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ballz said:I can't say how much I agree. A gap year is viewed in a negative light in Canada, as though it's just a year of "wasting time." Maybe it is, but it's a cheaper waste of time than wasting a year in university doing stuff your not interested in. Or, you go backpacking for a year which I think is probably the biggest regret of my life that I didn't do that... because once you really go after adulthood, it's rare to get that opportunity until you are retirement age.
When I was backpacking in SE Asia, I met tons of Germans who are notoriously known for being "everywhere" by backpackers... because it seems almost everyone in Germany takes a gap year and many many many use it to travel.
But the big difference between Europeans and North Americans (particularly of my generation) was that university tuition (and a stipend for living expenses) was mostly provided gratis to those Germans et al once they came back from a year of "expanding their minds" (with or without use of substances) while the funds Norteamericanos expended during their year of doing nothing was often at the expense of their education budget.
That being said, there is (depending on the individual and their circumstances) sometimes a benefit to taking time off to experience an adventure before life takes over. I spent time between high school graduation and starting a military career, though it wasn't strictly planned as a gap, but I consider it as being worthwhile learning experience - educational "credentialing" came later.
The Aussies even use a Gap Year programme as a recruiting tool.
DISCOVER YOUR PATH IN AN ADF GAP YEAR
Spend an exciting 12-months in the Navy, Army or Air Force, where you'll get paid for meaningful work while travelling around Australia, gaining skills for life, and making lifelong friends.