Post-university gap years: what are my options?

Lots of people choose to take a gap year before they go to university, but what if you finish studying and decide that you’d like to take a bit of time out before joining the world of full-time work? You’ll be pleased to hear there are plenty of options open to you.

We’re going to run through a few of the possibilities that await when you’ve finished your finals and picked up your degree.


There’s a lot to be said for travelling at any point in your life and after you’ve finished university is as good a time as any to jet off overseas. In fact, this is a fantastic time to go, as you won’t have big financial commitments (like a mortgage) or family ties that need to come first.

The world really is your oyster when you’re in your early 20s and where you choose to travel and how long for is entirely up to you. If you’re nervous about going solo, consider joining an organised tour that will show you the world without the stress of having to arrange every part of your trip.

South America, Asia, Australia, Africa – the opportunities for discovering new places and meeting new people really are endless.

India is one destination that often appeals to gap year travellers because of its spirituality, variety and the opportunity to see somewhere completely different. If you’re not sure where to start, a tour – like those offered by Explore Worldwide – is your best bet. You can choose to focus on a particular region, such as Rajasthan, or spend longer and discover several places around the country.

Working holiday

If your budget won’t quite stretch to an extended holiday, working overseas is another brilliant choice and one that can give you valuable experience. To get the most out of this option, it’s worth carefully considering what you want to do when you return to normal life, so that you can pick work that will give you transferable or relevant skills.

However, there are some great seasonal jobs out there that will allow you to see a bit more of the world and try new activities, such as working a ski season in one of Europe’s or America’s winter resorts. This doesn’t mean you need to be able to ski, either, as there are always positions for chalet hosts, bartenders and chefs available, as well as instructor roles.

Voluntary work

Another option that is great for university leavers is voluntary work, which will allow you to help a charity or cause close to your heart and travel at the same time. There are various projects all over the world that enable you to get involved in conservation work, assist local communities and teach youngsters. It’s worth pointing out that you don’t need to travel to get involved in this kind of scheme – there are plenty of charities in the UK that would love to have some extra help.

Of course, carrying out voluntary work while you’re overseas is a wonderful way to give something back to the people you meet during your trip. It also presents a great opportunity for sustainable travel – ensuring that the communities you visit benefit from local tourism and that your stay doesn’t have a negative impact on them or the surrounding environment.