With the surge in popularity of gap years, it is essential to understand the concept and pros and cons attached to it. A gap year is a sabbatical year which is a break between two transition periods. Most people take a gap year after completing high school before starting university because they believe a year off will help them figure out what they want to do in life further.
Some students also take a year off to raise money in order to finance their further education. Apart from students, working professionals also take a year off when they believe their job has hit a plateau or need time off to think about their future prospects. However, a gap year can be taken any time one thinks they need it and explore opportunities which they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
It is a great opportunity as you get to learn new things, gain experiences and do things you wouldn’t have otherwise. Most people travel and learn new skills during this time. However, the only drawback is that a gap year might prove to be expensive if one doesn’t have enough funds. In that case, it is important to learn and devise new ways to ensure you do not run out of cash during this time.
Listed below are a few ways you can keep the cash flowing during your gap year:
Teaching a language
If you are fluent with English or other foreign languages, working as an au pair is a great opportunity to earn money while travelling. You can also sign up as a linguistic teacher online and teach lessons via Skype and video calls to people across the world.
The languages which are demanded the most are English, French, Mandarin, Spanish and German.
Volunteering is probably the best way to earn money and a gain wholesome experience at the same time. With a million volunteering programs offered by organisations globally, all you need to do is choose a field or a domain that excites you. Most volunteering programs offer free accommodation and food with nominal to good pay which should be enough to suffice you. You can choose to volunteer with animals, organic farms, NGOs, conservation projects, community projects, medical electives, kids’ camps, sports projects etc.
Put your photography skills to use
If you own a camera or a mobile with a good lens and know how to click pictures, a gap year is the best time to put that skill into use. You can take breathtakingly beautiful pictures of places you visit to and sell them online. A few websites which let you sell stock photos are ShutterStock, SmugMug Pro, Etsy, Fotolia and Alamy. You could also explore the option of working part-time for events or at different restaurants/clubs for money. Taking pictures of people on the beach, in front of monuments etc is also a good way of making money but you need to ensure that you have a screen printer in order to hand them the image immediately.
This is a tricky way to make money as it requires time and dedication. However, blogging is a huge trend and a lot of people refer to blogs before selecting a destination to go to. So, if you have a way with words and an ability to extract the essence of a place through them, blogging is your best bet to keep the funds flowing. However, make sure your blog is unconventional and doesn’t talk about things your readers can easily find online. It is also advisable to pique the interest of your readers by attaching complementary pictures to help them relate better.
Fundraising or crowd-sourcing
Before starting your year off, it is necessary to plan out the basics and estimate the costs. The final figure should take into factors like length of time, visa, the country you want to go to, climate of the places you are visiting etc. in order to raise that money, you can start fundraising like running a marathon or selling possessions on websites like eBay or Elanic. You can also organise small fundraising events which allow people to make donations to your cause. Websites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe are great channels to raise funds for a cause.
The money you start with is important because that is what will sustain you till you find a regular source of income.
Engage in more than one job
If you plan on travelling to places in your gap year, it is almost impossible to sustain on the money you started with. In order to be able to meet needs daily, you need to start working. Most people prefer doing a string of part-time jobs available in that area. Working with locals not only helps you earn money but befriend them who can teach you more about the place and help you explore. Most popular kind of jobs people take up during their gap year are sports instructors, summer camp instructors, music teachers, waitresses/waiters, bartenders, photographers etc.
Last but not the least, you should try and cut down unnecessary extravagant expenses and live a simple life, which enhances your knowledge and allows you to live your break to the fullest.
Written byNiharika Nandi
Niharika Nandi is a media trainee who loves exploring the fields of photography and baking simultaneously. She’s a self-proclaimed professional bathroom singer and believes that caffeine runs through her veins. This adrenaline junkie loves to pen down a million thoughts gushing through her mind at any instant and is very vocal about LGBTQ rights.