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Gap Year


I am sure all of you will have a thought of escaping to another place when you feel like getting lost in your life journey or are suffocated by the hustle and bustle of life. I, as a final-year university student, start getting puzzled and worried about my future. Noticing my frown, one of my friends suggests me having a “Gap Year” after graduation. After listening to this advice, I have searched for some information related to gap year, which I would like to share with you below.

In fact, I have heard about “Gap Year” long time ago but haven’t thought about it deeply. “Gap Year” originates from Europe, which means giving oneself a year of gap time to do whatever one likes. During gap year, youths usually study aboard, participate in worldwide social service activities or working holiday programmes.

The first thing that one needs to consider when planning the gap year is the destination. After searching for related information on the internet, I realise that Hong Kong residents can apply for working holiday programmes in many countries including New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Japan, Canada, Korea, France and England. If one chooses to study aboard or join worldwide social services, there will be even more choices. It is really difficult to make a decision on where to go as the attractions of every country vary. However, apart from personal preference, it is also important to consider one’s financial ability and search for more information before making any decision, isn’t it?

After deciding which country to go, the next step is getting ready for the journey in the gap year.

To “Go Through” the files becomes “Go Foo” files  

If you decide to travel aboard, first you need to choose the course that you are interested in and look for the information of the course and institute to see if it is suitable for you. Before applying for any courses, you also have to consider whether you can afford it. I have heard of some friends studying aboard and working at the same time, earning money to pay for the school fee and daily expenses. I think this is also a good idea.

For working holiday programme, you have to make an application first. After checking information on the website of the Labour Department, I have found that the approval requirement for working holiday application of different countries is different so we should be aware of the details of the requirements and also search for information about employment of foreign labour in different countries.

Besides studying aboard or having a working holiday, you can also consider joining worldwide social service programmes like EFG Gap Year Program organised by Education for Good. Participants of this programme need to be trained before going aboard to deliver social services. Under the instruction and advice of mentors, participants can go to a foreign country to provide social services for the local people. In addition, you can also choose to join social service work camps co-organised by an international social service organization called Voltra and other international organisations. Another choice is to join the Service Corps Programme organized by Home Affairs Bureau to help the needy. 

Furthermore, I have also found another piece of useful information. We can enjoy discounts of transport and accommodation fees when traveling aboard if we get the International Student Identity Card.

Luckily, I still get some time to plan my gap year before graduation. Someone may think that gap year is only an excuse for escaping from the reality. After reading the information and the sharing by those who have experienced gap year, I believe that a gap year can enable us to start thinking about our future path, enhance our bravery and perseverance as well as widen our horizon. Therefore, I really hope that I can make this new attempt. How about you?

Editor Trainee - Gabrielle

(Published on 14/10/2014)