August, 2020

Best countries for a gap year

(NC) Taking a year off after high school or post-secondary can have many benefits for young people. For example, research shows that high school grads who take gap years before university or college are often more mature, more focused and attain higher GPAs when pursuing their post-secondary education.

But to reap the benefits, it’s important to use a gap year wisely. International Experience Canada is a government program that makes it easier for youth to obtain the information and necessary permits to work and travel abroad in over 30 partner countries and territories.

If your child is considering a gap year, here are some great places to consider for a working holiday, internship or work placement:

Chile. Chile is an attractive destination for young people, many of whom go for working holidays or internships. With a robust labour market that’s strongly oriented towards service and natural resource-based industries like mining, forestry and agriculture as well as solar energy farms, there are plenty of opportunities in diverse fields. During downtime, activities like scuba diving, surfing, skiing in the mountains or sandboarding in the dunes can keep your child active.

Denmark. If your child is a bike enthusiast, Denmark is the place to be for a work abroad experience. In Copenhagen alone, bikes outnumber cars five to one. Danish workplace culture is rather informal, with no dress code, a flat hierarchy, flexible working hours and the use of first names to address others.

Austria. This country offers rich heritage and culture in multiple locations, like Vienna, Hallstatt village, and the Alps. With so much on offer, it’s no wonder Austria has a thriving hospitality industry that’s ideal for seasonal workers during peak tourism seasons. Centrally located between Western and Eastern Europe, Austria is also a great base for working during the week and exploring major European cities on weekends.

New Zealand. Fans of the Lord of the Rings books and movies will enjoy scouting out the landscapes and filming locations that stood in for Middle Earth in the popular series. Tourism is a major economic driver, as is the country’s wine industry, which is famous for its Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and its dense Pinot Noir. New Zealand is also renowned for its gorgeous scenery and outdoor activities, including kayaking, sailing, island-hopping and visiting waterfalls and forests.

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Hidden gems for your next vacation

As more of us prefer to spend our time and money on experiences that create lasting memories, travel has become more about immersing yourself in a new culture and way of living. European countries are great for this type of travel, with lots of rich culture and heritage to explore like a local.

To take the stress out of booking a vacation to a new destination, try a flight and travel package from Air Canada Vacations. They take the guesswork out of planning with convenient packages for every travel style, whether you prefer independent sightseeing, guided tours, family fun, or island hopping.

Here are some destinations to inspire your next trip:

Croatia. Relaxation awaits from the moment you arrive on the dazzling Dalmatian coast. Home to incredible natural wonders like Plitvice Lakes National Park where you could easily wander the trails and gaze at rushing waterfalls for days on end, Croatia is also brimming over with culture and history. Stroll through Gornji Grad in Zagreb or wander the Roman and Venetian ruins in Zadar.

Ireland. The Emerald Isle boasts the greenest grass, most gorgeous windswept beaches and warmest people. Hike the hills of the Irish countryside or trek through colourful cityscapes. Set down in Dublin or Shannon and explore vibrant cities, or head out to Connemara, the Dingle Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher or the Giant’s Causeway.

Greece. From sunny skies to windmills, wine and the most delicious feta cheese you’ve ever tasted, Greece is the stuff dreams are made of. In Athens, where the old and new meld seamlessly, sip ouzo on a rooftop and get lost in the city lights. Sunbathe all day or stroll through the bold blue and stark white washed cliffside houses of Mykonos, or dance until sun-up in Santorini.

Portugal. This country’s charm is best depicted in its warm, friendly people, villages filled with red roofs on sloping hills, coastal vistas and the taste of just-caught-fish on the grill at a seaside restaurant. Sample rich, aromatic Port wine beside the stunning Douro River. Become a full-time beach bum in the Algarve or embrace your inner tourist and take in Lisbon by Tuk Tuk. Known for its cable cars, an ever-expanding foodie scene and a glorious year-round climate, it’s easy to see why the Portuguese capital has been a European vacation hotspot for years.

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