Personal Growth: Development & Maturity
One of the most valuable experiences of living abroad is the challenge of building a new life for one’s self. When all the familiar social structures of life are removed, there is a great opportunity for personal growth and development. It can be a real challenge to become comfortable spending time alone and learning how to entertain oneself, especially abroad. After the first few weeks, the “honeymoon phase” ends and a new reality settles in.
Anyone can benefit from gap year programs or immersion program. Statistics from the Gap Year Association show that participants earn higher GPA’s, graduate college in four years or less, and are satisfied in their careers. Students already accepted to college can defer acceptance and arrive on campus as a more mature and capable person, benefiting both the student and the university. Conversely, if a student is not quite ready for college or did not get accepted to the their school of choice, a gap year can be a way to improve chances of future success. Learning a foreign language, for example, can make a college or job applicant much more attractive to colleges and prospective employers.
Benefits of GAP Year Programs, College & Professional Outcomes
- 83% of gap year students earned a 3.0 or higher GPA in college
- Over half of gap year students earned a 3.7 or higher GPA in college
- Average time to graduation for gappers is 4 years or less, majority (60%) of American students average 6 years or more
- 86% of gappers were satisfied or very satisfied with their careers
- 98% of gappers said the experience allowed time for important personal reflection
- 98% helped develop as a person
- 97% increased maturity
- 96% increased self-confidence
- 93% helped develop communication skills
- Gappers more likely to vote in elections, follow current events
- Gappers less likely to transfer while in college
A former gapper recalls, “I found myself bored, and wondering what to do with my time. I wrote an email to my friend who recommended the program and his response was simply to wander around and get lost; to go explore. It was great advice because it helped me familiarize myself with the area, forced me to interact with people and not isolate, practice my Spanish by asking for directions (a great way to make a new friend or two), get some light exercise, and occupied my mind away from thoughts of homesickness. To go wander, explore, and interact with a new environment is one of the many tools I learned to utilize to be comfortable with my own company in an unfamiliar place.”
This is all part of the growth process. Get outside of your comfort zone!
Get off the “Cradle to College Track”
Most American students graduate high school at eighteen years old and to go to college immediately following high school. If all goes according to plan, the student graduates college in four years, however, statistics tell us that most students graduate college in 5-6 years and change majors at least once, costing the student time, credits, and money. Other students end up withdrawing from classes due to poor grades or attendance. Many college students lack maturity, direction, and the life experience necessary to maximize the experience. The end goal is for the student to obtain a bachelor’s degree. From there, most enter the workforce, and others continue on the academic track to earn a graduate or professional degree. Gap year programs are a great way to differentiate yourself from the crowd when applying to college or future employers. Dare to take an non-traditional route.
Excursion travel, ignite lifelong passion for backpacking
Learn new skills and gain self-confidence by navigating through towns and cities, train and flight schedules, and staying in hostels. The experience is exhilarating. Learn the essentials for short stays, as well as how to build a social network and plant new roots in a community abroad. We lead students on short backpacking excursions throughout the year, teaching safe and savvy travel habits. We also emphasizes personal safety as part of orientation.
Learn all the necessary skills to safely enjoy a lifetime of travel and exploration. We offer 2 to 3 weekend excursions per semester that serve as an introduction to backpacking. Additionally offer extended backpacking trips teaching how to plan, pack, navigate transportation and lodging, budgeting, and explore new places with a special emphasis on safe travel practices and habits.
Time to plan for the short and long-term future
Living abroad is an intense experience in itself, however, there is ample time to consider and plan for what lies ahead. A gap year or extended visit is a great opportunity to test the waters in an area of academic or professional interest. While learning to be comfortable with entertaining oneself is important, professional guidance and college preparatory coursework can augment the overall experience and provide direction for the future. We offer university level coursework, lectures, and discussion groups on business, politics, Spanish language and culture, travel, and current events. Coursework is customized with an emphasis on the development of critical thinking skills.
We offer college and career advising. We can help students identify learning styles, personality types, and career interests to prepare for college or a career. Modeled off American MBA curriculum.
Learn the importance of how to live within a monthly budget and exchange rates
Instead of living like a tourist, learn how to live like a local, including accounting for exchange rates. We teach the importance of budgeting with gap year students during orientation. Personal finance and budgeting lessons can be arranged by request.