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Lifestyle Travel

How the gap year became a ‘gap month’ – and the best ways to spend it

A year abroad between A-levels and university is now a thing of the past. Instead, frugal would-be students are saving up for a life-enhancing month away

Who remembers the viral skit Gap Yah? Probably not Generation Z, which will be too young to remember it. Gap Yah (“I’m literally in Burma”) took aim at posh kids called Tarquin who went on “spiritual, cultural, political exchange things”. This was back (eight years ago!) when making fun of Old Etonians was as vicious as the internet got.

But for Gen Z students, who picked up their A-level results last week, a gap year in a far-flung place may be looking like a far-flung idea. Witness the rise of the “gap month”, the result of an economic climate in which teens are preparing for up to £27,000 worth of student debt and, after that, stagnant wages and soaring rental costs. These gap months are alternatively marketed as “micro gap years”, in the way that bedsits with the square footage of a porch are now “micro flats”.

There has been a decline in year-long volunteering places, a market that grew to attract scam companies (although legitimate enterprises do still offer the chance to visit unusual places and make a difference). Instead, students are seeking out “intern and work” programmes abroad, hoping for a helpful CV addition to gain a headstart against the competition. A wifi connection is probably pretty high on the teen traveller’s checklist, too.

Tefl (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses in Europe are a good option, offering the chance to gain a qualification while not requiring the hassle of jabs or visas (at least, pre-Brexit). Erasmus placements remain popular (again, get in before Brexit). But I wouldn’t rule out an entire jolly spent on a beach with summer-job earnings. When graduate students have taken to hanging about outside train stations with modern-day sandwich boards to secure interviews, it may be the only chance of downtime for a while. Plus, imagine the Insta pics.

This article was originally sourced from here.

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