There are many ways to develop as an individual on a gap year or career break.
Learn some new skills
You might decide to take a course or get a qualification in something you are interested in, such as a TEFL qualification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), a PADI qualification (learn to scuba dive), or become a ski or snowboard instructor.
Improve on existing skills
You may be keen to develop your understanding of a certain subject, such as taking a course in a specific language or gaining experience coaching your favourite sport.
Gain work experience
Why not see what internship or work experience positions are available overseas, so you can return home with a greater understanding of your chosen career path. Alternatively you could take part in a rewarding volunteer project, or find a paid work role.
Improve your employability
You can use your time effectively during your gap year or career break, and through constructive travel you could build on key skills for your CV/resume, and develop your personal skills such as time management, organisation, awareness, and adaptability. You can also gain from improving inter-personal skills such as communication and interaction, listening, and teamwork. You will return with a deeper understanding of global issues, showing you have initiative and can adapt to any situation life throws at you.
A gap year or career break can be a time for you to stretch your limits and find out things about yourself that you might not have found out otherwise. Face your fears and test yourself, and you are bound to learn a lot. Volunteer and see if you can control a class of kids in Asia, throw yourself out of a plane high up above the beautiful New Zealand landscape, or come face to face with Great White sharks on a marine conservation project in South Africa.
Shape your career
A gap year or career break adventure can be a key ingredient in making decisions about your future career, as you will come back a more mature and independent individual, with a revised perspective on life, after having the freedom and time to put some thought to your prospects and where you want to aim for in life.
You may be undecided about what you want to do at university, for a career or in your next stage of life, so you can take the time before starting your next venture to refresh and compose yourself on a gap year or career break. Many universities and employers welcome the fact that individuals take time out to develop on a personal and interpersonal level.