Gap year is a temporary interruption of the training course with the aim to return to school in the future. It occurs most often between the baccalaureate high school and university or other higher education institution. Such an interruption of studies is very common in the United Kingdom and in the Scandinavian countries, especially Denmark (sabbatår), but uncommon in the French-speaking countries, where it is often known imprecisely as a sabbatical year (année sabbatique).
A study commissioned by the Department for Education includes a list of 11 categories according to the time in the training process where gap year occurs. Adapted to the curriculum of the European Higher Education, it can distinguish the most important periods for a gap year:
- From baccalaureate entry into a higher education institution (universities, colleges, etc.). This is the most classic form of a gap year.
- Interrupting a phase of training in an institution of higher education at the end of the year (bachelor, master, doctorate), for example, between the first and second year of a license.
- Interruption of training in an institution of higher education during educational year for various reasons (orientation error, personal problems, etc.) often combined with a change in orientation.
- Between two stages of the European Higher Education curriculum (between Bachelor and Master, between Master 1 and Master 2, between master and doctorate).
- After obtaining a degree in higher education and before entering the workforce.
Contrary to what the English term “gap year” suggests, a useful digression does not necessarily lasts a whole school year.
An effective gap year can be spend in the person’s country of origin, but it often partially or exclusively held abroad. Among the activities are often undertaken in a gap year are:
- Paid work (during a gap year, the person will often earn money to finance other activities in the future.)
- Business Training
- Package Tours
- Independent travel trips, backpacking
- Leisure activities
Some people can organize their gap year independently, while others rely on service providers (language schools, voluntary organizations, training institutes, etc.) to structure their break.
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