Planning Your Gap Year Abroad after College Graduation

camera-girl-gap-year-abroadTaking a gap year to travel after graduation is an established European tradition that has been growing more popular in the United States, seeing a 20 percent increase among Americans since 2006 according to Forbes. Gap year travel is currently most popular among high school graduates, but more college graduates are also taking gap years, says former DePauw University admissions officer Kathryn Knight Randolph. Due to the growing popularity of gap-year travel, there are now many helpful resources available to you if you’re considering traveling abroad after college graduation.

Get Expert Advice

Just as there are travel agencies for the average traveler, there are also institutions devoted to gap travel planning. Many educational institutions offer gap travel consulting for their students, and checking out websites for your school or other schools is a good place to start. For instance, Yale’s Center for International and Professional Experience is devoted to supporting prospective travelers and provides a comprehensive list of gap travel resources and programs. There are also independent gap-year consulting organizations not affiliated with a specific university, such as the Center for Interim Programs and the American Gap Association.

Find Financing

Your school might also be able to help with financing your travel. NBC News reported recently that some colleges are paying students to take a year off for gap year travel after high school. It’s worthwhile to check with your educational institution’s financial aid or student counseling program to see if they’re willing to cover graduate gap travel, as well. Independent organizations and websites such as Gap 360 also offer information on how to tap into gap travel funding resources. Ways to fund gap travel include getting paid for internship work, taking a job in a foreign country, fundraising from family and friends, and crowdsourcing.

Make Sure You’re Mobile

If you’re going to travel and you want to stay in touch, you’ll need a mobile connection. Entrepreneur magazine provides a rundown of things you’ll need to know when using mobile devices in other countries, such as which wireless networking standards are used in which countries and how this corresponds to coverage from popular providers. Some wireless providers like T-Mobile offer devices and plans catering specifically to international travelers, with lower rates, fewer restrictions and better global access.

Pack Your Travel Apps

To ensure your ability to communicate back home, it’s smart to set up an Internet-enabled VoIP communications tool such as Skype. Other travel apps can help make your trip abroad easier. Jill Duffy of PC Magazine provides a rundown of the best travel apps for searching and booking your trip, gathering travel guide information, and organizing things such as your luggage, your itinerary, and your email.

Article contributed by Pauline Gilbert.  Pauline is a college adviser and blogger who loves organic gardening.

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