post-title Gap Years – A Portuguese Perspective

Gap Years – A Portuguese Perspective

Gap Years – A Portuguese Perspective

Quest News


When I heard of Gap Years, I
thought, as would any Portuguese person – they can never be done in Portugal,
where the economy is sinking every day.  We keep every penny to
ourselves  so we can survive the ongoing price increases and cuts in
salaries and welfare from the government.  That’s why I was so surprised
when I read a very interesting article in a Portuguese newspaper online. 
Apparently, the ‘Gap Year’ is something that is starting to grow in my
country.  The article tells us about two boys who travelled around the
word two years ago, with the help of the non-profit foundation Fundacao Lapa do
Lobo.

After coming back home and
enrolling in the university, the boys decided to create an association to help
high school students who want to do a Gap Year.  Over this last year, they
created a website that informs young students about Gap Years and everything
involved  it, and were able to present a project proposal to our
government so that this type of adventure can be encouraged in schools. 
However, not everyone finds this to be a suitable idea for Portuguese teenagers.

While some people think that a
Gap Year is a great opportunity for the young adults to grow up, being able to
resolve problems quicker and giving more value to things around them, there are
those who think Portuguese teenagers are too immature to go on an adventure
like this.  In many Northern countries, leaving home at the age of 18 is
common and encouraged.  There is also the money problem, since people see
can this as an expensive trip.  Still, as the article states, taking a
year off is proven to be cheaper than sending a teenager to college for the
same amount of time.  College costs for a year could amount to around
5000€ with food, fees and accommodation.  A Gap adventure to South America
or Africa could cost around the same amount.  And there are of course many
ways young people can work to reduce costs when taking time out to
explore. 

 

Putting this clash of opinions
aside, more than 60 young adults enrolled this Portuguese association to do a
Gap Year in 2014.  Who knows, maybe this popular activity from northern
European countries will become a trend in Portugal yet…

 

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