When choosing to do a gap year consider a variety of countries and programs. Yes going through a program might add to costs but the benefits are significant. Many programs offer visa application tips, legalities support, and accommodation advice as well as instant access to a community and arrange social events: which are vital when settling in a new country. If traveling is a huge priority for your gap year, you might consider a city in which it is affordable to fly in/out of. For example, Dublin is the gateway to Europe (whilst also being the closest city to the US and Canada). The airport is a mere twenty minutes from the city whilst airlines such as Ryanair provide low-cost flights to a variety of destinations across Europe. Aoife Bradley, Stint Ireland Managing Director offered some great advice on planning:
“Give yourself at least four to five months to plan your gap year, that way nothing is rushed. You are affording yourself the time to build up cash, whilst giving yourself the opportunity to spread the costs of your visa and program fee too”
The initial cost of a gap year can be worrying. Fear not as the beauty of a gap year is that you can combine work and awesome adventures. Whether it’s to fund your travels or recoup costs, the ability to get a job makes things a whole lot easier. Aoife suggests the following, “make sure you research: apply for jobs before you arrive. Have an up to date resume ready. Become familiar with the legalities of working conditions within the country i.e. minimum pay and average working hours”. If you fancy trying your hand at being a digital nomad, you can also find freelance work via sites like UpWork: types of work involve photography, content creation, blogging, vlogging, graphic design and even coding.
Scholarships & Funding
Yes, you read that right, there are various scholarships and grants available to help fund your gap year. Head over to the American Gap Year Association website for more information on financial aid. More and more universities are recognizing the importance of a gap year and offer financial aid to students. Therefore it is always worth contacting the relevant department within your college. Or why not get creative- set up a GoFundMe page. Ask your peers and family to help fund your adventure. Aoife tells us how previous Stint program participants have had successful GoFundMe pages:
“Stinters have blogged about their pre-arrival experiences and also throughout their time in Ireland by linking blogs to their GoFundMe pages. We even had Stinters create short videos and pictures of Ireland and sell them via their blogs or personal websites”
The Bottom Line
Basically plan well, explore your financial aid options and remember that a gap year allows you to travel AND earn cash: win win. Money should not be a deciding factor when it comes to the opportunity of a lifetime and it doesn’t have to be!
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