I am currently 17, living in the UK and have 1 year left of school. I am reading Into the Wild and have been researching Everett Ruess and feel inspired by their travels. Even if I go to university I am definitely taking a gap year but is a degree beneficial when trying to find work travelling or is it better to start travelling straight away?
Tough question to answer!
A degree is always useful, but only if it's for something you really want to do. If you're thinking of teaching English in another country a TEFL course would probably be just as beneficial (although some countries, like Japan, require a degree even to teach english). On the flip side, there are lots of professions which allow for you to do freelance work while travelling, and a lot of them require appropriate training (graphic design for e.g.).
If you're definitely taking a gap year, I'd leave the decision until after that. You never know who you'll be after the year's travel is up. I took 3 years between school and university and definitely think it helped me decide what I actually wanted to study, rather than studying for the sake of it.
Hope that helps,
Pearse 3 months ago
I agree 100% with the first answer from Pearse.
I would add that educational credentials are often not much use outside of the country where you earnt them, as local employers elsewhere don't know the university (unless it's a household name worldwide, like Oxford or Cambridge...a less well-known one, even if it is better regarded in your chosen field, will still be a hard sell to a foreign employer).
If I were in your shoes I would use that gap year to do some travel and see for yourself, first hand, what you need to get the most out of further travels.
I would certainly not encourage you to study "for the sake of it." I did that, to please misguided parents, and wasted years getting a degree which was worse than useless as it taught me to think in a way which was contrary to what I needed for the things I really wanted to be doing with my life. 2 months ago
Everett - in short...BOTH! However, deciding the order is the tricky part. I finished university after doing a business degree and was terrified of all of the suits going off to jobs in Accounting. So, I planned a gap year - teaching English in Thailand, volunteering in Cambodia and just traveling around Southeast Asia. I then ended up on a one-way ticket to Australia where my degree in marketing enabled me to quickly land a contract working for the marketing team at World Nomads. If I hadn't had the degree that wouldn't have been possible - so I'm really pleased with the order that I chose. But, if you really don't know what you want to do - and if you know that you'll definitely head back to uni after a trip (I never went back to my home country) - I would take the year off first. I believe that fortune rewards the bold, but doing a bit of prep work (degree, training, etc.) first will open up even more opportunities than just landing some fun bar work while abroad. Hope this helps! 2 months ago