Job in Dubai & UAE Gap year benefits students: Educators

Gap year benefits students: Educators:

Dubai, UAE: Taking a year off after graduating from school can help students in personal development, educators have said.

Speaking at the GEMS EdEx 2018 event on Saturday, Chris Savard, vice-president of career and future employment architect at GEMS Education, said the gap year is becoming a trend among students.

A gap year is when students take a year off after high school, instead of directly enrolling at college or university. This is often to travel the world, save money for higher education or gain work experience in their area of study. “We work with universities and potential employers to see what best fits a student, whether it’s internships, summer jobs, part-time work or even a gap year to get that extra experience or figure out what they want to do. It’s becoming more of a trend now,” Savard said. “With globalisation in every sector and students becoming more fluid in terms of their options, it can be overwhelming. Depending on pressure from parents, internally or from peers, it’s very important to get those life skills and experience. Sometimes, it’s not always about learning what you want, but about what you don’t want.”

Kiertstan Connors, associate director for college, career and counselling worldwide at GEMS, spoke at the event to parents and students about alternative pathways after graduating school, instead of going directly for a university degree.

She said a student’s pathway can also lead to an internship, a gap year or a foundation programme, instead of an undergraduate degree.

“The gap year has to focus on who you are and on personal growth, meaning what kind of enrichment you want as a person and as part of the community. The second focus is how it’s going to affect your academics – why are you stopping a traditional pathway of going directly to university. Is it to make money, learn about a certain industry, to learn another language. there are many different reasons for a gap year, but as long as it focuses on what your end goal at university is, you tie that pathway together personally and professionally,” she said. Chris Taylor, senior recruitment and engagement manager at the University of Birmingham in Dubai, said universities are keen on taking students who are not only academically exceptional, but also have the ability to multitask.

He said if the student has taken a gap year, the university wants to see how productive the student has been during his or her time off. “We are looking for not just high grades, but also extra-curricular activities and responsibilities that students take on. When they’re applying to us, we need to see that they’re not only academically strong but can also multitask and take on responsibilities that reflect on our university well,” he said. “A gap year can be productive if they have taken some time off to travel around the world, a placement year, taken up some charity work, or something that shows they are passionate about their study area or about developing themselves as individuals.”

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