Gap year after high school: year abroad or apprenticeship?

After graduating from high school, many school leavers often have no idea what career path to take. First do an apprenticeship or go straight to university? If so, which course is the right one? Business studies, business psychology, English studies or rather international management? Those fresh out of school are often overwhelmed and uncertain about this far-reaching decision in view of the almost unlimited number of choices available.

"What do I want to achieve in my life and what are my professional goals??", many wonder. In order to gain time for reflection, many a person first takes time out after successfully completing school, which is supposed to bring clarity. A so-called gap year provides helpful impulses and brings you closer to your concrete career aspirations.

Many high school graduates go to another country, often to another continent, to gain valuable experience in a foreign culture. Seeing something of the world, becoming more independent, improving foreign language skills and developing a professional perspective – these are the reasons why many people are drawn to spend a gap year abroad after leaving school.

Improve language skills: Going abroad after high school?

Work in a distant country, finance your stay abroad and get to know the people and culture – that's the principle of "Work and Travel". And the positive side effect: those who speak only English, French or Spanish for a whole year during their gap year naturally consolidate and expand their language skills enormously. Temporary jobs are mainly found in gastronomy, tourism, on farms and ranches, but also in business, z.B. in the administration or marketing department of companies. Here you can already gain your first professional experience, which you can later use to score points in job applications. Popular destinations are Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.


During a gap year abroad you can of course also work as an au pair in a host family, where you take care of the household and the children. Most au pairs brush up their language skills in a language course on the side. Instead of payment, you will receive free board and lodging as well as a small amount of pocket money. Which tasks you take over depends on the family. They range from childcare, shopping and cooking to laundry and cleaning.

If you want to concentrate entirely on learning a language, you can also take a language course. In a course lasting several weeks, you will then work intensively on improving your own language skills. Often, after successful completion of the course, you will receive a language certificate. Not only large cities such as London or New York, Barcelona or Paris come into question for this, but of course also many other places worldwide. If you want to use your gap year for a language trip, you have the option of learning several languages at once in the form of a so-called Multi-Language Year. For example, you can spend three to four months learning English, then French and Spanish – in completely different locations. Depending on your budget, you can choose a boarding school or live with a host family or in a shared apartment.

First do an apprenticeship and then study?

The gap year is also a good opportunity to use the time until graduation for an apprenticeship and, above all, to perfect your foreign language skills, which are an indispensable prerequisite for many professions today. Fluent communication in English or French, but also in Spanish, is part of everyday working life in our globalized world.
Above all, very good English skills are among the key competencies of many academic professions. In addition to a comprehensive English vocabulary, it is now required in the business, technical or humanities fields of activity to be able to conduct meetings, telephone conversations and business negotiations in English and to be able to write correspondence or reports in the foreign language.

Fotolia_27030411_webBecome a foreign language correspondent in one year – a solid basis

Unfortunately, many degree programs offer hardly any additional courses for acquiring sound language skills. Stays abroad, which promote self-confidence and independence in addition to intercultural skills, are also completed by only about 20 percent of all students, depending on their course of study. The one-year training course to become a foreign language correspondent at the Euro Akademie teaches exactly these skills and is recognized throughout Germany. So why not make good use of the time until you start university and prepare for your subsequent studies by training to become a foreign language correspondent for English, while at the same time acquiring a professional qualification??
The one-year training program for foreign language correspondents for high school graduates is offered at the Euro Akademien in Dortmund, Hanover, Cologne and Oldenburg and can be completed with an examination in accordance with state law in Aschaffenburg, Bamberg and Nuremberg.

Recognized certificates

Training as a foreign language correspondent at the Euro Akademie concludes with an examination in accordance with national law or before the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and provides English language skills at level C1 of the European Framework of References. This means that you have already attained the level of proficiency required to study at an English or American university or to become a teacher of English. If required, additional modules prepare you for relevant placement tests such as TOEFL or IELTS. The Euro Akademie is a member of BUSINET – Global Business Education Network and awards the BUSINET certificate Intercultural Awareness as an additional qualification for foreign language correspondents.

Help with study orientation

During the one-year training, courses of study in management, economics or languages can be explored. National and international university partners of the Euro Akademie offer introductory and intensive courses with a focus on marketing, tourism, sports management or languages.

International experience included

If you wish, you can also do an internship abroad. The Euro Akademie cooperates with permanent partners in England, Ireland and Malta and applies for financial support for the participants within the European program Erasmus+.

Credit for later studies

The training as a foreign language correspondent is also credited by some European university partners with two semesters on a suitable course of study such as International Business Management or Communication. These universities offer trial study days and visit the Euro Academies on site. If desired, the training can be extended at selected Euro Akademie locations in a further year to include the International Administration Manager ESA and then completed with a Bachelor's degree as a top-up at a foreign partner university after a further two semesters.

Set the course for the future

Participants of this training will gain access to Speexx – a renowned online platform for learning foreign languages – and will be able to learn or deepen their knowledge of another language in addition to English. The training is eligible for funding through Schuler-BAfoG, the training fees can be claimed as tax deductions.

So what are you waiting for? The year as a foreign language correspondent gives you time and opportunity to explore your interests and at the same time acquire important key qualifications. Regardless of whether you subsequently decide to take up a career, study at home or abroad, or continue your training at the Euro Akademie, you have in any case set the course for your future!