I didn’t take a gap year between school and Uni, nor between Uni and starting my first proper job. However, one summer I did travel to the States for three months at a bargain basement price. All together it cost me about Â£800 including flights, accomodation, insurance, travel, spending money etc. How did I manage it?
I was a BUNAC-er. I took advantage of the J1 exchange visitor visa that allowed me to work in the US for a few months whilst a student.
There are plenty of options for working holidays for students and young people. From the UK, you could go to the US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand as well as all the European Union countries (although you’ll find it easier if you speak the language). From the US, you could go to Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
Working holidays in the US, Canada, Britain and Ireland require you to be a student (sometime a recent graduate). The Australia and New Zealand options don’t require you to be a student, just a young unencumbered person.
People generally work for a few months to save up some money and then travel for the rest of the time – I spent just over 2 months working in North Carolina and then several weeks travelling through Texas and the Deep South.
To me the best part about my experience was actually the time that I spent working. I got to know plenty of local people and to truly appreciate and understand another country in depth. .
It has been an investment that has really paid off. When I went to graduate job interviews, people were impressed by my international work experience and travelling several thousand miles independently massively increased my self-confidence. Travel really did broaden my mind.