Finally Abitur, and then what? First take a break and gain international experience or would you prefer to start studying right away? But in which subject? If you’re asking yourself these questions, an Academic Gap Year abroad might be just the thing for you.
Combine international and study experience in the Academic Gap Year
An academic gap year abroad is becoming increasingly popular. It offers school leavers in particular a great opportunity to combine experience abroad and initial study experience. Universities in the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and other countries now offer the opportunity to complete such a gap year after graduation. Applicants do not have to be enrolled at a German university for this. At the university abroad, gap year students study for one or two semesters together with local and other international students.
Advantages of an Academic Gap Year abroad
An Academic Gap Year is not just a great way to get to know a foreign country. There are a number of other things that speak in favor of completing such a study program after school.
Get to know everyday student life
How does a lecture actually work? How do I put my schedule together? When and how do I work on the lecture content and how do I prepare for exams? When school leavers come to university, many things are new to them and they ask themselves many questions like these.
In the Academic Gap Year, this “taster course” before the actual course, you can get your first experiences with everyday university life. The gap year students get to know the processes at a university. You will learn what expectations are placed on students and how they can meet them. High school graduates who complete an Academic Gap Year also learn to organize their everyday life between lectures, self-study and free time and to communicate with lecturers. In everyday student life, independence and personal responsibility are more important than in school. Participants in a gap year program can familiarize themselves with this.
Find the right subject
There is a wealth of different subjects open to prospective students, all of which are exciting in their own way. The choice of the subject is therefore not easy for some: law or business administration? English studies, art history or would you prefer ethnology? Human medicine or biotechnology? High school graduates who do not yet know what they want to study after graduation can try out various subjects in an Academic Gap Year. In this way, you can find out which subject is the right one for you.
In the gap year you are not tied to any specific subject area. This means that you are free to choose your course, as long as you meet the requirements for the individual courses. That is why they usually first take courses that do not require any prior knowledge.
The Academic Gap Year is therefore a good option, especially for those who are undecided. Participants who already have a specific subject in mind can check in their gap year whether this is the right choice. For example, if you take several courses in physics during this time and still enjoy it, you can be sure that you have found a suitable subject.
Bridging the waiting semester sensibly
After graduating from high school, some already know exactly what they want to study, but have to bridge the waiting semester before they can start their dream study. Even for a Academic Gap Year is abroad. It is of course particularly useful for gap year students to take courses in the desired subject. The study achievements achieved in the gap year may even be credited towards the later studies.
Service is very important at universities abroad. That is why great importance is attached to providing good student support. This is usually done by the lecturers in the courses as well as by the service teams of the universities outside of the lectures. Of course, this benefits all students. For gap year students, for whom university life is completely new, it is of course particularly advantageous. The often small courses at universities abroad ensure that the lecturers can respond well to their students. You can usually be reached easily if you have any questions.
Many foreign universities also offer their students accommodation options, such as a room in a student residence or accommodation with a host family. This has the advantage that you can be connected straight away and you don’t have to organize your first apartment remotely.
Personal development and foreign language skills
Gap-year students first enter new territory at the foreign university and have to explore this new world on their own. In doing so, they naturally develop personally: independence and organizational skills are required and are thus encouraged. The fact that they deal with their academic and professional future when they ask themselves: What do I want to study also contributes to personal development? Or: Do I really want to study that?
Testing courses from different areas not only brings clarity about the future field of study. It extends also to the education horizon. Dealing with local and international fellow students and everyday life in a foreign country train your own intercultural skills. These are becoming increasingly important, also in professional life. As well as foreign language skills, which can also be expanded during the year abroad. In addition to the usually English-language courses, contact with locals and people from all over the world also contribute. In addition, friendships can be made with people from all over the world.
Great leisure opportunities
The universities and colleges usually have a wide range of leisure activities, so it never gets boring. There are often a wide variety of sports activities available, as well as clubs in which students can pursue a wide variety of activities and hobbies and get to know their fellow students better in the process.
The universities often also offer excursions in the surrounding area. Of course, you also have the opportunity to explore the host country and the university location yourself.
Applying for an Academic Gap Year
The application requirements for an Academic Gap Year abroad are very straightforward. Applicants must be able to show:
- usually high school diploma, sometimes also technical diploma
- sufficient knowledge of English
As a rule, applicants have to prove their knowledge of English via standardized language tests such as TOEFL or IELTS. Some universities also accept the English grade on the certificate as proof of language proficiency.
The application for an academic gap year at a foreign university is often too short notice.