Years of going to school are already behind you. Your brain is stuffed full with information and suddenly it’s time to decide for the next steps ahead. Maybe your midway through college and feel bored or stuck, or you’re longing to go on leave to get your future figured out. Maybe you want to dedicate a year of your life to God. Or – like me, when I set forth for my first gap year – you’re just curious to immerse yourself in a whole new environment, want to see how you get along with different cultures, away from the warmth and security of the parent’s home. Theoretically, you can start a gap year whenever you feel like. But honestly, there are just a few opportunities when it’s easier to go than after leaving high school. You have practically no responsibilities at home, you’re old enough to make your own decisions and you don’t need to ask your boss for leave.
The Medical Missions Gap Year here at YWAM Townsville is my second gap year, and this time was a little bit more difficult to drop out of my warm and cozy context, with a car, an apartment, a safe job with good money and friends all around the city I lived in. But as you see, I’m a repeat offender and I would definitely go again and start into another gap year, if I’ll have the chance to go again.
My top 5 reasons why you should:
1. Dive into other cultures
Being born in Russia and raised in Germany, is it’s as if I was born to travel. Hiking the wadis of Jordan, bicycle rides to the Valley of the Kings, day trips to Amsterdam and London or camping trips with my wife to Sweden and Portugal. I love to travel. But being in a country for only a few weeks, you only get to see the tourist’s point of view. The best way to get to know the people and the culture of a country is to live everyday life together with them, celebrate their parties and learn to think the way they think.
2. Meeting new friends
You get to know a whole lot of people along the way. Especially when you invest the time of doing a gap year together you get the chance to get to know your roomies really well. You won’t be “just” acquaintances anymore but actually can become friends – and some of these friendships will definitely stand the test of time.
3. Questioning everything
Being out of my comfort zone for the first time I soon questioned pretty much everything: my hobbies, my knowledge, friendships at home, my identity, my faith. Although at times quite challenging, it was definitely worth it.
4. Meeting myself
It sounds actually pretty weird. I know. The times most challenging where also the times most rewarding, in my perspective. During the process of cutting the cord to home and transitioning into adulthood you are – rather sooner than later – faced with the question of who you are. The good thing about the Gap Year at YWAM is that especially during the Discipleship Training School (DTS) part of it, you get a lot of support and quite a lot of people who have your back when it comes to identity.
5. It changes your life
And this is not a cliché. Equipped with a truck load of experiences, insights, and eye- opening moments, your horizons are simply opened up and you view things differently than before. For me, it set the path for my professional career in becoming a nurse. And now I find myself here in another gap year living a childhood dream of diving into the field of medical missions.
If would get the opportunity of getting into another gap year, my answer would always be YES!
Hermann lives in Germany. Hermann is currently half way through his Medical Gap Year with us at YWAM Townsville. He enjoys good coffee, sports, music and photography. He has a passion for bringing healthcare to those in need. A fun fact about Hermann is although he lives in Germany he was actually born in Siberia!