Best countries for a gap year

Taking a year off after high school or post-secondary can have many benefits for young people. For example, research shows that high school grads who take gap years before university or college are often more mature, more focused and attain higher GPAs when pursuing their post-secondary education.

But to reap the benefits, it’s important to use a gap year wisely. International Experience Canada is a government program that makes it easier for youth to obtain the information and necessary permits to work and travel abroad in over 30 partner countries and territories.

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If your child is considering a gap year, here are some great places to consider for a working holiday, internship or work placement:

Chile. Chile is an attractive destination for young people, many of whom go for working holidays or internships. With a robust labour market that’s strongly oriented towards service and natural resource-based industries like mining, forestry and agriculture as well as solar energy farms, there are plenty of opportunities in diverse fields. During downtime, activities like scuba diving, surfing, skiing in the mountains or sandboarding in the dunes can keep your child active.

Denmark. If your child is a bike enthusiast, Denmark is the place to be for a work abroad experience. In Copenhagen alone, bikes outnumber cars five to one. Danish workplace culture is rather informal, with no dress code, a flat hierarchy, flexible working hours and the use of first names to address others.

Austria. This country offers rich heritage and culture in multiple locations, like Vienna, Hallstatt village, and the Alps. With so much on offer, it’s no wonder Austria has a thriving hospitality industry that’s ideal for seasonal workers during peak tourism seasons. Centrally located between Western and Eastern Europe, Austria is also a great base for working during the week and exploring major European cities on weekends.

New Zealand. Fans of the Lord of the Rings books and movies will enjoy scouting out the landscapes and filming locations that stood in for Middle Earth in the popular series. Tourism is a major economic driver, as is the country’s wine industry, which is famous for its Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and its dense Pinot Noir. New Zealand is also renowned for its gorgeous scenery and outdoor activities, including kayaking, sailing, island-hopping and visiting waterfalls and forests.

Find more information on work and travel abroad at canada.ca/iec.

-News Canada

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