The Struggles Associated With a Gap Year

The KIVU Gap Year (est. 2010) is a comprehensive Gap Year helping student with Vocational Discovery in a Global Community.  Our blog (http://www.kivugapyearblog.com) gives up to date examples on what students are learning along their journey, and the website helps give information on how to get involved.  (http://www.kivugapyear.com)

But as Gap Year was highlighted this week when Malia Obama decided to take a Gap Year next year, I started thinking about helping people understand what are the problems with a Gap Year?  What are the Struggles to get involved with this movement?  And how are Gap Year programs trying to facilitate answers for people who are interested in taking a year away from school?

Gap Year’s Can be Expensive

One of the harshest criticisms of a Gap Year (and rightfully so) is the expense.  When approaching an expensive University Ticket, the last thing parents want to hear is “Dad, I’m thinking about traveling the world.  Can you foot the bill?”

While this can send many fathers into mild cardiac arrhythmia, let’s take a long look at the problem and see if we can justify some of these expenses.

1.) Today’s College debt load after graduation is on average $30K at the end of a students time in college
2.)  The average graduation year is around 5 years at the University
3.)  Although prices can vary, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a University ticket under $15K per year including all the room and board and fees.  (unless of course you look at community college and live at home)
4.)  The cost of living at home and simply working puts at least some financial burden on the family.  (I took my son and broke down his expenses of living in an excel spreadsheet including everything from what it might cost him to pay rent, buy food, pay utilities, pay insurance etc.  And it was eye opening to both of us.)

So although the up-front ticket for a Gap Year might look expensive, the question quickly jumps from cost to cost/benefit.  In other words, is it beneficial for my student to take a gap year for the money you might spend?  ( I would also ask the same question of the University.  If you spend $80-300K on University education, the cost/benefit needs to be weighed in the same manner.)

I believe we can answer these questions on an intentional Gap Program that would direct a student to their vocational dreams and desires while still helping them emerge as comprehensive/passionate adults.  We see our students able to graduate University in 3.75 years.  Which cuts a year’s worth of expenses right off the top line.

My point is: if you’re interested in a Gap Year, don’t listen to the fray.  We can help you find the Gap Year that’s right for you that can be affordable.

Gap Year’s Can be Exclusive

On first glance it seems Gap Year’s are only for those who can afford  it on the front end.  And I get it.  Looking at a big ticket item without breaking down the ways to couch the conversation can seems exclusive.  It seems that many who can afford it are in a higher earning bracket, so it may be on first glance, a program that again creating a class war for opportunity.

Look, if you want to do a Gap Year, there are programs out there for you.  Believe me.  I’ve interviewed hundreds of them.  It’s just like anything else in life.  With more time to think and prepare both mentally and financially, it’s easy.  If you wait until the night before you want to leave, and you want to decide in hours instead of months, the price gets expensive and the possibilities become less and less available.

Several of the KIVU Gap Year students worked for a year to save up for their Gap Year.  They held jobs, looked for sponsorships, used savings, and to be honest; those are the students that get the most out of a Gap Year.  When everyone has skin in the game, there’s so much good that happens as they invest more of their lives into the program.

I know Gap Years from all over the spectrum.  From outdoor experiences in the most remote places on earth, to community service programs where you can take time off and be close to home; the are many ways for many people to get involved.  And we are pushing more and more for diversity in our program.  We want variances in race, religion, economics, and experience.  Here at The KIVU Gap Year, We want to scale the program to a place where we can help as many students as possible be successful in their chosen career path.

Gap Year’s Can be on Wide Variance of Experience

It doesn’t take much time to see the differences in Gap Years.  There are programs that span the pendulum from Backpacking in Europe from Hostel to Hostel to Institutional Organizations that sit students in a classroom reproducing the education system students have come from.

There are so many ways for students to engage, don’t buy into the media mantra about Gap Years being singular.  Experience ranges across the board, and you can get whatever you want out of a gap year.  Just do a little research and a little time studying.  I would suggest checking out the American Gap Association website for a comprehensive list.

Gap Year’s Aren’t For Everyone

Bottom line, Gap Years are emerging as a trend, but they’re certainly not for everyone.  Like everything else in life, every human has individual needs and desires.  Every person on the planet has dreams and goals, and no two are the same.

Some people need a Gap Year because they don’t know what they want to do in life
Some people need a Gap Year because they want to take a break from the system
Some people need a Gap Year because they have an inner desire to explore
Some people need a Gap Year just to breath deeply in life

Many students don’t need a Gap Year, because they’re driven, full of passion, and ready to achieve at the University Level.  All students are different.  But we are trying to provide a place where students can come to a place of wholeness, fulfillment, and a lot of fun along the way.

If you have any questions, I’d be happy to help answer from my 20 years working in this world.

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