by Hsieh, Pei-yu（謝珮瑜）
“Gap year ” is a different way to learn without textbooks. It is a long break after graduating without going to work. It is said to be a turning point for most people who had experienced gap year. Malia Obama, American President Barack Obama’s daughter, will enter Harvard in fall 2017. She will not get into university immediately after finishing high school, because she is having a gap year. There is also another example. Prince William lived in a jungle of South America, to receive British military training. Also, he volunteered in charity organization during his gap year, after he had graduated from high school.
Although having a gap year is very common in the West, it is not easy to be accepted in Taiwan. In general, people think that gap year must be a long vacation abroad. Some of them also believed that having a gap year is a privilege for the rich, and lower class people are forbidden because of the large sum of expenses. Most parents still feel it is crazy to have a gap year, because they can’t imagine whatit it is.
Hao, Yin-chi（郝英琪）, a writer who worked in America for a long time, said that young people in Europe and America are more independent than Taiwanese. Before finishing high school, students should start to plan their next step. Most of them will move out from home and attempt to earn their living. Instead of going to college directly, they need to save enough money to pay for their tuition first. So, they may try different kinds of jobs. Not only for making money but also for exploring their ambitions. In EU countries, people can move and reside freely. So they can work in other countries without a work permit during their gap year. So they may naturally immerse themselves in a multi-cultural environment and meet people of from diverse ethnic groups. This advantage cannot be easily realized in Taiwan.
“Gap year is a kind of culture!” said Liu Wei-lin（劉威麟）, a trend observer on the internet, who has emmigrated to Canada since he was 14 years old. He said that Westerners are more inclined to pursue free spirit. Through this, they become more creative, imaginative and courageous, because everything they meet everywhere was challenging their values and broaden their visions during the gap year. And Liu said, “Actually, It is more necessary for Eastern students.” He also emphasized that improving practical skills is not the main point of a gap year .If you hold this kind of hope, you will get disappointed. No matter what you have imagined about a gap year, the only treasure you will find in it is your spiritual growth.