What to do next when you have post-graduation stress?

Whether you’re about to graduate, already graduated, you feel lost, or you’re just looking for a break from your daily life, and your future seems like a blank piece of paper, this blog post is for you. You’re actually in a situation that many people dream of because you have many options. One option to fill that blank sheet of paper with is to spend a gap year abroad and complete some courses. So, don’t panic and just keep reading to learn something about the importance of life, and find out how a gap year abroad changed one life.

A bag filled with travel essentials on a white wooden floor
Start packing your bag with important travel essentials and spend a gap year abroad. You will not regret it!  Photo by STIL / CC BY

Deep thoughts about life

People often say that life is too short. It is actually true as tomorrow could really be your last. This is why time is precious and we should not waste it. We all should identify our biggest dreams and wishes and start doing something about them as dreams rarely come true by themselves. Instead, you need to use your time efficiently, make multiple decisions (both easy and hard), be determined, have an open mind and take smaller steps towards your dream.

And to be clear, you don’t even need to know all of your dreams or wishes at this stage. This “blank sheet moment” is the time you can experience, create and explore different things. When you make one decision, it will lead you to another decision and then the good things and dreams will eventually be created. Unexpected things might happen as well and when an opportunity arises, take it. If you ask from yourself “should I?”, you definitely should.

A person is standing on top of a mountain and watching the view during sunset
It´s a fact that traveling opens doors to new possibilities!  Photo by Alessandro ErbettaCC BY

A gap year abroad changed my life – true story

Let’s continue with a real story. I was really determined to get a study placement from a university after upper secondary school (like everyone else was doing..). My plan was to get accepted, postpone the start with a year, spend a gap year abroad, and begin my studies.

You might also be interested in: 7 Best Reasons to Study Abroad

Well, I didn’t get a study placement and I felt lost. I did, however, spend a year abroad and learned a lesson. After returning home I realized I didn’t even want to study the original topic as it didn’t feel right for me. During my time abroad, I learned new things about myself, my interests, I met really awesome people, and noticed what really makes me happy. I realized life is too short and I should make the most of it. I decided to try different jobs, save some money, and travel to the other side of the world to make my dream come true. These realizations brought tears, smiles, twists, and turns in my life but they were needed.

Part of a airplane wing high up in the sky
Flying to the unknown and see the world is the best way to get out of your comfort zone.  Photo by Ross ParmlyCC BY

Coming home from that dream trip was a life-changing experience to me. I had never been so happy in my life and suddenly, I had this weird trust towards the universe (if you can say that) and a feeling that everything will be ok. Many things led to another, and then I started my business-studies, which I just loved. The funny thing here is that actually right after upper secondary school, I said I will never study business (we all can laugh now). But life had other plans and I gave the opportunity a chance. I ended up having four gap years and the best part of it was the time I spent abroad.

Benefits of spending a gap year abroad

What did you and I learn from the story above? Spending a gap year abroad is never a bad idea. Take a little break or a little getaway from your current whereabouts. Give yourself some extra time to see what you want to do in your life – see the world! Learn about yourself and your needs, and improve your language skills. An even better solution is to study while spending your gap year abroad, which will ensure you’re not wasting your time.

Three books and sunglasses in the shade on a table at the beach
Study while spending your gap year abroad! It will ensure you’re not wasting your time. Photo by Link Hoang / CC BY

Completing courses abroad helps you to see all of your options, especially before starting your full-degree studies. Maybe you realize you actually have always wanted to complete a full-degree in Thailand instead of your home country, but you just never thought about it? Or maybe you realized tourism is actually more interesting than law? Maybe you realized all this during a course you were attending in Asia during your gap year? Sometimes people realize they are in a totally wrong field after years of studying because they never gave themselves time to figure things out.

Why should you study abroad during your gap year?

1. It is an eye-opening experience – dive into the unknown!
2. Learn more about yourself, your needs, wants and dreams.
3. Meet new people and expand your world-view.
4. Combine traveling and academic development – no time wasted!
5. Complete basic level courses which you can potentially add as part of your future full-degree.
6. Stay one or two semesters abroad – still time for other adventures as well.
7. Do all the fun stuff before spending 5 years in a row in a university.
Man is sitting on a swing above water during sunset
Make sure to travel and explore the world as much as you can! Photo by Rye Jessen  / CC BY

Please look in the mirror. What do you see? A brave individual who is hungry for information, interested in new places, new people and unforgettable experiences, and doesn’t want to waste time? A person who is ready for a life-changing experience? A person who wants to experience the Asian continent and feel the ocean breeze? Then you should go abroad during your gap year – how does a semester in Bali or Phuket sound like?

Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities in Asia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tips and new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter! If you have any questions about studying abroad, feel free to contact us! We’ll get back to you!

This article was written by our International Coordinator Elisa! 

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