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If you've been thinking of taking a semester off or even a year between high school and college or college and career, you are not alone. Taking a gap year is a hot topic, and since we've talked to students from all over the world who've chosen to do YWAM for their gap experience, we want to help you plan your gap year the right way.

1. IS A GAP YEAR EVEN THE RIGHT DECISION FOR ME?

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So how do you know if a gap year is right for you? Start by asking yourself a few simple evaluation questions. 

Am I confident in knowing God's will for the next season of my life?

Do I know my purpose?

Am I at peace with who I am? 

I know these are big questions. I've talked with hundreds of young people who are asking themselves these questions. The good news is you can find the answers. It does take intentionality, and a gap year allows you to carve out space and time in your life's journey to focus on finding these answers. 

If you've answered no to any of these three questions, then a gap semester or year is a great idea to consider. 

The Discipleship Training School (DTS) at YWAM Tyler is designed to help you discover these answers by focusing on your faith in God, your character development, and your identity in Christ. Many have found their God-given purpose through this training.

If you're thinking this might be for you, then we need to talk about the elephant stomping around in the room called FOMO, which is the fear of missing out. He's a debilitating animal for many.

When you decide to do your DTS, you'll be coming to Texas while your friends might do something else. You'll end up on a plane heading to the nations, while some of your friends start college. When others are taking on jobs, you'll be helping those in need. It takes courage to do something different. "You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will happen." (quote from We Bought A Zoo). 

I love to hear the stories of students who decided to do something brave and experience all that God has for them. They've overcome FOMO and have found answers to some deep questions in life. The following link holds a few stories I hope will encourage you in this gap year decision.

DTS is an experience you'll never forget!

Your Gap Year DTS experience begins with a 3 month lecture phase. During this time you'll focus on your faith, live in community, and discover your purpose. Finding the optimal time to start this journey is really up to you. A new DTS begins every quarter and we'd love to help coach you through the process.  

 

2. DO I WANT TO TRAVEL WITH PURPOSE?

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There are plenty of ways to get out of the house and travel the world, but will you come home with more than just an Instagram wall full of cool photos?

If you've already Googled some travel opportunities, undoubtedly you found trips from two weeks and longer. I've glanced at many of those opportunities, and I still come back to the big question, "What's the point?"

You will find traveling with a YWAM Tyler DTS truly is "traveling with purpose." We are very serious about going to places to share good news with those who need to hear hope. We've traveled to remote areas of Mexico to help improve cooking methods with our mud-brick oven technology for indigenous people groups. We've served refugees in Greece, helped children in Zambia, evangelized across Europe, and performed dramas throughout East Asia. Every story from outreach brings a sense of fulfillment and a desire for more. 

Meeting people from distant lands and praying for them in meaningful ways is definitely something that will mark your life forever. I can recall names and faces of people I've talked with, prayed with, and served over the years of traveling to new places in the world. I'm so grateful and blessed. 

The joy of traveling with YWAM is enhanced by the team you travel with as well. Just name a place in the world, and there's a real good chance we've been there and might be going there again. 

Check out some outreach stories by searching "outreach" right here on our blog page or watch videos on our YouTube channel and Facebook page. I'm sure they will encourage you. 

The DTS provides 2 solid months of missions. We like to call this the "Outreach Phase." During this time your friendships deepen as you serve others as a team. Overall, the DTS is 5 months long, and most of our start times can work well in conjunction with furthering your education through missionary endeavors.

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Okay ... so that's it. Just two questions to really consider. If you answer yes to either of those questions, don't waste another minute thinking about this decision. Be brave and learn more about this amazing opportunity. 

Learn more today about all your options for a Gap Year at YWAM Tyler. We talk to students everyday about this and would love to chat with you to answer any questions you might have. 

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Richard Fish

Author: Richard Fish

Richard blogs with the YWAM Tyler writing team and currently serves in Student Communications at the Twin Oaks campus in Garden Valley, Texas.