Thursday, February 28, 2013

Up-and-Coming Gap Year Destinations

GUESS WHAT? the deadline to enter Havana Club's contest to win a round-the-world Gap Year has been extended to March 15! get filming!

The Lonely Planet "Snap Year" article I discussed yesterday also outlines some traditional and up-and-coming Gap Year destinations. To round off Gap Month, I'd like to throw in my picks:

Traditional Gap Year destinations

  1. FRANCE: Polishing their romance-language skills and indulging in fine food (and wine) has long been a mainstay of the Gap Year for many North Americans.
  2. THAILAND: Although (I think) perhaps more common as a "Snap Year" destination, Thailand's exotic beauty and extensive volunteer opportunities has, and will probably always, drawn crowds of soul-searchers and adventurers.
  3. SOUTH KOREA: North Americans have been heading to South Korea for years to volunteer and teach English (and immerse themselves in total culture shock.) 
  4. AUSTRALIA: For Canadians specifically, Australia's working-holiday visa has always made it easy to pursue a Gap Year down under. (If you missed it, check out artist Ted Higney's interview about his Gap Year in Australia here.)
  5. INDIA: India's unique and diverse culture, its use of the English language, and its various volunteer opportunities have made it a favourite of Gappers. (Read about blogger Kisha's year in India here.)
Up-and-coming Gap Year destinations

  1. PERU: Young Canadians Gappers (is there another term to describe those who take Gap Years?) are heading south in droves, lured by Peru's beaches, friendly locals, and cheap cost of living.
  2. CUBA: With Cuba becoming increasingly open to travellers, and more volunteer and work opportunities popping up, perhaps Cuba will become a new Gap Year hot spot in the future.
  3. SPAIN: Since the European economic downturn, the cost of travel in Spain has noticeably dropped. In the coming years, I think Spain will draw more Gappers than ever who are seeking to explore a foreign country, polish their Spanish language skills, and not break the bank.
  4. MALTA: English as an official language, low cost of living, warm climate, what's not to love? Everything except, perhaps, Malta's immigration policy, which makes it less than easy for non-EU residents to work on this island. If Malta can overcome this, it may just be the next hot-spot for non-EU Gappers. Europeans have already discovered its charms, and since Mike and I began coming to Malta in 2008 we have noticed a distinctive spike in the number of young people taking Gap Years on the island.
  5. WHEREVER YOU'RE LIVING, RIGHT NOW: I think the most popular Gap Year destination in the future will increasingly become wherever you're living, right now. As I said in my first Gap Month article, in a post-2008 world many in my generation unwittingly found ourselves taking a Gap year (like Kisha) because we had either lost our jobs, graduated from high school/college/university and couldn't find a job, or simply didn't know what our next move should be. We took Gap Years closer to home - taking temporary jobs, internships, or volunteer opportunities. We took the time to more thoroughly explore the cities and countries we live in, in an attempt to make every last dollar (or Euro) last (like Jessie). Then we went out and told our friends and families what we learned: not to blow money on university educations we were uncertain about, to test out a bunch of different career paths, not to put too much pressure on ourselves to figure everything out right now. And you know what? I think the domestic Gap Year is catching on.
As the Gap Month interviews featured on this blog, and our discussion of the Snap Year point out: when it comes to Gap Years (and heck, life) there are no rules.

(And if there are, they are meant to be broken.)

Now, over to you. What do you think? What are the up-and-coming Gap Year destinations?

Let's meet back here in 5 years to see where our predictions stand ;)

- Jess

thanks for reading!

and remember - the deadline for entries to win a round-the-world Gap Year courtesy of Havana Club is tomorrow!

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