There comes a point in life when it’s time to take a sabbatical or gap year. Taking a break from the rat race lifestyle will allow you to re-energize and ignite new passions by taking a journey abroad to enjoy a sabbatical or gap year.

Regardless of what stage in life you are, personally or professionally, it’s important to understand the options for a sabbatical or gap year. The first question to answer is whether you plan to quit your job or take the sabbatical/ gap year as part of your employer’s corporate plan, so that you can plan your travel well and make sure to prepare in advance.

What is Sabbatical?

A sabbatical is an extended period of time when an employer agrees with an employee to take a break from work. While many sabbatical opportunities are unpaid, few companies do offer a paid sabbatical. Sabbaticals can range from 30 days to an entire year, but the requirements vary from company to company. 

Once you’ve reviewed the policies and sabbatical packages offered by your employer, it’s important to speak with your supervisor and HR manager to get a clear vision of what the sabbatical plan could be, having all decision makers understand your desires for a sabbatical. 

Requesting a Sabbatical

Presenting a request for a sabbatical can be just as nerve wracking as asking for a job raise, which is why it’s recommended to prepare in advance to showcase that you’ve done your research and won’t leave for a gap year without everything in place. 

During your preliminary presentation to take a sabbatical, be sure to clearly explain your passions and also ask many questions to fill knowledge gaps: 

  • Sabbatical a paid or unpaid leave? 
  • Duration of the sabbatical?
  • When returning to work? 

In addition to the preliminary questions, it’s important to also assess and prepare a plan for your supervisors and managers so they also better understand what will happen in your absence. Think of this process as a way to prepare for your manager. The less work your manager has to do, the easier the process may be. Here are some things to consider: 

  • Hand-off assignments before sabbatical? 
  • Who can resolve issues throughout your absence ?
  • Will you be accessible in case of an emergency? 
  • Reference any colleagues who have also taken a sabbatical (paid or unpaid) 

Once you’ve outlined a strong plan and understand the necessary procedures, it may be easier for you to present your case to take a sabbatical. 

Gap Year 

A gap year is generally taken between an academic period and starting a career path or even between career changes. This year is many times dedicated to having more self reflection on what educational or career path to take, which is very refreshing and a great opportunity to explore new opportunities through global travel. 

Everyone is motivated differently, but many people that take a gap year are motivated to: 

  • Travel the world 
  • Volunteer
  • Get practical career exposure 

Whether you're preparing for a spontaneous gap year or have planned a gap year for a while, it’s good to organize and prepare in advance to ensure you take advantage of the gap year experience. If you need help deciding how to plan your gap year experience, you can quickly set up with an on-demand relocation specialist on our expat moving platform to discuss your gap year goals. 

Benefits of a Sabbatical or Gap Year

There are many health and mental benefits for taking a sabbatical or gap year, and highly recommended if you feel a burnout or need more time to reflect on your life and career path. Here are some of the main benefits for taking a sabbatical or gap year: 

  • Self-reflection
  • Learn a new skill 
  • Find peace 
  • Boost confidence 
  • Gain cross-cultural communication

At the end of the day, your sabbatical or gap year should be an enjoyable time for you to focus on you and your mental and physical health, so instead of taking on too much stress in preparation, we recommend reaching out to our on-demand relocation specialist to begin planning your sabbatical or gap year abroad. Get started on our expat moving platform today.