Gateway Gazette

Parents: Check Out Gap Year Ideas to Inspire Your Kids

Is your child soon finishing school? Many young people benefit greatly from a gap year, whether it’s after completing high school or post-secondary, or between degrees or years of schooling. Here are some smart ways they can make the most of this time to gain skills and experiences to help with future job opportunities.

Travel on a working holiday. This rewarding twist on seeing the world combines the cultural learnings of travel with the opportunity to earn money to fund the experience or start saving. Thanks to International Experience Canada, a government program for youth ages 18 to 35, your child could spend their gap year exploring Australia, France or another of over 30 partner countries while gaining international work experience and earning money in the process.

Local or global volunteering. Spending some time helping others or supporting a worthy cause is a great way for young people to gain skills and valuable life experience while working to find their purpose. Connecting with like-minded people and contributing to a greater good can help your son or daughter discover their priorities and what truly matters to them. Depending on their goals for their gap year, they can volunteer at community-based initiatives near home or abroad.

Test-drive an industry. Committing a chunk of a gap year to an internship and getting work experience is an excellent idea for kids who are looking for a break but still want to get ahead. Interning looks great on any resume, and lets young people try out an industry with little risk before signing up to a full-time job. It’s also possible to do an internship in another country through IEC. Whether it’s done at home or abroad, at the end of the internship, your child will know they either need to keep exploring or are on the right track, with the bonus of having made valuable connections in the field.

Find more information on working holiday and internship opportunities for young Canadians at canada.ca/iec.

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