How to Fund a Gap Year – HerMoney | Gmx Pharm

Do you want to travel before you start college? Financing can be easier than you think with a little planning.

Not every high school graduate wants to go straight to university or vocational training. For many, a gap year is the right choice because the last thing they want to do is get back on the books!

The question is how can you afford one? Who has the money for an expensive program abroad and college, right? But that’s not the best way to phrase the question, says Julia Rogers, founder of Advice on the go. While it’s important to start the planning process with an understanding of your personal financial situation, it’s even more important to differentiate between the type of pay and the potential total return that could lower future education costs.

“What you discover about yourself and your interests during your gap year has a direct impact on your college journey,” says Rogers. “Where do you go to school, how much do you spend on your education, or do you even need a 4-year degree at all.”

With the college debt crisis and student graduation crunch, a gap year can be a crucial tool for college travel and career clarity, she says. In other words, investing up front can pay off in a streamlined educational path afterwards.

But don’t let “investments” derail you. A gap year doesn’t have to mean spending a ton of money. “I firmly believe that every student can afford a gap year,” said Katherine Stievater, founder of Gap year solutions. “There are so many options that don’t cost a lot of money.”

But before you start planning your budget, you need to figure out what you want to do. The following must be observed.

Start with transparent conversations

Whether you’re the student considering a gap year or the parent of a student seeking a gap, start with transparent financial conversations, says Rogers. Choosing an all-inclusive gap program abroad can actually be out of reach for many families, but don’t write off international travel if that’s your goal.

In addition to discussing the student’s finances and expectations, the family discussion should address a student’s maturity (perhaps not using that word with your child) — in other words, where the student begins, Rogers says. Some youth are willing to work and save to travel independently or go to another city for an internship, while others need a more supportive environment. Parents, think about whether your student is struggling and what could be causing it, says Rogers. This can guide your gapper’s planning.

Explore gap targets and options

Some experts say the best gap year experiences are structured through intentional learning with peers and mentors. Stepfather likes it when students leave their hometown, but a gap year can be anything you want, she says. “Working with your budget is the priority and then understanding what you can do and where you can go within that budget,” she says. This can be a year of work, service work, an adventure job in another state or country, career exploration through an internship, or WWOOFing on an organic farm internationally or domestic. Sky is the limit, really.

Once you figure out your goals, you can focus on affordable options. For ideas, take some time to explore Gap Year Association and Go overseas. Don’t get bogged down in potential program costs. Use the websites to stimulate ideas. You can also spend some money up front for an advisor like Rogers or stepfather who can guide you to opportunities you may not have heard of.

Check out low-cost gap experiences

It’s common for gap students to fund all or part of their gap year themselves, says Stievater. Part of the year can be devoted to working and saving for a shorter experience. But there are also year-long programs that offer work and volunteer opportunities with housing that allow students to leave home with a less comfortable bank account.

One way to give back (and get your apartment) domestically is to register American Corps, an organization that offers options for 10-12 month volunteers, says Rogers. Under the umbrella of the Americorps Americacorps NCCC offers volunteer work in communities across the country through local and national non-profit organizations. FEMA Corps gives students the experience of working in emergency management. Through year of the city, Students work in schools as student success coaches.

That Student conservation association provides opportunities to protect and restore national parks, marine sanctuaries, and community green spaces in each state. Explore too Alliance for the Year of Service for more service opportunities in non-profit and public organizations.

Similar to WWOOFing, you can find other employment agencies for room and board or short-term adventure jobs through sites like work away and BackdoorJobs.com. Both Workaway and WWOOF allow you to verify the locations and hosts through online reviews. In general, women are better off avoiding solo work stints in remote locations. “Look for transparent communication with a potential host, detailed profile listings, and positive recent reviews,” says Rogers.

Gen Z traveler and influencer Gabby Beckford runs the site PacksLight.com, geared towards young female travellers. She has loads of travel tips for solo women and blog posts only for Black women.

Start budgeting

All of these ideas take time to research, so don’t procrastinate. Structured programs, if that’s your thing, or internships may require an application by a specific deadline. International travel requires a passport and possibly visas. Meanwhile, you (the student) need to determine in advance how much you want to save. An adventure job or job placement may be feasible without extensive financial planning.

Be sure to look for scholarships if you’re set on a more expensive structured program. Some programs offer reduced fees or grants by family income.

Start prioritizing savings by figuring out how to live cheaply (probably with parents). The new book by HerMoney How to money offers countless tips for young people on how to create a budget and stick to it.

Much luck! A gap year can be life changing. Whatever you do, it will pave the way for a more fulfilling educational experience when you return to the books.

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