Common in the United States, France, and Northern Europe, but still rare in Spain. Known as years sabbatical They are an experience that has not yet penetrated, although it is gaining more and more followers. In movies, series or novels they are portrayed as an investment in the future, an opportunity to mature, to know oneself. Get out of what we know as the comfort zone while learning a language to make the traveler bilingual. Society has a hard time abandoning the (obsolete) idea of equating such a long parenthesis with a tunnel 12 months lost. However, the benefits are numerous for those who have just finished high school and are preparing to make the leap to university. Or, simply, in order to break the routine of higher studies. Or in those students who face the experience in the middle of a personal or professional change of stage.
From EF, with its Gap Year programs, they make going abroad simple and immersive, representing an individual lever for change. It has programs of six, nine or 11 months that combine learning a language with a stay in a new country where you can meet students from all over the world. Even those who already work can combine it with their work routine or increase their career goals.
Destinations reach countries habitual for a year sabbatical such as the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, but also destinations somewhat exotic, less frequent, such as Korea, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. More than 50 options, 150 study programs and 10 languages. The possibility of choosing accommodation, with a local family, in a residence hall or on the university campus itself. And all kinds of accessories almost to the letter with which to personalize the experience. Programs of mentoring, academic and professional advice, internships, volunteering, cultural activities … Achieving linguistic fluency, exploring the world, expanding the international network of contacts and promoting your future are more than enough catapults. But there are more reasons, like the ones we describe below, for young people to take that year of language abroad.
EF has six-, nine- or 11-month programs starting in September, November, January, April or June that combine learning a language with staying in a new country and meeting students from all over the world.
Improve your academic skills
Bet on the known as gap year it can improve the academic performance of students. One might think that traveling abroad for months will delay the curriculum, but nothing could be further from the truth. Those people who go into a year sabbatical their grades generally improve. Reorganizing ideas, finding a career path, and entering college or the next stage refreshed, focused, and full of motivation can and often does improve performance. As the novelist Neale Donald Walsh wrote, “Life begins where the comfort zone ends.”
Get absolute fluency in a foreign language
We normally think of English and French as languages to learn abroad, but at EF they go further. Korean, Japanese or Chinese are also included in the roster of possibilities. Knowing another language is one of the essential skills to be successful in the job market. It allows to increase intellectual capacity, employability and self-confidence. Immersing yourself in a new culture and speaking another language 24 hours a day, throughout the week, while mingling with the locals and learning about their history and customs, is a sure way to become fluent and benefit from all the advantages that the bilingualism, beyond studying abroad.
Learn to become a ‘global citizen’
We live in a connected world. The young person may have to work with people from other countries. Being aware and accepting that things are done differently in other cultures is incredibly important. A skill best acquired when exploring a city or town abroad. Spend a year sabbatical helps students understand diversity, become more aware of their own place in this world, and give them a new perspective on culture, languages, and societies. Ultimately, they understand what it means to be a global citizen, and they have the experience to back it up.
Rest reactivates motivation
Depending on the age of the student, especially for those who finish their studies, it is time for a break. Many universities and colleges, after pressure to choose a career, are aware of the danger of burnout. They encourage taking time to figure out what they want to do, to gain specific skills that will help in school and work. To have a free time where grades and deadlines don’t matter. 90% of those who bet for a year sabbatical return to school with more motivation and enthusiasm.
Delves into ‘soft’ skills
The abilities soft —Qualities related to active listening, teamwork, creativity, resilience or learning capacity, among others— and emotional intelligence are and will be an obligation in the curricula of the future. A gap year it will also provide the international life experience that you will need when someone applies for a place at the university or for jobs that arise right after graduation. EF’s programs abroad promote intercultural communication, increased problem-solving skills, and the ability to adapt to new environments.
Live an unforgettable experience
Students, while learning a language, travel, explore and have adventures that allow them to know more about themselves and about the world. In that sense, EF provides an education that transforms the lives of new global citizens. Since 1965, its mission has been to give confidence and freedom to people of all ages, nationalities and origins. To resolve doubts, before making the decision, there are talks on-line by EF. In the nearest office they also invite you to discover all the details of the chosen course. And they also offer the possibility of consulting a specialized advisor or even talking to former students.
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