Grades, Guidance and Gap Years

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Sometimes you just need that year.

Stress? Check. Responsibility? Check. Your future your way? CHECK. We know how important making big life decisions is. Your parents and teachers have been telling you nonstop about how critical this period of your life can be: choose a career, knuckle down, get good grades and then you’re set. Right? There’s no denying the importance of having a plan and working your socks off to bag an apprenticeship or the best A level results (GCSE and degree results, too); it all helps put you on the best track for what you hope to achieve and are a testament to your hard work.

But...

“What if I’m not sure of all my options?”

“What if I’m disappointed with my grades?”

"What if I've got good grades but don't want to go to university?"

Fear not, there are plenty of opportunities out there if you are unsure of your next steps, if you want to experience a brand new culture or if your results aren’t what you hoped for. We've all been in the same position, so here are three pieces of advice we'd love to have received way back when, and also three highlights of your overseas options:

Here we go...

  1. This is a chapter - Grades and making big life decisions are important – we all know that. But don’t stress if you aren't keen on attending university or if your grades aren't what you hoped for, this is just one chapter in your life. What you do with your experiences and talents is what matters. There are plenty of opportunities out there if you want to fulfill your wanderlust.
  2. Your future is an open future - Not knowing what career path you want to go down isn't the end of the world, and neither is getting bad grades. There are many years ahead for you to play with and experiencing new and exciting things are yours for the taking. Don’t write yourself off. Don’t think you have to make a life plan at 18. Do believe in yourself and everything you can achieve and experience.
  3. Work hard, live hard - Success will come from your perseverance, hard work and self belief. Now is the time to give yourself a great start in your next chapter; but life is also for living. The world will always be out there and overseas opportunities are ready for you to experience at any stage. Perhaps completing an internship or volunteering expedition abroad could be just what you need now, or a little further down the line.

Overseas opportunities

  1. WorkFancy working abroad for up to two years? Australia, New Zealand and Canada are all waiting for you. Get a job, travel, make awesome mates and live like a true local in one of these destinations.
  2. InternDevelop your career with a professional internship in Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the USA, or even choose a TEFL teaching course in Thailand, China, Colombia or Vietnam. Go on, combine international travel with a great CV building experience.
  3. VolunteerMake a real difference abroad on one of our volunteering programmes. Now could be the perfect time for you to get to the heart of a country and community – we have opportunities available in South Africa, South America, Australasia and Asia.

Want to know more about your overseas opportunities? Head on over to our Gap Year Hub where we have loads of information on our Gap Year programmes, as well as blog posts to help you make the right decisions about moving abroad. We asked careers advisors their thoughts on gap years. Guess what, they love them! Check out our blog to see the full results.