Gap year ideas
“Where got time” – we hear this phrase a lot in the midst of our busy Singaporean lives. Whatever free time we have is usually spent sleeping in or nua-ing in our beds catching up on Netflix and Disney+ shows instead. But for students or working adults who are seeking gap year ideas or have hours on the weekend to spare, there are plenty of opportunities to give back.
Here are seven fulfilling things you can do to make a positive difference in society or gain new experiences:
1. Help solve issues in society & get funded for your projects
Image credit: MCCY
If you’ve felt strongly about an issue in society and think that you might have the next big idea to help solve it, here’s your chance. Whether you’re passionate about the environment, mental health, jobs in Singapore, supporting vulnerable groups or have other concerns, the National Youth Council provides platforms for youth to take action and to seek funding for their initiatives.
With the Young ChangeMakers (YCM) grant, youth may seek guidance from other youth curators, network with like-minded individuals and obtain perspectives and resources to value-add to their project.
Or consider the Youth Action Challenge Season 3 happening later this year, which gives youth teams a platform to step up and impact society positively by proposing solutions to tackle current issues in society. Come up with a winning pitch, and your team may just be awarded up to $50,000 in grants to bring your solutions to life.
Find out more about the Youth Action Challenge.
2. Understand more about Asia’s culture & economy from your home
Most of us have a basic understanding of other cultures in Singapore, largely owing to growing up in a cosmopolitan society. That said, we are surrounded by many more cultures in countries with different economies. For those who want to take the next step forward in becoming a global citizen, sign up for the Asia-Ready Exposure Programme (AEP).
You’ll get to learn and understand the social, cultural and political dimensions of ASEAN member states, China and India (ACI) by taking on short-term projects that allow you to gain regional exposure and acquire relevant skills that will sharpen your edge.
With a diverse range of AEP opportunities available, you can still build up your regional networks and better prepare yourself for the opportunities in ACI without travelling.
Find out more about the Asia-Ready Exposure Programme (AEP).
3. Join a traineeship to hone your tech skills
Gap years are a great time to hone your skills and prepare yourself for future employment. This year, NYC’s YouthTech programme is offering tech traineeship opportunities where you can gain relevant industry experience.
You can choose from traineeship placement opportunities such as a digital designer, digital marketer or technical specialist at various National Youth Council (NYC) partnered host organisations. During the traineeship, you’ll be provided with ample support and training, on top of an allowance up to $2,500.
Additionally, the traineeship will prepare you for the working world and might even catapult you into a full-time career.
Find out more on Youthopia.
4. Help seniors get familiar with tech and apps
Image credit: MCCY
For those who enjoy striking up conversations with elderly folks and want to better help them integrate into modern society, you can volunteer to teach seniors how to use technology. At Digital Learning Circles, you’ll help seniors get familiar with gadgets and gizmos, as well as familiarise them with important applications such as SingPass Mobile, TraceTogether and Zoom.
You’ll only need to attend a short orientation and commit to four in-person engagement sessions held at various senior activity centres. At the end of the programme, you’ll not only help the seniors get to grips with technology, but might even make a new friend!
Find out more about Digital Learning Circles.
5. Share life skills with overseas youths through virtual hangouts
Whether you’re a master chef in the kitchen or a math whiz, you can impart your knowledge to overseas beneficiaries with the Youth Expedition Project (YEP). Volunteering with YEP-GO (YEP Goes Online) allows you to interact with those in overseas countries over Zoom calls, teaching them life skills and bringing a smile to their faces with activities planned up by you and your team.
Look out for ongoing YEP-GO opportunities to serve the overseas community from home or take up grants to start your own projects to do good across cultures.
6. Be a leader & role model to fellow youths
Image credit: Youth Corps Singapore
If you like working with youths, the Youth Corps Leaders Programme trains you to take charge of programmes catered to them, along with imparting skills to implement sustainable service-learning projects. Running between 9-12 months, this programme will allow you to ideate and kickstart community service projects.
You’ll also be exposed to exciting opportunities such as internships with Youth Corps Singapore or their community partners.
Find out more about the Youth Corps Leaders Programme.
7. Be a volunteer for activities like mural painting & sports
Image credit: Team Nila
To encourage more people to give back through sport, Team Nila has plenty of volunteering opportunities with their wide range of activities.
From helping out in major sporting events, organising outdoor camp to assisting in community events like distributing masks and engaging migrant workers, volunteers will learn relevant skills while positively impacting society and inspiring the Singapore Spirit through sport.
Find out more updates on volunteering opportunities with Team Nila.
Fill your gap year or free time with a cause through Youthopia
Image credit: Youth Corps Singapore
Instead of spending your time watching TikTok or binge-watching TV shows, these are some great gap year ideas or ways to spend your free time while making a positive change.
For those who are strapped for time due to work, school or other commitments, there are also opportunities available that offer flexible hours too.
Visit Youthopia for more youth-related news, content and resources, or find out more about the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth’s (MCCY) other initiatives on the MCCY website. These can provide valuable life experiences and stretch your leadership potential through internships and volunteer opportunities. Plus by contributing back to society, it’s also a great method to maintain a healthy mental well-being!
This post was brought to you by the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth (MCCY).
Disclaimer: Some images were shot prior to Covid-19.
Cover image adapted from: MCCY