VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The daughter of the President of the United States of America, Malia Obama, has announced she'll be going to Harvard University, but not until September of 2017. With the extra time between school and college, Obama is taking what's commonly called a "gap" year – a break between High School and University. And she'll be better off for it.
Taking a "gap year" is common practice across Europe and Australia, but something that's only just really starting to catch on in North America.
Experts have been extolling the virtues of the gap year for several years. Numerous studies indicate gap year takers tend to be more employable, more likely to succeed at their goals, build social networks easier, and in many cases, even have shorter paths to graduation.
Jürgen Himmelmann, CEO of The Global Work & Travel Co., says Obama's decision makes excellent sense. "Let's set aside the fact that she's the daughter of the current US President. Obviously, that's going to help. But, whether her last name is Obama or not, getting out and experiencing the real world, while being able to fund her travels without touching her savings money for future tuition is a very wise decision."
The Global Work & Travel Co. is one of the largest youth travel companies in the world, with offices in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. "Each summer we're seeing more and more bookings out of the United States," says Himmelmann. "Obama's decision will no doubt spark interest even further."
Himmelmann adds that to be truly effective, a gap year doesn't mean a student is sleeping in on a couch all day. "We've sent over twenty-thousand young travelers on life-altering and meaningful trips," says Himmelmann. "We routinely connect our travelers with roles as diverse as being au pairs / nannies in London, ski attendants in the Canadian Rockies, bar tenders on island resorts off Australia's Great Barrier Reef, rescuing sea turtles in Costa Rica, plus over 100 other experiences money can't buy. It's the opportunity to truly get out and experience a different part of the world that makes the difference in a gap year. Something you simply cannot do at home, by watching TV, or even at university."
Popular gap year activities include taking overseas seasonal jobs in the hospitality industry. "We have connections with resorts all over the globe who are constantly looking for gap-year-makers to diversify their workplace. If you're concerned about the ability to find work during a year away from school, there's no need to be with a network as established as ours," says Himmelmann.
Volunteer trips are also a popular choice. "You may not make money like you would working behind a bar, but there's no denying the life-changing perspective that six weeks working with orphaned baby monkeys in South Africa or rehabilitating neglected elephants and puppies in Thailand can give a person," he adds. "Never in the history of mankind has the world been so accessible, and affordable, and you'd be silly not to take advantage of that while you can."
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SOURCE The Global Work & Travel Co.