When a sabbatical year and students mix

Appearing in Britain in the 1960s, then spreading to the Commonwealth countries, including Canada, the sabbatical year merits interest by students. First off and to clarify a critical point, for this experience to be fulfilling personally and of value to an employer, it must be structured around a project. In other words, you don’t sign up for 365 of sleeping in nor for a job at the corner convenience store.

More discerning students
Whether taken before or during university studies, a sabbatical year can be beneficial in many ways. Confronted with young CEGEP graduates who are undecided in their choice of a university program, Boris Cyrulnik, psychiatrist, could have the solution: “What can help a young person find their way is their power to dream. Of course he has to wake up afterwards. The dream leads to the awakening.” It’s by means of travel, volunteering, a sports challenge that a young person can feel out what he is made for, what he is attracted to, what he is missing… and so help find his direction.

As university students, American statistics have shown that those who have opted for a break were more invested in their return. In Canada, Statistics Canada shows that one young person out of three delays their studies by a year to travel or to pay for university. The cost of a sabbatical year cannot be ignored. But it does not have to put you in the red, contrary to what you might expect, and could even save you money. As proof, a sabbatical year will help you find your direction, and prevent you from starting a program then abandoning it or doing two bachelors before finding your way. A sabbatical can actually be considered an investment – and not an expense – as long as you know how to make it worthwhile.

Experience appreciated by recruiters
Your sabbatical year may be sold in two ways during an interview. On the one hand, you have here a great opportunity to capture the attention of your recruiter by addressing an out-of-the-ordinary theme for which you have the upper hand. What an opportunity for you to be able to explain how you organized the project, what were the meetings, the challenges to overcome, the difficult situations to manage…  Suffice to say that if the conversation is sincere and passionate, it will be a well worth while professional experience.

On the other hand, a sabbatical year will make you mature and whatever the nature of your adventure (tourism, sports, cultural, humanitarian, community) and whether abroad or in your own country, it will develop your independence, confidence, resourcefulness, adaptability and openness, qualities and aptitudes sought by employers.

The sabbatical year is an incredible experience that you young people often want to manage yourself from A to Z. Be aware, however, that without compromising the essence of your project, you can draw on the literature (There is a Life After College, by Jeffrey Sellingo), on businesses (mygapyear) and on university programs to make your sabbatical year live up to your dreams.

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