips for combining a working holiday with remote work. 

 

 

Note: Currently Dublin is booming with startups, tech companies and much more. There is a huge need for graduates with skills and experience within computer science, web development, data analysis, web architecture, data mining, cyber security, SEO/digital marketing, mobile development and much more.

 

If you’re interested in hearing more about our working holiday program simply fill out our enquiry form

Stint Ireland Adventures

Alumni Catch Up With Sarah Moffit

Last week caught up with Stinter & University of Utah graduate Sarah Moffit. Whilst in Dublin, Sarah interned with vStream Digital Media as a member of their production team. Sarah gained vast experience throughout her time with vStream. Whilst her hard work and passion did not go unnoticed! vStream rewarded Sarah’s efforts by allowing her to take the lead during the production of one project. Enough from us, let’s hear Sarah’s news…

 

Tell us why you chose to do an internship in Dublin?

I wanted to go to Ireland desperately, but I wanted to do more than just visit for two weeks. I wanted to know the locals and work with them. When my school connected me with Stint, I knew it was going to be the perfect set up.

 

(Sarah enjoying dinner with fellow Stinters!)
Did you enjoy your time in Ireland?

That’s a crazy question! I loved it!! I loved living in a house full of interns talking about our different work experiences and our family and friends back home. I loved traveling with these same strangers turned family. I loved our nights out on the town and our nights in with a glass of wine and a good movie. I loved working at my office and with my coworkers. I learned so much in those three months, about myself and what I want to do. I got the chance to be on set with a project I worked on all summer and play a necessary role as well! I saw each coast of Ireland and a few places in between 😉 I made lifelong friends and built quality relationships with my coworkers. I loved my time in Ireland.

 

I loved living in a house full of interns talking about our different work experiences and our family and friends back home. I loved traveling with these same strangers turned family.

What are you doing now?

I am actually continuing what I started in Dublin! I work for a post-production studio in LA and have recently been offered a role as a post-production assistant working hands-on with projects! It’s similar to what I did in Ireland and I’ll add that my experience during my Stint played a huge role in getting my foot in the door. I keep in touch with my coworkers, my supervisor, fellow Stinters, and my favorite admin at the Stint HQ 😉

(Sarah made the most of her time in Dublin)
Did your internship help you reach the job you’re at now?

100% You don’t get interviews unless you have relevant experience. That’s how it goes. The woman that interviewed me asked specifically about my Ireland experience and reflected that I would be a good fit because I had experience at a post-production company. That same experience also recommended me for the role I was just asked to fill as a post-production assistant. My internship through Stint gave me the confidence to pursue this career path. I gained so much experience at Visual that I felt comfortable applying to jobs I probably wouldn’t have post-grad! When I first arrived in Dublin, I was trying it out to see if it might be something I would want to pursue. Now, a year later, I have graduated from college and am about to transition to a full-time position as a post-production assistant working toward my dreams!

 

Any advice for future interns?

Take advantage of every opportunity! Get to know the people you live with and work with, they could be lasting friends.

 

We want to say congratulations to Sarah on her new job, you are awesome! Head over to our YouTube channel to see Sarah Moffit during her internship and many other intern stories. Visit our intern abroad page for further information on our internship program. Oh and remember our 10% Early Bird offer is ending on October 15th!

Intern Chats with University of Arizona Graduate Lauren Ponsi

Summer 2017 was a blast- what an incredible few months. We wish we could rewind and do it all again! We had a pretty awesome bunch of Stinters and it’s with great pleasure to introduce Lauren Ponsi. Lauren interned at Pure Results Bootcamp, where she got lots of first-hand experience in marketing and PR. Lauren provided us with a little insight into her internship experience in Dublin.

Let’s hear from Lauren…
Tell us why you chose to do an internship?

I wanted to gain real world experience in the degree field. 

 

…and why Ireland?

The country is beautiful, the people are so friendly and the CRAIC (see here for urban dictionary explanation!).

 

The best thing about Dublin is…

You can find something to do any night of the week (Dicey’s €2 pints are also not bad!)

 

(Lauren with Stinter Madison Wallace, enjoying a craft beer)

If you could give future intern abroad participants one piece of advice, what would that be?

Don’t be afraid to venture on your own, sounds scary, but you find the best treasures when it’s just you and yourself. 

 

The weirdest thing about Dublin is…

When you’re crossing the street, cars will actually speed up! Like “Hey mate, I would have crossed in plenty of time but you had to speed up and now I broke a sweat from the mild jog!’. 

 

And of course, the most important question of all- tea of choice (Barrys or Lyons)?

BARRYS!! 

 

Lauren recently graduated and will be returning to Ireland (and Stint) as a gap year participant in 2018. Catch Lauren over on Instagram (@laurenmarie), where you can follow both her internship and gap year journies!

 

As summer ends, we are busy planning for 2018 and with that, we want to let you know we just launched our 2018 Early Bird discount. Apply to our Stint Internship Program before October 15th, 2017 and get 10% off your program fee. If you’re ready to apply, great- click here.

Gap Chats #2

Gap Chat #2 is with Kyle Kredt: a super cool gal currently living like a local in Dublin. Kyle mixes her weeks with adventure and working. In any way, let’s hear from Kyle…

Tell us a little about why you chose to take a gap year?

During my junior year of college, I had a classmate that was a Stinter intern. I remember sitting in class absolutely fascinated that she had gone abroad and worked in Ireland for a few weeks. I wanted to study abroad while in school and was never able to make it happen, but I decided the day I heard about my classmate’s experience that I was going to try out a gap year after I graduated college.

….and why Ireland?

I didn’t look into any other gap year programs because I knew I wanted to do it in Europe. Ireland seemed like a great introduction to a continent I had never visited.

Gap Chats #2 (Photo Credit: Ayla Graney)
(Dublin: close enough to Europe, yet far enough away to feel like a tiny continent in itself!)
The weirdest thing about Dublin is…?

For me, the weirdest thing about Dublin is the weather. It can change quickly throughout the day, sometimes making it hard to know how to dress appropriately.

Has it lived up to your expectations so far?

Being in Ireland and living in Dublin has been everything I thought it would be and more. The people are lovely, the culture is amazing, and there is so much history.

Explain what kind of work you are doing?

Right now I am doing a lot of reception/admin work. Since one of the main reasons I took a gap year was to travel, a 9-5 office schedule is really nice for weekend trips.

Have you any advice to people who are considering a gap year?

My advice would be to do your research. Whether you’re considering an internship or a gap year, you’ll want to be prepared.

 

So far Kyle has visited England, France, Switzerland, Germany and various parts of Ireland. I would highly recommend heading over to Kyle’s Instagram (@kylej0rdan). Her Insta-feed contains epic travel pictures, glorious food and lots of humor!

Stinter Ayla Graney

Gap Chats #1

Let us introduce our Gap Chats series. Over the next few weeks, we will feature some of our Gap Year Stinters, share their stories, what they are working at and hear the advice they have to offer. Although each Stinter story is completely unique, you will see that everyone shares similarities in reasons or ambitions to do a gap year. Why did we decide to create blog posts around their stories? Well, because they are pretty awesome and we also get a lot of questions from prospective Stinters about connecting with others that are like them! So here goes…

Gap Chat #1 is with Stinter Ayla Graney. Over to you Ayla!

Tell us a little about why you chose to take a gap year?
As my college graduation date quickly approached, I knew I was not ready to settle down and find a steady job. Since studying abroad in New Zealand, my desire to travel and explore different cultures has become an important (and arguably vital) part of my life, so it seemed natural to take a gap year.

 

….and why Ireland?

There are many reasons why I chose to take a gap year in Ireland, but the two main deciding factors were my family’s Irish history and the unique visa that Ireland offers for U.S. citizens who have recently graduated from college. Other reasons include the unreal natural landscapes (which satisfies my need to sit in trees), the ever-flowing Guinness (which makes my stomach full and my heart happy), and how close I am to an airport (which fuels the travel photographer in me).

 

Gap Chats #1 (Photo Credit: Ayla Graney)
(Some of Ayla’s crazy amazing travel photographs!)

 

The weirdest thing about Dublin is…?

I love Dublin – its canals, its proximity to other coastal towns, its diversity… the list goes on for ages. I think that the weirdest aspect (but also something I have come to enjoy) is how it is not a picturesque Irish city. It, of course, has areas that have the stereotypical Irish vibe, but Dublin is different from other Irish cities, like Galway. It’s perfect the way it is, and it allows me to better appreciate the times that I am able to explore outside the city center.

 

Has it lived up to your expectations so far?

When I moved to Dublin, I didn’t really have any expectations – I think that’s a primary factor to true happiness. That said, Dublin feels like home, and I think that is the best way to describe how comfortable and welcoming it is to live in this city.

 

Explain what kind of work you are doing?

Currently, I accept temporary jobs when I can get them, but most days I go to a cafe (or curl up on the couch in my pajamas) and work on graphic design and photography freelance work that U.S. clients have assigned me. While this style of work is not always reliable, it allows me to live and travel a bit more freely. Temporary positions are also incredibly flexible, and working with different Irish agencies has been a great addition to my freelance gigs.

 

Have you any advice to people who are considering a gap year?

My biggest advice to individuals who are considering a gap year is to be entirely open and take the time to get to know yourself. I started this gap year thinking that I knew myself quite well, but after taking multiple solo trips and spending many days alone, I have become even more independent and self-aware than I was previously. Being comfortable with yourself also makes traveling with others a lot easier, as it gives you the independence to go off on your own if what you want to do doesn’t align with the group mentality. Traveling with friends is an incredibly fun experience, but having an understanding of your own mind makes everyone happier – trust me 🙂

 

Ayla is currently exploring Ireland and Europe whilst freelancing. We highly recommend following Ayla’s gap year journey on Instagram (@aylagraney), her pictures will give you all the wanderlust feels!

Anis-Blog Main Pic

Irish Adventures: A Cultural Insight

Hi, my name is Anis Raihana. I’m from Malaysia. In January 2017 I became a Stinter and started an internship within the area of chemical engineering in Dublin. This blog outlines the cultural differences between my home country and Ireland. Whilst I also talk about how unique Ireland truly is. I hope you enjoy!

Moving to Ireland for an 11-week internship experience with lots of adventures around the island was the best decision I have ever made, despite feeling heavy hearted to leave my loved ones behind. I had tons of fun and gained heaps of knowledge. I knew I did not regret taking such a big decision almost a year ago when I rejected a local internship offer. Of course, this involved a rollercoaster of emotions and patience but most importantly, I had the opportunity to observe and learn about a new culture.

Due to the fact that it has a long history on monastery sites during the golden age, Ireland is known as the ‘land of saints and scholars.’ The Irish culture is unique in its own way.

 (Some of the Stinters I met) 

Irish Adventures: A Cultural Insight

 

The Irish Humor!

One of the first things I realized about the difference between Malaysian and Irish culture is wittiness and humor. Malaysians typically joke around with their closed ones, unlike Irish people who can joke around with strangers without anyone feeling offended. One day, I was buying a card from Spar at the place where I worked at, the cashier played around with me by not letting me take out my bank notes from my purse. I did not realize it was a joke until I looked at him and he was giggling. My top employer too, teased me when he thought I sailed from Indonesia instead of Malaysia.

Next, Irish or Dubliners, in general, prefer to take public transport rather than driving unless they live far from the city center. On the other hand, Malaysians prefer driving our own cars with public transport being the second option, regardless where we live.

(Walking means you can explore castles!!)

Irish Adventures: A Cultural Insight

Phrases

Malaysians would say ‘okay’ or ‘alright’ after they understand a topic, or ‘Everything will be alright,’ Irish would say ‘grand’ or ‘Everything will be grand.’

Malaysians address customers as ‘sir’ or ‘madam’, Irish addresses their customers as ‘love’ or ‘darling.’

In addition, Irish people are full of praises. Even when it is a small achievement, they would say, ‘Excellent!’ ‘Brilliant work!’ ‘Perfect!’ Unlike Malaysians, we only praise one another when it is a big achievement.

Malaysians say ‘thank you’ or ‘terima kasih’ in Bahasa – a lot but not ‘sorry’ and ‘please’ which are being said for almost everything and all the time in the Emerald Isle.

Your Health is Your Wealth in Ireland

In Malaysia, we work like there is no tomorrow or in other words, ‘work comes first before health’. In Ireland, it is the other way round, ‘health comes first before work.’ Even if it means you have a very light fever, you’ll be sent home immediately.

(Howth is a lovely place to unwind- plenty of fresh air!)

Irish Adventures: A Cultural Insight

Food and Social Time

Rice is our staple food in Malaysia whereas potatoes are the staple food of Irish. Hence, why you’ll be able to buy 1 kilogram of potatoes at €1.

Malaysians love spending weekends at shopping malls ( an exceptional case for myself :D) and our shopping malls close at 10pm every day. On top of that, one can also easily spot a person with sunglasses even at the malls! Shopping streets or malls in Ireland generally close between 6pm to 7pm and even though the Sun is shining brightly, it is pretty rare to spot someone with sunglasses.

Random Fact: There are only 11 toll roads or motorways in Ireland. In Malaysia, there are 33 highways or expressways with toll points. Even so, our government is planning for more toll roads!

Unique to Ireland

You can hear Irish music almost everywhere you go including souvenir shops and on tour coaches, whereas Malaysian music is only being played at certain places or occasions like museums, temples or during weddings and local concerts.

(The amazing Cliffs of Moher)

Irish Adventures: A Cultural Insight

 

At home, we love our beautiful sandy beaches, Petronas Twin Towers, and Mount Kinabalu. While the Irish love their green scenery, sheep, and Cliffs of Moher. We have 7Eleven and Mydin all over the country while there are Subway and Spar everywhere in Ireland. Pubs are the norms and hang out spots in Ireland while Indian restaurants or what we called as ‘Mamak’ are our normal hang out spots in Malaysia.

In terms of time keeping, both Malaysians and Irish are somewhat very relaxed about it. For example, when someone arranges a meeting to commence at 8am, this normally mean 8:15am or even an hour later for Malaysians.

Ireland: A Truly Amazing Experience

All in all, my time in Ireland was craic! I wouldn’t want to trade the experience with anything else. I have definitely missed hearing people say ‘grand’ at all times, on top of striking a conversation with strangers on the streets. If I were given a chance to return to Ireland for either a holiday or even a job offer, without any doubt I’d say YES.

Anis became a Stinter in January 2017 and really embraced her time in Ireland. Anis has many talents and being awesome is just one of them! You can catch more of her writings via her personal blog. Stint Ireland would like to thank Anis for her blog contribution. We look forward to her coming back to visit us in the near future. 

A Gap Year: Parents Guide

You’re thinking about your child’s future- that’s normal. You basically want what is best for them both personally and career wise- understandable. The idea of a gap year worries you, and deciding whether you are going to give the “OK” is hard, parenting is hard- we get it.

 

As a parent, we know that you’re probably asking the practical questions. “Is it safe?”, “How will it impact my child’s future prospects?”. You’re probably even running the numbers in your head, the cost of flights, spending money, insurance, visa and who knows what else?!

 

Honestly, when your child talks about the prospect of a gap year, we totally understand your apprehension.

 

We are here to help, and we won’t shower you with sales pitches. This blog will simply cover the realities of what your child will face after graduation. Whilst we will provide some helpful answers to those practical questions.

 

A smack of reality….Yep, that’s what happens after graduation.

 

The world today is competitive, everyone is trying to get somewhere fast. More and more young people are securing degrees: competition can be fierce. As a result, many employers are now looking beyond undergrad degrees, focusing more on postgraduate qualifications and life experience. Most young people go from academics and extracurriculars to the hectic life of a full-time job (if they’re lucky!) and the millions of other things that make us official adults (i.e. taxes, bills, rent, debt, cooking meals, washing clothes).

 

Essentially, most young people go straight from a life of schooling to adulthood without any transition or practice. This is the reality for graduates today.

 

Psychologist Jeffrey Arnott suggests that early twenties is a transition stage between adolescence and adulthood called “emerging adulthood”. It’s within this period that many young people feel “in between”, at a time of instability.

 

The big challenge for parents is providing the right support through this stage. Providing the best advice, guidance, and time.

 

Seems a little bit overwhelming right?!

 

Knowing the options and understanding how best to help may seem a little difficult but don’t worry, we can offer some support.

 

In this guide, we will cover what a gap year can provide to your child.

Gap Year Parents Guide

A gap year provides many opportunities for developing new skills and adapting to the real world

It’s not all wanderlust-y backpacking and no alarm setting.

 

Adjusting to a new culture, new country, figure out legalities (i.e. finding work, getting paid, paying rent/bills, visa restrictions etc) and learning to live in a completely new society are definites when it comes to a gap year. These experiences provide skills such as initiative, reliance, problem-solving, cross-cultural communication and learning to adapt to change, to name but a few. These are not just valuable life skills but they completely boost any resume or interview conversation.

 

Living abroad stimulates personal growth

In college, we tend to spend a lot of time around the same type of people, do the same things and even take on the same traits and habits. And that’s ok, it’s all a part of growing up. A gap year provides a period of “figuring things out”. Exposure to new people, situations, and social norms stimulate various degrees of growth and empathy. Whether it’s figuring out life’s true calling, finding a career path or simply maturing- a gap year facilitates it.

 

Gap Year Parents Guide

Absence makes the heart grow fonder (and helps provide perspective!)

It’s perfectly normal to feel like the grass is greener on the other side (and maybe it is!). But there is nothing like a little distance to make you really appreciate what you have at home.

 

The distinct desire toward big city life, rolling green hills, and pure adventure will always push most young people to look beyond their current situation. An experience abroad will trigger maturing, perspective and gratitude. It’s easy to fall into the habit of mom doing our laundry, dad being the on-call taxi driver or even just having easy access to all our favorite foods: traveling will give you a real appreciation for these kinds of things.

 

Right, that all sounds very good but you still have some questions.

 

Is it safe?

Dublin is a relatively safe city and Ireland sits high for safety on a global scale, ranking 12th (see this IEP report from 2016).

 

We understand that traveling alone comes with its risks but taking a gap year through a reputable program is a safe and secure option. For example, with Stint Ireland, we invest in accommodation that is located in safe areas (no hostels!). We are contactable 24/7 in the event your child needs us. We provide everything from an airport pick-up, meet and greet, orientation to ongoing personal support. Whilst all our program participants are provided with insurance before arrival to Dublin. Basically, your child’s safety is our main priority.

 

Maybe you’re wondering about terrorism- well, we have had no terrorist threats here in Ireland in recent years.

 

How could I support my child?

Navigating adolescence alone is tough, coming out of college and facing many big decisions can be even tougher. The best form of support is non-judgemental and unconditional. Your child will respect when you have listened and engaged in this manner.

 

We suggest being a guider- let them come up with their own decisions through guidance. Making sure they have covered all angles: safety, finance, planned traveling routes etc. Have conversations about these kinds of topics, avoid quizzing or questioning. 

 

Throughout their gap year, they will have ups and downs, be their support. Remember this experience is practice for real-life. Encourage them to meet new experiences head on, to make new friends and fully embrace their time abroad.

 

When the time comes to go home, help to prepare them. Believe us, a gap year will change your child. They will have become a little more independent, mature and individual- respect that. Give them the time and space to process their experience. Converse with them, they will appreciate your interest and support.

 

Money- the finances?

A huge defining aspect of an experience abroad. The initial costs can seem expensive: visa, insurance, flight, and going through a reputable company can add to the cost, but with that comes a huge level of support and help. Some gap year programs such as the one Stint Ireland provides cover housing and insurance within the program fee- so there are no hidden costs.

 

Remember, your child can also obtain a job with their visa (working holiday visa), so once they touch down and get settled, it is just a matter of finding a job and going through the legalities i.e. obtaining a social security number and bank account. Again, via a reputable gap year program, your child will have all the support they need to find a job and get set up.

 

Have more questions?

 

Cool, questions are good. Feel free to contact us at team@stintireland.com. We would love to chat.

 

For more information on Stint Ireland’s Gap Program please visit www.stintireland.com