By Sarah Stock 

I considered taking a gap year after graduation for a while, but my decision was solidified in the spring of 2021. I saw that all of the local universities and colleges were constantly being moved online for months or weeks at a time, and I didn’t want to have to spend my freshman year at post secondary watching zoom calls from a tiny dorm room. I started to look at alternative options for the fall and came across something very unique – a Torchbearers Bible school on a Greek island. 

My summer was spent saving up money for my gap year by working as a cook at a small summer camp in Parry Sound, and before I knew it, I was on a plane to Europe! I had never traveled alone before, and thankfully I was accompanied by another just-graduated homeschooler that I had never met before, who I later found out lived only a half-hour drive away from me. It was a long, stressful, but adventurous journey for me and my new friend. After two days of hopping on and off planes and ferries, we arrived at our new home for the next two months. 

postsecondary gap year experienceThe small Bible school was located on a property that doubled as a shady, olive grove on the Greek island of Skopelos. Fifteen other young women and I slept in treehouses at night and spent our days reading Scriptures, swimming in the Agean sea, and becoming best friends. Halfway through the two-month-long program, we loaded ourselves into three vans and embarked on a road trip all over Greece! During this 10-day trip, we got to visit many of the places the apostle Paul journeyed over 2,000 years ago -Thessaloniki, Corinth, Philippi, and Athens. This incredible trip, as well as the classes and relationships I formed, grew me as a person both mentally and spiritually. 

At the program’s end, I said a tearful goodbye to Skopelos and headed back to Athens with two of my friends. We spent two weeks volunteering and living at a church in the inner city that ministered and provided food for the local homeless population. The next month in Europe was spent backpacking Mykonos, Spain, Italy, and Croatia. For some of these adventures I met up with friends, and for some I was alone. Solo traveling was another huge growing experience for me, and it left me feeling very empowered.

On December eighth I finally flew home to my family in Ontario, exhausted from my travels but returning as a changed person with many new memories and friends. The next mission for me was to find a good job and start applying to Universities for the fall! My experiences had left me with some new discoveries about myself and what I was most passionate about. I had seen how much injustice there was in the world and wanted to make a change- I decided that higher education in government and legal studies would be a good avenue for me to start doing that.  

If you are considering taking a gap year after finishing your homeschooling education, there are many good reasons for doing so. If you are uncertain about your future education and career, as many new graduates are, taking a year off can give you more time to figure out what you are most passionate about and gifted in. In addition, it gives you the free time to focus on spiritual and personal growth, travel, meet many new people, and work way more hours at a full-time job to save up. There are also many programs and opportunities out there to assist you in doing these things, such as Torchbearers and Workaway. When else are you going to have the opportunity to have this much time and freedom on your hands as a young person?

Gap Year for Growth