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What is a Career Break?

Different people see career breaks as different things, and have different aims and objectives from their time on their career break. The recurring similarity between career breakers is the desire to dedicate some time away from their job and working life, and to spread their wings and discover more about themselves, learn something new, and experience life outside of the monotony of the traditional nine-to-five.

Maybe you just want to step back from the working environment and relax, or maybe you fancy getting a good grip on life and taking it in a completely new direction and do something you have always wanted to do, but have never had the time to do it; whether that is Teaching English in India, Learning Spanish in Argentina, Coaching Sports in South Africa, or jumping out of a plane at 12,000 feet in New Zealand.

A career break may be something that you have planned for years in advance, however in some cases people decide last minute that they desperately need to just get away. Many people will understand the word ‘sabbatical’ as a more common term to express an extended period of time away from work, however this usually refers to a situation when your employers is holding your job open to you for when you return. In the case of many career breakers, the length of the break will determine the availability of your job when you return, as in many cases for those taking a career break will quit their current job and find a new role when they return revitalised and with a clear mind.

How long is a Career Break?

A career break can typically range from anything between 1 month and 3 years, as anything that is shorter than 1 month may be viewed as just a glorified holiday, and longer than 3 years, you will probably have too much fun and will simply never return! There are a few things that make a career break unique from gap years and extended holidays, firstly, as the name suggests, you should have a career that you are taking a break from.

The length of an individuals career break can be influenced by a range of factors and it is always worth considering these before taking the plunge and disappearing over the horizon on your own adventure:

It is always possible to take a career break if you do not have huge amounts of money already saved up to help fund your adventure. There are steps that can be taken to ensure that you can still embark on a fulfilling journey without breaking the bank.

It is always a good idea to make some small savings towards taking your career break, this may take some time, but it is never too early to start saving and planning. Some people start their planning and saving for many years before actually setting off on their career break travels, this may involve changing a few of your inherent spending habits to accommodate your career break aims, but just make sure you have got your priorities sorted and your will reach your targets.

For those who have itchy feet and just cannot wait to get away, but have not quite reached their target budget, there is always paid work options overseas which can be part of your career break adventure.

Safety is a valid concern when planning your career break travels, and is always something you should take into account. If you do your research into your chosen destinations, then you will find lots of reviews and tips on how to stay safe, and in many cases the destination only becomes dangerous when people put themselves in dangerous situations. There are useful websites out there that provide up-to-date information on safety and security in different countries, such as the FCO (Foreign Commonwealth Office) Website: www.fco.gov.uk

Many people, and understandably so, do not want to leave their family for an extended period of time, especially those with young children and teenagers who are still dependant. This however should not influence your decision to take a career break, as there are always opportunities for you to take your family with you on your career break travels, and what better way to bond with your family, then sharing the experience of a lifetime with them!

Future career prospects  
Despite popular myths about career breaks, taking a long break from your working life and embarking on an extended trip overseas does not amount to career suicide. The truth of the matter is that it will even help your career and your future prospects. As you travel you will build skills and learn from your experiences that will directly benefit your CV / resume, and will give you the opportunity to refocus your future efforts as you evaluate your career so far, build bridges and develop international relationships.

Why take a Career Break?

There are so many reasons why someone would take a career break. Maybe you are just tired of the same old, repetitive nature of your current job and need some time to reflect and rejuvenate your passions. Maybe your bucket list has just been growing and growing over the years, and you have never had a chance to tick anything off, so travelling the world is just the next logical step in life. Maybe you just need a bit of sunshine in your life, so working as an expat in another country has really started to appeal. No matter your reasoning, career break travel is about mixing up your standard daily routine, and experiencing something completely new whilst travelling overseas.

A career break combined with meaningful travel gives you the unique opportunity to gain exposure to some astounding countries and cultures and will give you the chance to experience a side of life in your chosen destination that you would never experience at home in your workplace. You will return to your workforce after your career break with a range of skills and cultural understanding that many of your peers will not have, which will make you stand out in a really positive way!

There is so much opportunity to develop on a career break, so do not fall for the aging myth that a career break will hinder your future prospects. Here is just a few ways in which you will develop as an individual on your career break:

• Learn something new, or build on existing skills.
• Challenge yourself.
• Gain experience working overseas.
• Redefine and shape your career.

Nowadays employers see career breaks as a great way for applicants to improve on their transferable skills that are critical for a cohesive working environment. To find out a bit more information on how taking a career break can help with developing your work based skills take a look at our Personal Development page.

What can you do?

There is an amazing array of opportunities available to those looking to take a career break and travel to see the world and experience something new. The world really is your oyster when it comes to career break opportunities, so it is always worth doing your research and finding an opportunity that is constructive, taking you out of your comfort zone, broadening your horizons and letting you experience something new.

Changing Worlds offers a fantastic selection of constructive travel opportunities in a range of countries worldwide. Choose from one of the following types of career break experience:

Volunteering in disadvantaged communities
Internshipsand Work Experience in professional work environments
Paid Work roles in specific industries
Courses and Qualifications to improve your skill set and employability
Tours for those who are keen to explore or have an adventure
Summer Camps to assist with the development of children

You could lend a helping hand and spend time volunteering (perhaps with children in Germany or with animals in Kenya); take a course and learn a new skill (perhaps a Game Ranger Course in South Africa or a Ski Instructor Course in Canada); experience working overseas and find a paid work role (perhaps teaching in China or in hospitality in New Zealand); explore a country on a captivating overland tour (perhaps a tour of Thailand or a tour of Ghana); or use your sporting knowledge to help coach sports to children in a summer camp in St Lucia.

Most career breakers end up doing a range of activities and a combination of different opportunities during their overseas adventure. So take the opportunity to do something you have always wanted to do, and see something you have always wanted to see on your career break.

Career Break Top Tips

Do some research – with the huge array of options out there for experiencing life overseas, and putting you mind and body towards something constructive and rewarding on your career break, it is certainly advisable to do your research into destinations, opportunities available, and think about why you should travel with a particular career break travel organisation (if you think that you would benefit from the support of a dedicated career break travel organisation). Why not speak to someone who has taken a career break, or join one of the many online career break discussion forums to gain a broader perspective on the idea.

See it as a development process – taking a career break should not be viewed as closing doors and saying goodbye to your future career after your return. Your career break should be seen to be the next step in your personal development. Whilst overseas it is always good to keep in mind that these new experiences are playing a key role in building on your personal and interpersonal skills, and will certainly benefit your CV / resume, showing future employers that you are a confident and adaptable individual.

Meet new people – your career break is not only a great way to develop your personal skills, but also to do some networking, meeting new friends, and develop your interpersonal skill set. You should never underestimate the unexpected opportunities that can arise from meeting like minded people and sharing ideas, so why not take advantage of the networking opportunities that career break travel will give you and develop some relationships that could grow into something fruitful for the future.

Use your existing skills – during your career break you can not only learn new skills to help develop your career prospects, but there are so many opportunities to share your existing skills with others. For example, you might be experienced with a foreign language and use this skill to help others in an overseas teaching role, or for those who are sports enthusiasts there is always the option of coaching kids from disadvantaged communities on a sports coaching volunteer project. There are so many exciting possibilities out there to share your knowledge and skills, as well as develop your own interests and understanding, so make sure you think about ways that you can use existing skills to aid the development of those you meet on your career break.

Preparation is key – different people work in different ways when it comes to preparations for taking a career break, some make last minute decisions to up sticks and find their own piece of paradise overseas, whereas others will work on a career break plan meticulously for years in advance. Making solid plans and setting yourself targets, such as funding targets, is a great way for you to engage with your career break before you actually set off. Planning early gives you something exciting and worthwhile to look forward to, which should make those last few months of work before you travel that little bit easier to manage.

Flexi Travel

What is Flexi Travel?

Flexi Travel is the new way to create and experience a gap year, career break or summer holiday that is designed by the traveller for the traveller. Intrigued?

The way Flexi Travel works is that as the traveller you have the ultimate flexibility to build your trip from scratch, incorporating different projects and travel programmes in order to create your own personalised overseas experience. From volunteering one week, to jungle treks the next, we offer the flexibility to design something truly unique to you using our unique Flexi Credits system.

The flexibility does not stop there. We understand that plans change and you may want to change certain aspects of your trip after arriving in your chosen destination, so we give you the option to use our handy credits system to chop and change your trip on a week-by-week basis whilst you are in-country. So if you simply cannot leave the playful gibbons you are working with or you fancy swapping a week volunteering on a building project to a week relaxing at the beach, we can accommodate your change plans. 

See how much fun you can have designing your own adventure! Here is our simple Step-by-Step Guide to Flexi Travel…

Step 1: Pick Your Destination
Choose from one or more of the following destinations:
Thailand, India, Fiji, Bali (Indonesia), Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Philippines
Your first week in your chosen destination will include a cultural orientation week!

Step 2: Check Out The Trips
In each country we offer a wide range of experiences, from community volunteering to adventure tours. Each experience will have a certain number of credits assigned to it. Mix and match from these experiences to build your Flexi Travel trip.

Step 3: Pick Your Credit Package
Credits can be used for experiences across multiple locations, so you can travel and take part in some amazing activities as part of one package. You can add credits as you travel and mix and match a wide range of experiences.

Step 4: Go Flexi Travelling
You have the freedom to decide which experiences you want to do before or after you have started your trip. Build your personal itinerary or just book the number of credits you want and make those big decisions during your intro week! You can even book more credits after you have started. Easy as that…

Download the Flexi Travel Info Brochure - Click Here!

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