Having a Gap Year is Advisable for Students

January 13, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. degree (n.) 
[dih-gree] – a title given to a student upon finishing a course of study from a university or college
Example: He graduated last year and obtained a degree in Biology.

2. volunteering (n.) [vol-uhn-teer-ing] – act of doing helpful work without pay
ExampleVolunteering in hospitals is good experience for medical students.

3. broaden horizons (idiom)  [brawd-n huh-rahy-zuhns] – to increase the things someone knows or does; to gain knowledge or skills
Example: He wants to broaden his horizons by studying different cultures and languages.

4. worthwhile (adj.) [wurth-hwahyl, -wahyl] – important or worthy of someone’s time and effort
Example: Doing charity work is worthwhile because you are able to help other people.

5. stay in touch (idiom) [stey in tuhch] – to keep the communication with someone open
Example: My friend did not forget to stay in touch after she went to another country.

Read the text below.

Parents in the UK are being advised to let their children take a gap year, or a year-long break from academic load. A year without school may actually benefit students before they enter college or any higher degree course. 

During a gap year, students can engage in different activities. They can travel and obtain a job at the same time to save up for travel expenses. Since this can be a complicated arrangement, students can opt to work locally in the UK for the first few months, and then travel for the rest of the year.

Besides travelling, volunteering is another activity that can expose students to different cultures and communities. Unlike paid work, volunteering allows students to have more choices later in life. Students can learn new skills or become interested in new things. They may learn something which may not be related to their chosen career but can be useful someday.  These out-of-school lessons help students broaden their horizons.

Aside from enriching students’ experiences, gap year activities can also help students decide which career to take upon returning to school.

To make a gap year worthwhile, however, planning is essential, and such planning should be done by both parent and child. The plan should include goals that must be achieved by the end of the student’s time off.

Preparation is also important, especially if the student decides to travel. A background check of the country the student chooses is necessary. For safety, parents must make sure that their child has insurance, and copies of important documents such as visas and insurance policies are kept in case these get stolen.  It is also important to find ways to stay in touch once the child goes abroad.

On the other hand, if the student decides to live at home during his or her gap year, parents must make sure to treat their child as an adult and create a new set of rules for matters that involve doing house chores and handling money responsibly.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         If you were to take a gap year, what kind of activity would you like to do?
·         Aside from travelling, volunteering and learning new skills, can you think of other activities that benefit students who take a gap year?

Discussion B

·         Can you think of some disadvantages of getting time off school?
·         Do you think all students should take a gap year? Why or why not?

January 13, 2012