A gap semester is a fantastic chance to explore the world while earning money and developing new skills.
Gap semesters are traditionally shorter than a gap year, and often last for several months, instead of the traditional 12.
Many people choose to integrate a gap semester into a longer trip, by travelling for a year and spending some of that time earning money. This could be a sensible idea if you don’t have the funds available before your trip.
They are also a brilliant way to boost your CV during your gap year. You could learn skills that help you land the future job of your dreams, explore sectors that interest you and make new contacts.
Just like gap years, there’s no fixed route for a gap semester. You should choose something that fits in with your plans. Here, we round up some popular options to help you plan your dream gap semester.
Internships are fixed or short-term positions offered by companies and organisations, and are often aimed at school leavers or graduates.
During your internship you’ll be able to gain experience in a field that interests you. You might choose a sector directly related to the career you hope to follow, or perhaps you can secure an internship with a company you’d love to work for.
Internships are available with huge global companies, charities, local organisations and educational establishments.
While you will be paid for your work on many internships, others recruit on a voluntary basis. Consider how much you want and need to earn, and also the value of the skills and experience you will gain.
Remember, with an internship you can work in your home country or travel abroad. There are numerous organisations that can help you find the perfect option, so look at our guide to internships.
A Gap Year job
To help fund your trip you could get a job while you are travelling, and we’ve highlighted some great options.
Popular choices for gap year jobs include fruit picking, admin work, helping at a school or working in a bar or restaurant. You could apply to a specific job or try a temping agency, who will aim to find you work in various organisations.
Teaching is a fantastic way to spend your gap semester, even if you don’t plan to train as a teacher. You’ll develop interpersonal skills, learn lots about communication and become a dab hand at people management.
There are numerous routes available if you are keen to teach English to non-English speakers.
There are several qualifications available, which we’ve outlined in our guide to TEFL and CELTA courses. After completing your training you will then be paid for your teaching services.
You can also become a teaching assistant overseas by joining a teaching program. These are popular in countries including Africa, Asia and South America, and your accommodation and a position will be arranged for you. There are a huge range of options available, including paid work and volunteer positions.
Sports, snow and slopes
Teaching isn’t limited to the classroom. If you love anything to do with bats, balls and nets, why not consider sports coaching? You could join a summer camp, adventure organisation or training scheme and explore the world while you share your love of sport.
If you’re happiest on the slopes, you can qualify as a ski or snowboard instructor on your gap year, or become a chalet host. This is a great way to earn funds while doing something you love.
Teaching water sports is another fantastic way to spend your gap semester. You could qualify as a sailing, diving or surfing instructor and take your aquatic skills across the globe.
Remember, choose a gap semester that fulfils your needs, whether that’s earning money, learning new skills or enabling you to travel – or even all three!