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Michelle Dittmer, CANGAP

Michelle Dittmer

President, Canadian Gap Year Association

Pre-pandemic, taking time out from formal education was often seen as a luxury. Right now, it might just be the way to get ahead in the world.

Gone are the days of strapping on a backpack and spending the year travelling where your whims take you. The gap year of the 21st century is a different kind of journey: getting clarity on future career paths, developing marketable skills, and improving mental health. “Most Canadians will spend most of their gap year gaining valuable experience through working, internships, and volunteering,” says Michelle Dittmer, President of the Canadian Gap Year Association (CANGAP), a non-profit that exists to help families ensure that gap time is spent purposefully. “Gappers are some of the most forward-thinking students. They recognize the value of taking the time they need to make better choices for their future.”

Getting ahead, not falling behind

While most people fear that taking a break will cause them to lose motivation, forget key learnings, or experience FOMO (fear of missing out), research shows the opposite — the “cost” of taking a year off now pays dividends in the future. Students who take a gap year get higher grades, graduate in fewer years, and are more employable than their non-gapping peers.

Getting life experience before committing to further studies will make you more successful if you do it right. CANGAP can help you explore your gap year options. Learn how you can customize a year’s worth of activities that will help you gain clarity, build your resume, and develop the confidence and independence you want. The Gap Year Game Plan, sponsored by RBC Future Launch, is a support community and accreditation for those taking a purposeful gap year.

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