Exploring Different Paths

A gap year, otherwise known as a sabbatical year, is when students pause their academics to travel and broaden their life skills. There are a wide range of programs, from charitable organizations to educational institutions, all of which offer these opportunities.

Irish Gap Year, founded by Ryan Allen, is a program based out of Donegal, Ireland, where students can focus on the creative arts, outdoor adventure, and leadership skills. “Depending on which program a student is on, they could be working with professional Irish artists in daily workshops across a range of mediums, as well as surfing, hiking, volunteering, or traveling Europe by train while learning about European culture and history,” says Allen.

A lighthouse in Fanad, Ireland, located on the north coast of the country. Photo provided by Creative Commons. (Andreas F. Borchert)

Melody Kettell, a senior at Woodgrove, is taking a gap year to be an au pair in Germany. An au pair is a helper from a foreign country that works for and lives with a host family. “My sister-in-law encouraged me to go after high school since I won’t have any obligations yet and I love to travel,” Melody explains. She was able to make this incredible dream become reality by using the Au Pair World program to find her host family.

For more information about Irish Gap Year, visit irishgapyear.com. For more information about Au Pair World, visit aupairworldcom.