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27-02-2019 by Linda

Are you  going to study straight after high school? And are your Master's following up immediately after your Bachelor? Or do you rather take a break from all study books, exams and teachers? It is more the exception than the rule that one's educational career runs without gap years. And that is beautiful - we think - because going through life without studying for a year is not only a relief, but also very instructive.

A gap year can be anything and can mean anything. You do not necessarily have to travel, and it does not necessarily have to last a year. Because the choice is giant, it can be difficult to determine how youare going to spend the time during your gap year. Remember that employers and cool companies are becoming increasingly complicated to impress. It is therefore not surprising to give your period of year an interpretation that is not only entertaining but will also impress your CV. We give 4 interpretations for an intermediate year that are fun and educational.

I Learn a language abroad
What is fun about that?
We would not be Extralingo if we did not give this recommendation, but we are firmly convinced that a language course abroad is one of the most fun and useful things you can do in your free year. Learning a language abroad does not at all is similar to learning a language at school. Forget about that boring textbook that dictates you some dull vocabulary and grammar rules. Forget about that classroom from where the most exciting activity is to look outside the window. And especially forget about that teacher with a bad breath that always comes a little too close when he gives you his dusty explanation about complicated conjugations. When you learn a language abroad, everything is different. Abroad you are immersed in the language in every possible way. In the sunny classrooms of your local teachers. But especially outside the classroom: in coffee shops you quickly learn to order a croissant and café latte in Spanish (excuse  us:  Café con leche), after a week in London we guarantee that you know four ways to order a beer in a pub, and thanks to the French garçon you met in the bar you learned some brutal French street language.

Why is this useful
People who are fluent in foreign languages are super convenient for employers of all kinds of companies and are therefore also very popular. Read more about this on our blog ‘6 reasons why you should learn a new language'. During a language course abroad you can obtain several official certificates that are good on your CV.

Where to start?
On extralingo.com you can easily choose the language, the country and the city you want to go to and you can view, compare and book all language schools immediately.

II Start a blog / build a portfolio
Why is that fun?
Not a big fan of traveling? A gap year is also a good moment to focus on your talents and hobbies that you had little time for during your studies. Are you crazy about drawing? Set a goal for yourself to create at least one, four or six good drawings per week and build up a portfolio. Or do you really enjoy cooking? Then try to make at least four complicated dishes each month. Fervent writer? Start your own blog and write blogs about topics that make your heart beat faster. Do you want to familiarize yourself with a new language? Start a blog in that language! By being conscious and focused for a year on developing your hobby, you develop this talent a lot further and chances are that there are opportunities on your path to make this your work out this hobby.

Why is this good on your CV?
It is a portfolio of work, whether it is text, photos, drawings or videos. Every portfolio is good on your CV. If only to show future employers that you are active, enterprising and creative. Besides that, many careers start with a hobby that got out of hand. Just look at all the people who have a professional blog or made a career out of vlogging. And they all started in the same way: as an amateur enthusiast.

Where to start?
At home! Do you want to start a blog? Then the most obvious way is: www.wordpress.comwww.wix.com or www.blogger.com.

III Go volunteer
Why is this fun?
Voluntary work abroad is the way to do something that is worthwhile in your gapyear and does not cost any money and let you travel around. A lot of volunteer work costs money, but there are also enough agencies that offer volunteer work worldwide that A) does not cost money, and B) where you get accommodation and food and drinks. Because of this you do not have to have a big bag of savings before your trip starts, but you can immediately leave. Spend a few weeks in a place (or more), immerse yourself and really get to know the locals and their culture. Pick volunteer work that you are passionate about. Do you love animals and nature? Help a family a  on an organic farm somewhere in the world. Crazy about yoga? Check online if there is a yoga retreat where they still need a helping hand in the kitchen or on the premises. Nice about volunteering is that it's often okay to just stick around for a short period? This way you quickly choose a next destination and travel further if you have seen it somewhere after a while.

Why is this useful?
The website gapyear.nl conducted a survey among HR executives and 65% said that people who volunteered on their resume stood out. Their argumentation? Volunteer work abroad shows employers that you have courage, are determined and have a sense of adventure. In addition, it also shows dedication and compassion.

Where to start?
Organisations and platforms that offer all types off volunteer-jobs like WWOOF or Workaway.

IIII Do an internship
What is fun about this?
We hear you think. Whaaaat, an internship? That is obligated during my studies, why should I do that for fun during my gap year. But there is a good chance that the internship during your studies will be subject to strict restrictions you therefore are not completely free to choose. Especially when you have a little doubt about your studies, an internship during an interim year is an ideal way to find out what other types of work you like. Always thought it would be nice to become a journalist? An internship is the way to figure out whether the job you had in mind is just as fun as you thought.

Why is this useful?
Internships and work experience are often the key to a future job. Especially in working areas / companies that are very popular. A study by gapyear.nl shows that 85% of HR staff consider relevant internships and work experience more important than any training. In addition, it is the perfect opportunity to build a network in the sector where you want to work later. Even if an internship does not work out the way you had in mind it can be very useful. Then at least you know right away that that type of work is not for you!

Where to start?
Be bold! Make a list of companies that you would like to work for later on and take the plunge by simply calling them and asking for an internship. Or set up an enthusiastic mail. If they do not have an internship, then no hard feelings. Your enthusiasm will be appreciated anyway because every company likes it when people like to work with them. Chances are they remember your name and they think of you at a later time if there is a place.

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Find out your language level

 

A1

A2

hearing You understand... • Some words and basic-sentences • Common words and sentences
supervisor_account You can... • Briefly introduce yourself
• Give answers to some simple question
• Introduce yourself (shortly)
• Give answers to some simple questions
mode_edit You can... • Fill in simple forms • Make short notes
• Write a very simple personal letter
 

B1

B2

hearing  
You understand... • The thread of a story • Different opinions • Usually the whole story
supervisor_account You can... • Join a conversations about everyday subjects
• Briefly give and substantiate your opinion
• Talk fairly well with locals
• Clearly explain and substantiate your opinion
mode_edit You can... • Write down experiences and impressions in a general way • Write down experiences and impressions in a detailed way
 

C1

C2

hearing You understand... • Complex stories and opinions • Literary and academic texts
supervisor_account You can... • Effortlessly take part in a variety of conversation • Effortlessly have complex conversations and discussions
mode_edit You can... • Write down comprehensive text
• Write down detailed situations on paper
• Write a comprehensive essay
• Use complex words in your descriptions

If you do not have any prior knowledge of the language at all, then you are a total beginner. In case you already have a little knowledge, you may consider yourself A1.

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