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Experiences

Our experiences are highly personal, giving context and meaning to our increasingly complicated lives. Experience can allow us to further our careers, create memories to treasure from the perfect holiday to unforgettable moments with friends and family. The link between our life experience and well-being is worth investing in.

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Exploring Personal Economy: Experiences

In this episode we look at the intangible value of our experiences. We uncover how our experiences shape our lives, whether it’s progressing us in our careers or providing us with great memories to look back on.

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The gap year is on the rise – and not just with students

Once the sole preserve of well-to-do students, the concept of a gap year appeals to people at all stages of their careers, from undergraduates to early retirees.

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The demographic of who is taking a gap year is changing. And far from being an excuse to spend time slacking, there is evidence to show that a gap year leads to greater levels of achievement.

Gap year takers are found to be more likely to graduate with a first or second class degree compared to those who go straight into Higher Education” Source: Centre for Analysis of Youth Transitions (CAYT)

The demographic of who is taking a gap year is changing. And far from being an excuse to spend time slacking, there is evidence to show that a gap year leads to greater levels of achievement.

Once the preserve of privately-educated, middle-class students, there is an increase in young professionals taking time out – anything from three to 24 months - to travel, change lifestyle, or just asses their career. Students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds are also seeing value in using a pre- or post-university gap year to gain life experience outside the lecture hall.

And the gap year is becoming more common outside of the UK. In the United States, 5% of universities and colleges now have a deferral policy for students who wish to take a year off.

A recent report published by the Centre for Analysis of Youth Transitions (CAYT) showed that the number of students taking a gap year has seen a rapid increase over the last few years. The trend to defer a university placement for a year has nearly doubled in the last two years, from 2.7% of students in 2011 to 5.1% in 2013.

The time can encompass a range of activities, from extensive travel to international development projects or working holidays.

The key to a successful and rewarding gap year is to make sure it is planned and well-structured so that a quality experience is gained. According to the CAYT report, gap year takers are found to be more likely to graduate with a first or second-class degree compared to those who go straight into Higher Education.

One thing is clear, the intangible yet profound benefits of taking a year off to explore new horizons and widen personal experience are something that not just the young value.

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A survey of 200 top businesses in the UK showed that 15% allow sabbaticals for volunteering projects.

Source: Business in the Community / TimeBank.
Retirees Tim and Lynne Martin
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