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 over 3 years 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. over 3 years 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! over 3 years ago
Yes, Degree has always been beneficial in all ways. Even if you are planning to work, traveling, the degree would be beneficial. As you are taking a gap year, you have a year to take the decision. My cousin also took a gap year before entering into the universities and during that gap year, he went on a volunteering abroad program of voyage humanitaire( http://www.mission-humanitaire-afrique.org/tourisme-solidaire-voyage-humanitaire/ ) for helping people at abroad. about 3 years ago
I agree with all the answers up above. However, In my personal opinion, never walk in to a university without a love for a subject. Society has made us feel the need to get a degree due to the unforeseen need of labor in all the offered degrees a university contains. It has embedded into the minds of most and very likely your parents too. The love for a subject has to be felt within and you need to be very passionate about. If you do not feel that way to a particular subject, don't stress. Relax, with the way schools shape kids these days and restrict a free-thinking mind, there is no denying that it is very unlikely that once you are free from that child prison, your mind is finally unrestricted to think abstractly and critically. That is the time when teenagers feel confused and lost. And that is the period where most adult fail to recognize and assist teenagers in. It is that period when you must remain calm and understand that you are just going through an episode of curiosity and experimentation. I repeat, don't stress. If you are, like I said, lacking a love for a subject, then travel. Go experience new things and explore the things or places you think would never benefit you. I promise you, you will come across something that'll inspire your curiosity and feed into your awareness. I have done just that and ended up exploring more about the Biological Marine life after working for a simple but inspiring pool company over 2 years ago