years are increasingly popular, they continue to be rather controversial because the benefits are hard to quantify exactly. There are arguments on both sides of
very topical debate, and I will discuss them now.
On the one hand, opponents of
years point to the cost involved in areas
the fare charged for traveling by airplane
, accommodation and living expenses. All
money has to come from the student’s family, or even from borrowing to be paid later.
, it is often said that
years take a young person’s focus away from studying, and allows them to get involved in distractions
can make it hard to adjust to university life, damaging the student’s performance.
, there is a concern over the safety of young people if they are travelling to remote places. Being kidnapped or mugged is a poor start to an academic career, after all.
On the other hand
, supporters of
years say that the skills learned outweigh the disadvantages. They highlight the independence and assertiveness that a student will acquire, in areas
as time management and interpersonal skills. They
say that these skills lead to greater career success later in life,
cancelling out the costs involved.
, there are many examples of young people using
years to achieve something significant, whether in voluntary work or in a sector of business that interests them.
In conclusion, my own feeling is that a year off can indeed be a useful activity, with the experience leading to improved skills that are invaluable in the future. Of course,
is provided that the year is planned carefully and used for something genuinely worthwhile.