Gap year work abroad FAQs

Gap years can be super fun in theory…until you have to plan them. With worrying about everything from budget to visas, they can become super overwhelming. Luckily, Tom Griffiths, Founder of, has been kind enough to answer your most common questions about gap year work abroad.

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I want to take a gap year but my partner isn’t interested in travelling – how can I persuade them to come with me?

First things first – would you rather persuade them to come and end up travelling with someone who doesn’t really want to be there, or travel without them and work on developing as individuals? If they don’t want to go, don’t force them. Plain and simple. And do your best to block out any cynics. Loads of gappers manage to keep long-distance relationships going while they’re travelling.

How long will it take me to save up for a gap year?

Straight off the bat, you’re looking at this the wrong way. Work out how much you have and how much you’re capable of earning with some gap year work (remember you can get a working holiday visa to get some paid jobs teaching English, au pairing, or working in summer camps, among other things, while you travel. Then you can start planning a gap year full of adventure.

Keep in mind a cheap flight to Europe can be very cheap. For example, an InterRail ticket is only a few hundred or you can get a round-the-world ticket under a grand. But you have to make sure that you work out roughly how much you’re going to spend when you’re there beforehand. And factor in your own preferences, e.g. would you be willing to couch surf, as well cause the number can vary enormously, depending on how you choose to live. I actually once did a three-month trip across Canada and the US for less than £500.

Just be careful not to take budgeting to the extreme. If you scrimp and save too much, you’ll miss out on some treasures along the way. One way to save money wisely, especially if this is your first trip, is to shorten the length. Go for six months and do twice as much with your time!

Why should I take a gap year – what will universities and employers think?

It’s a proven fact that if you take a gap year, you’re less likely to drop out of uni after your first year. Universities are interested in students who take a gap year because of this. Plus, they tend to be more mature when they arrive at uni. Look around you during freshers’ week – it’ll probably be easy to tell those who’ve done a gap year from those who haven’t!

A gap year could also help you bag your dream job. Employers never really employ people solely based on their qualifications anymore. Life skills – such as decision making and living independently (both of which you’ll develop on your gap year) – have become equally, if not more, important.

I’ve just got my exam results and decided to take a gap year. Have I left it too late to organise a placement?

Absolutely not! There are lots of places left on organised placements. If you’re really serious about it, you can check out And cheap flights don’t kick in until after Christmas. So you have loads of time!

How should I go about choosing a gap year placement

Honestly, gap year work abroad can be complicated. With this in mind, there are loads of questions you should ask your placement organisation before you sign up. Basically just imagine you’re interviewing them. 

You’ll want to find out about travel arrangements, where you’ll be staying and the specifics of the gap year job you’ll be doing. You should also check out what training or preparation you’ll receive and whether there’ll be an English-speaking representative nearby. And remember to get everything in writing. Plus, it’s always worthwhile to ask to speak to people who did similar gap year programmes last year.

Still need some ideas for your gap year? Check out our article discussing what to do in a gap year here.

What is a round-the-world ticket?

These are flexible flight tickets, set up for backpackers, which allow you to hop from country to country around the world without stress. They last for up to 12 months, and are great value for money. Specifically if this is your first rodeo, I strongly advise you to look into RTW tickets. If your dream destination is going down under or heading to South America, for example, a RTW ticket will let you take in loads of other countries on the way. For more info, visit

Do I need to go abroad on my gap year? What cool stuff can I do in the UK?

Gap year work abroad is definitely not a must. There are tonnes of people who don’t become gap year travellers. Plus, the UK is full of opportunities that people never consider. Personally, I think we have a bit of a PR problem in this country. Chances are that there are stacks of cool things to do within 10 miles of your home, and you’ve only taken advantage of a fraction of them.

Volunteering is one option. Think it sounds dull? Think again. Start by asking yourself what you love doing, and find a way to share it with others. For example, you could coach the kids’ football team in your neighbourhood or design a website for a local homeless charity. Basically just find your passion and there’ll be a way you can use it to give back. 

You can also check out do-it to search through thousands of local volunteering opportunities. Volunteering Matters is another organisation that offers awesome opportunities. This includes going to media houses around the country where you can learn media skills. 

Similarly, Year in Industry, the Prince’s Trust and TCV (a charity that works with people to bring about positive environmental change) can help you to have some top experiences. And you could also consider work experience placements. Or you might wanna get teaching jobs and paid work that don’t require you to travel the world.

 As long as you’re making the most of your gap year opportunities, that’s all that matters.

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gap year

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 04-Jun-2022