Taking a gap year can be an incredibly rewarding yet nerve-wrecking experience. To help you get started, here are some ways you can make the most of your year-long break – plus they look great on your resume!

#1 See The World

This is the one time in your life that you’re not tied down to a job or school commitments, so get out of your comfort zone and broaden your horizons. Take the time to immerse yourself in the various cultures, interact with the locals and become part of their community. While indulging your wanderlust, you may also want to secure yourself an internship or a side gig in the country. Not only does it help to fund your travel expenses, it’s also a great way to gain global exposure and beef up your portfolio. Even better, it may even open up doors to potential work placements should you decide to stay on!

#2 Get An Internship

Scoring yourself an internship will not just look good on your resume for university and job applications, but also allows you to try out careers you may be hesitant in pursuing. Unlike full-time employees, interns get to start from scratch and work in a more forgiving environment. As an intern, you’ll get to learn the ropes, acquire new skills and gain a broader perspective of your desired field. On top of that, you’ll be introduced firsthand to its culture and etiquette. Internships are also a good opportunity for you to build connections and expand your network in the industry, so remember to present yourself well.

#3 Do The Side Hustle

If you are certain of what you want to pursue as a career, find jobs that are relevant to your ambitions. Getting a full-time job or part-time gig at a well-established company will be incredibly beneficial for your resume as it indicates your interest and experience in the field. Similar to internships, you will gain the vital skills to get your foot in the door of your desired industry while getting to know more about the working environment. However, you should possess basic knowledge of what the job scope entails and be prepared to commit to a longer time frame as a full-time or part-time employee. For starters, here are some side gig ideas you can consider.

#4 Go Freelance

Do you consider yourself innovative and have a spectacular idea up your sleeve? Take the year to bring it to fruition! Whether it’s a self- initiated business startup, a screenplay or a social movement for a meaningful cause, this will serve as a great stepping stone for your future endeavours while highlighting your creativity and drive. Before jumping straight into it, do note that not every venture will be successful on your first try, so be prepared to commit if you want your personal project to gain traction.

#5 Shadow A Professional

Take the initiative to reach out to a working professional in the field of your choice. Shadowing a professional, especially in professions that require a lot of real-world experience, will allow you to learn some tried-and-tested tips from seasoned veterans. A recommendation from a person in their position will go a long way in boosting your chances in university and job applications as well. Moreover, it’s a fantastic way to establish a good relationship with your mentor while making your mark in the industry. However, do note that they’re doing you a favour at the end of the day, so be polite when approaching them and don’t expect a salary.

#6 Kickstart Your Own Project

Do you consider yourself innovative and have a spectacular idea up your sleeve? Take the year to bring it to fruition! Whether it’s a self- initiated business startup, a screenplay or a social movement for a meaningful cause, this will serve as a great stepping stone for your future endeavours while highlighting your creativity and drive. Before jumping straight into it, do note that not every venture will be successful on your first try, so be prepared to commit if you want your personal project to gain traction.

#7 Volunteer For A Cause

If there’s a cause you feel strongly for, dedicate some time to extend your services to organisations that help promote or support it. This could be done overseas or locally, and is usually defined by short-term projects. In this case, the intangible benefits clearly outweigh the pragmatic benefits of a well-rounded CV. If you’ve already taken on a full-time position yet still wish to get involved, you can still choose to o er your help over the weekends – be it helping out at the old folks home, or rolling up your sleeves at a local soup kitchen. Here’s a list of volunteer organisations to check out.

#8 Never Stop Learning

If you’re considering applying to overseas universities, you may want to take certain tests that are widely recognised such as the SATs to boost your application. Likewise, you can pick up a new skill related to your desired field of study to give you a headstart. Skills like coding, data analysis and web development will give you a competitive edge in this day and age, especially with the growing influence of social media – and you can easily sign up for free online courses to help brush up your skillset. As the saying goes, the more you learn the more places you’ll go!

This article was adapted from Teenage Vol.30 Issue 2.

Thinking of enrolling into a private institution? Here are some reasons why seeking a private education may be the choice for you.

#1 Less is more

Prefer learning in a small group setting? A private institution has all the resources you need to help you thrive. Typically, they keep their class size smaller so every student gets a fair amount of attention and guidance from the lecturers, creating a more conducive environment with lesser distractions. Not only does it encourage teamwork and personal growth, this aids in fostering a sense of community as well.

#2 Explore your interests

It’s not all work and no play. Private institutions place a huge deal on making your academic experience as holistic and immersive as possible, so get ready for all the exciting opportunities coming your way. Whether it’s the wide variety of student clubs available or the various activities happening on campus, there are plenty of ways to get involved. It’s a great way to make friends with people with similar interests, and who knows, you might even become professional allies after graduation!

#3 Pick the right setting

It’s important to choose an environment where you can excel academically and fit in socially. Apart from the various factors discussed here, take into consideration the reputation, location accessibility and facilities available as well. No school is one-size- fits-all, so make sure you’re doing it with the big-picture in mind. For instance, it’s clear Kaplan boasts a strong academic core – after all, it’s recognised as the Best Private Education Institution* – but it’s their unique qualities and specialised offerings that really complete your educational experience.

#4 Work hard, study smart

If a full-time degree isn’t an option due to financial reasons, you may want to consider taking up a part time course at a private institution. At Kaplan in Singapore, you can choose to pursue a Bachelor- level programme on a part-time basis. Its curriculum is scheduled to accommodate those who are juggling studies with daytime commitments. Gaining work experience while earning a steady paycheck? Adulting achieved!

 #5 Get industry ready

For those who are eager to enter the workforce after graduation, picking up an industry-relevant certification will give you a headstart in your desired field. Offering a broad range of course offerings across 10 specialised disciplines, Kaplan seeks to equip you with professional skills and knowledge in preparation for your future career. And with more than 25 diploma and over 300 degree programmes** available for you to pursue your interest, there’s no lack of job prospects for you!

#6 Going global, locally

Getting an international certification without having to go overseas is totally possible! Kaplan partners up with prestigious universities such as Murdoch University, Northumbria University and University College Dublin, just to name a few, to offer top-notch degree programmes. This allows you to experience the same quality of education and secure your qualifications in a local setting. The best part? You don’t have to be separated from your loved ones and worry about the hefty expenses of living abroad. Win-win!

*Awarded to Kaplan Higher Education Academy for Marketing and Psychology; Kaplan Higher Education Institute for Accountancy, Business Management and Law by JobsCentral Learning T.E.D. Awards 2017.

**Refers to the Degree programmes at Kaplan in Singapore.

This post is brought to you by Kaplan Singapore.

Find out more about Kaplan’s diverse range of diploma and degree programme offerings here!

Looking to earn some extra pocket money during the June holidays? Instead of rolling around in bed all day (jobless culture, anybody?), here are some unconventional part-time gigs to help you earn easy money on the side with little effort. Don’t say we bojio!

Get Paid To Shop

Sounds like a dream? Well, it sort of is; except you’ll be shopping for someone else. But if you’re looking to indulge in retail therapy, this is definitely the job for you as there are apps like HonestBee that actually pay you to load up your shopping cart. You’ll not only be able to work on a flexible schedule – which means you can choose to shop for your customers after school, over the weekends or during the school holidays – you can even opt to work close to home for convenience. Some apps pay by hourly rates while others pay by the number of items, so do compare the different options available before settling on one.

Free Up Your Luggage

Likewise, if you’re travelling abroad for the holidays and have extra luggage space to spare, consider being a personal shopper for strangers through platforms such as Airfrov and Tompang. Based on your travel location, you’ll be paired up with a shopper who wishes to purchase a particular brand or item that is typically not available in Singapore, such as local snacks, beauty products or newly- launched gadgets. In return, you get to make a decent service fee in exchange for flying back the goods. Earning extra cash while satisfying your wanderlust? Sign us up please!

Run Errands

If you don’t mind running around for errands and patiently braving long queues for that extra buck, sign up for apps like The Butler or LaborMe. Simply complete simple tasks such as buying coffee, delivering lunch and picking up dry-cleaning, and get paid after finishing it. Most of these apps operate on a bidding system whereby you have the freedom of bidding for the type of jobs you want. What’s more, this ad-hoc job lets you state your own rates and work on flexible hours so you can work whenever you want to!

Be A Pet-Sitter

Attention all animal lovers – pet-sitting is actually a job! With apps such as Pawshake and PetBacker, you get paid to be a companion for your new furry friends while their owners are busy or overseas. Duties usually include feeding, cleaning and walking them. Start off by taking on the more short-term jobs that will only last a few hours at most. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can then choose to house-sit over the school holidays if time permits. The best part? You don’t even have to be a pet owner to register as a pet-sitter!

Join A Focus Group

If you’re outspoken and have a few hours to kill, why not participate in a focus group? Essentially, you’re getting paid for your focused feedback on consumer products that often require some tweaking before being released into the market. On top of that, you’ll get to make new friends with whom you share a common interest while expanding your social network. Similar to surveys, some companies may choose to give out cash vouchers instead of dollar bills so be sure to check with your point of contact before applying if you’re particular about that.

Complete Surveys

This would be a great option if you want something that lets you work in your pyjamas all day. All you have to do is give your opinion on certain brands or products via short surveys, and your job is done. However, do keep in mind that most of these companies prefer to pay in terms of shopping vouchers or free samples rather than cash, so you won’t exactly be raking in the ka-ching. It’s also important that you do your research on the company issuing these surveys beforehand to make sure they are credible, before giving out your address, bank account details or other confidential information.

This article was adapted from Teenage Vol.30 Issue 2, out on newsstands now.

More related stories: The Best Paying Part-Time Jobs in SingaporePart-Time Jobs That Will Let You Have Fun While Working12 Jobs Celebrities Had Before They Were Famous

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Get your passports ready, because it’s time for that long-overdue graduation trip to reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve put in for the past years! But instead of simply jet-setting to a faraway destination, why not make your getaway a more meaningful one? Here are some alternative ideas to make the most of your vacation days in the most fulfilling way ever.

#1 Save the animals

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If you happen to be an animal lover, then you’re in for a real treat because there’s a host of international animal welfare projects waiting for you to sign up for! Not only will you be channelling your passion into a worthy cause, you’ll also get to meet like-minded people and interact with all kinds of wildlife creatures, ranging from the cuddliest of mammals to the most exotic of reptiles. Whether you wind up protecting sea turtle nests in Mexico or rescuing wildlife in Armenia, there’s nothing more heartwarming than helping these precious animals get better lives.

#2 Nurture new generations

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If you have a flair for reading and writing, you may wish to travel to places where English isn’t their first language such as Japan or Hong Kong, and volunteer to teach the kids there. Being equipped with the necessary skills to communicate in English will be incredibly useful for their future, allowing them to venture out of their country and seek greater opportunities in the future. What’s more, your heart will be warmed knowing that you have helped these little ones gain a lifelong skill!

#3 Follow your (he)art

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For all the budding artists out there, travelling to a new destination is the best time to put your creativity to the test. Make the best out of your newfound freedom by using your voice to shoutout for a good cause. For instance, you can support independent art scenes by visiting their galleries, or participate in art shows that help fund research to fight diseases such as cancer and AIDS. In addition, you can aid in promoting these businesses by spreading the word on social media, so as to encourage your fellow graduates to follow suit. Once you’ve step out of your comfort zone, you’ll find that there are no limits to your artistic endeavours!

#4 Check in, help out

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Many modern hotels are beginning to adopt methods of sustainable tourism – a campaign that has become crucial in light of our ailing resources. From luxury hotels to chic boutique hotels, some of these establishments have pledged to use eco-friendly products and contribute a portion of their profits to charity. This way, you’ll feel less guilty lounging on plush sofas by the pool or ordering extravagant room services, because you’ll know that whatever you spend will find its way back to the less fortunate.

#5 Get in touch with nature

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While living in the bustling concrete jungle is exciting, we are often so caught up in our own realities that we forget to appreciate the simple things in life. Farm stays in rural spots like Melborne and Perth will provide you with boundless opportunities to give back to the environment whilst enjoying a slower pace of life. You may be tasked with chores such as picking apples, milking cows and sowing seeds. Besides helping to support agriculture businesses, this little getaway will allow you get back in touch with nature and stop to smell the roses (maybe even literally).

#6 Run for a purpose

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Now that you’ve graduated, you’re finally able to embrace being young, wild, and free. And what better way to celebrate your youth by participating in a cross-country marathon with your BFFs? If you’ve always enjoyed the thrill of adventure, this would be the perfect way to unwind while doing it for a cause. Bored of jogging along the same old parks in Singapore? Gather your squad and head to scenic places like New Zealand or Europe for a more refreshing charity run experience!

#7 Rebuild lives

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Lend a helping hand to organisations that aim to rebuild homes for families whose houses have been destroyed by war or natural disasters. If you’re a first-timer, fret not – you can start by searching for outreach programmes in third-world countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, and then sign on with the organisation that has a vision that speaks to you the most. Not only will you come to appreciate your home, you’ll also get the satisfaction of seeing the fruits of your labour at the end of it all.

Image credits: Pexels

This article was adapted from Teenage Vol.30 Issue 2, out on newsstands now.

More travel related stories: 6 Unconventional Internships That Will Allow You To Travel AbroadItinerary Ideas For Your Week-Long Grad Trip (Part 1)Itinerary Ideas For Your Week-Long Trip (Part 2)

With 28,000 followers on Instagram and an up-and-coming name in the Wah!Banana YouTube family, local actress Sofia Dendroff seems to lead a picture-perfect life – but there’s a lot more to Insta-fame than what meets the eye.

While the Internet culture has created a platform for people to openly express their opinions, it has inevitably given rise to an army anonymous keyboard warriors lurking behind their screens. Sofia is no stranger to the damaging effects of cyberbullying, having suffered her fair share of malicious comments through the years. But she is ready to speak up for justice, using her voice to advocate for cyber wellness as part of the Better Internet Campaign 2018. In a no-holds-barred heart-to-heart with Teenage, the social media darling opens up about online harassment and shares her personal tips on how to rise above the negativity.

Hi Sofia! How did you get involved with the Better Internet Campaign?

I’m with a YouTube channel called Wah!Banana, thus I had the chance to be part of this campaign through them. But after hearing more about it, it resonated a lot with me as I’ve gone through cyberbullying myself. I felt like I had a story to tell. I feel like people who are going through cyberbullying tend to feel that they have no voice – and I guess using somewhat of my influence, to speak up about it and share my experience, might help them to get through it as well.

 

So I had the privilege to be on the Media Panel for the Better Internet Campaign 2018. A campaign promoting cyber wellness. Something I feel very strongly about as I’ve gone through Cyber bullying myself back when I was 18 and a blogger. Being on the media panel and sharing my story with everyone in the room only reminded me how much I wished I had handled the situation differently. I didn’t know who to talk to back then. We live in a world today where technology is everywhere and is a part of our lives. It’s important that the younger generation and parents today are aware that Cyber bullying is a very real problem. It could happen to you or someone you know. So it’s crucial that in the event it does, you’d know what to do. #SID2018 #SaferInternetDay​ ​#BetterInternetSG

A post shared by Sofia Dendroff (@sofiadendroff) on

People tend to underestimate the effects of cyberbullying. Are there any stigmas you would like to set straight?

I think that cyberbullying isn’t something that people should take very lightly because just like physical bullying, cyberbullying can be just as damaging as it really messes with a person’s emotions and their psyche. Especially since we’re living in the digital era, you can just throw out a negative comment to someone without thinking it could actually hurt them when you’re hidden behind an online persona. If you’re someone who’s being harassed, you should never feel ashamed or embarrassed about going through it – speak to someone about it. You’re not alone in this.

What’s the nicest and meanest comment you’ve ever received?

People can be really nice you know? (Laughs) Sometimes you get so taken aback because you don’t expect strangers to be so kind, but they exist! Just people saying how I inspired them, helped them to get through hard times and all. I’m always very grateful and I hope to be a good role model as best as I can.

When I got my first acting gig in Malay, I remember having this anonymous blogger slamming me in his/her blog – saying how my Malay was terrible, I couldn’t act etc. It really hurt my feelings at that time, but I used that negativity to spur me on to improve myself. I made sure to practice Malay every single day, and sit down for hours going through my script.

How do you deal with the negativity?

At first, it didn’t go very well. It was a difficult point of my life because I just didn’t understand why I was getting all this hate. It affected my love for blogging and I ended up shutting down my blog. I started doubting myself and stopped myself from fully chasing my dreams of becoming a radio DJ as I felt like I wasn’t confident enough. Through time and a lot of self-growth, I started to love myself and decided I need to live the best life that I possibly can. I know that at the end of the day, if I don’t try, I’m going to be the one who’s feeling sorry – not the haters. It was tough, but I did it anyway!

 

A post shared by Sofia Dendroff (@sofiadendroff) on

What made you overcome your fears and gave you the confidence to be the Sofia Dendroff we know today?

I read a lot of self-help books! Right now, I’m reading this book called ‘How To Calm Yourself In A Busy World’ by Hyemin Sunim. I feel like if you surround yourself with positive vibes, you’ll think positive too. If you’re struggling with self-esteem issues, don’t be afraid to seek refuge in a self-help book and be inspired by their words. They’ve helped me, and they could help you too. 

Who’s your greatest role model in life?

I really like Ellen DeGeneres. She’s such a sweet, kind and genuine soul, and at the same time, she’s very confident in what she does. I don’t know how she can host a talk show in front of thousands, especially at the Oscars. I hope that I can be just like her one day, but for now, I’m still a work in progress.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learnt from your personal experiences?

You’re a lot braver than you think you are. It’s scary in the beginning, but if you actually push yourself to do something, you’ll realise that the only thing that’s stopping you are the thoughts in your head. It all comes down to self-love; if you believe you’re not what people say you are, everything gets a lot simpler. Don’t let it get to you – ignore the naysayers and work on loving yourself. It’s your life, who cares what other people think?

What kind of changes do you hope to see at the end of this campaign?

I hope that people can be more thoughtful of what they say and have more empathy for others. Like come on, we’re a team! We shouldn’t bring each other down; we should be there for one another. If you’re not doing it for the other person, do it for yourself and make yourself a better human being.

 

A post shared by Sofia Dendroff (@sofiadendroff) on

Lastly, what’s a word of advice you would like to give people who are going through cyberbullying?

I think it’s very important to have a support system. Confide in someone you can trust, be it a friend, a counsellor or a teacher. Of course, if you’re getting very mean comments, always save the evidence of whatever that’s hurled at you, report the message and get the other party blocked immediately.

If you or know someone who is going through cyberbullying, please seek help at TOUCH Byber Wellness (1800 377 2252), Coalition Against Bullying for Children and Youth (6223 3122, [email protected]or Community Health Assessment Team (6493 6500/6493 6501, [email protected]).

For more tips and resources, visit the Better Internet Campaign 2018 website.

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