#NoRegrets: 5 hurdles to overcome if you're planning a gap year abroad

Istock Photograph
Istock Photograph

The prospects of travelling are always exciting - the thought of new adventures and a 'fresh' start can excite anyone. Many individuals break the boundaries of society by seeking a new phase to their life through travelling abroad for an extended period.

It can either be a gap year or the ultimate decision to pack your bags, sell all your belongings and travel the world.

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Each of us has an adventurous side - we yearn to explore and experience new things. Travelling allows us to grow and learn from the world in various ways. If you are thinking of heading out on a gap year or seemingly broadening your view of the world - we have compiled a list of challenges to overcome if you are planning to leave home. 

As you get set to say 'totsiens', keep in mind these 5 challenges as you prepare yourself to pack up and go on a new adventure:  

1. Technology is not always lekker 

Technology may not always be enough as it doesn't make up from that warm hug you get when you visit your parents or the 'how zit bru' high five that shakes the ground beneath you.

Although we are seeing advancements in technology - it cannot fully make up for the distance from your friends and family.

Chatting on What'sApp is not the same as grabbing a cold one at Beer house with your mates. The distance can change relationships and in order to maintain it - one can find various methods of communication that might not require technology.

The old tradition of writing letters has proved a connective way to stay in touch.


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2. #SquadGoals: Social support is important  

Social circles are more important than we think - those that we surround ourselves with have an influence on our well-being and our daily lives. The older we get it is said to be a bit more difficult to create these social bonds and essentially extend our 'crew'.

Rebuilding our social networks requires a lot of hard work and can cause massive change to one's life. Be prepared to have the dynamic of social support change - to becoming more self reliant. A good way to overcome this would be to find communities in your new destination of choice and connect however daunting it may seem.


3. Change can be scary 

Change is always good and provides one with new opportunities and experiences - although relocating ones entire life to another continent is admittedly a big leap. Everything will change from the type of floss you use to the type of coffee you drink. There is a move away from everything you know and you are literally thrown out of your comfort zone.

This may be very daunting and scary - take it in your stride and embrace the new experience.


4. Missing your local comforts

The local culture of South Africa is comprised of so much diversity but there are a few things that tie all South African's together - from the tasty rooibos tea to a delicious vleisbraai.

Each part of South Africa has its iconic aspects from the Cape Town taxi's shouting 'Wyneee-berg' to the Jozi hustle and bustle along with the Durbs 'howzittt' surfer vibe. These aspects are irreplaceable and make South Africa what it is. 

Twinning's every day in the UK just isn't the same as a hot cup of Rooibos - let's just say online shopping may just become your new thing. 

5. All the responsibility is on you

Depending if you leave abroad alone or not - long gone are the days of being able to rely on close ones around you to help out. This means that you might have to end up doing your own ironing and laundry. This also means that you are solely responsible for yourself and if you find yourself in a 'jam' like the geyser bursting - well you are on your own. But it's going to build character and well shape you for the things to come.

So while taking a gap year will definitely bring along some hurdles - it is also important to note that these hurdles can be overcome.

It takes patience and peace of mind to reassure yourself that you are capable.

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