After the Covid-19, these young people plan to leave everything for a sabbatical year

After the Covid-19, these young people plan to leave everything for a sabbatical year

TRAVEL - They need a change of scenery. For more than a year, young people have been on the front line in the face of the health crisis. An age group sadly called “the sacrificed generation”, which had to face distance courses, a clogged job market, a shaken social life.

As such, some were feverishly waiting for this Wednesday, June 16, the date on which the additional phase on Parcoursup begins for those with pending or refused wishes. While other young people have decided that their lives will take a different turn.

For the start of the new school year, some plan to take a break from their studies, to quit their job, or even to work in heavenly conditions... All have the same goal: to travel to the other side of the world.

A sabbatical year that will allow these young people to discover new horizons and to distance themselves, as best as they can, from the current health context. Sacha, Selma, Guillaume and Astrid tell us about their adventure plans, if the restrictions linked to Covid-19 allow it.

“Leaving far away, without a return ticket”

This year, there was no Parcoursup for Sacha. After obtaining his baccalaureate, the young man plans to tour the Asian continent accompanied by his best friend, Robin. A “long-standing” and “well thought out” project.


“It’s simple, we want to go far, without a return ticket. Studies will wait,” he told HuffPost. His parents, meanwhile, do not seem thrilled by this travel plan. "They think I'm too young to leave." At 18, Sacha is certain that he is mature enough to discover the world.

The list of destinations established by the two young men, originally from Tours, would make more than one dream: China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Nepal... A well-drawn itinerary which remains flexible according to their desires. Because, it is not a question of depriving oneself. “We have money set aside for this project. With the health crisis, we have had a difficult year. Distance learning courses, lack of social life, confinement...”, he recalls.

After Covid-19, these young plan to leave everything for a sabbatical year

Sacha has always wanted to leave France, once he has finished his baccalaureate. “When I see my classmates struggling on Parcoursup... It doesn't make me dream. Me, what I dream of is to travel, to discover new cultures, new faces... To live, what!”, he concludes. Projects very different from the majority of future graduates, who plan to enter higher education.

“Subway, work, sleep… That’s not life”


Unlike Sacha, going abroad was not Selma’s first option. What she wanted to do was a master's degree in journalism. ”I had been reviewing the competitions for months to succeed in integrating one of these schools. Unfortunately, I was not eligible. It will be for next year, I hope!”, she tells HuffPost.

While waiting to try her luck again, Selma plans to travel to South America, “a childhood dream”. The big departure would take place in December 2021, so that she could raise enough money in the previous months. “In any case, it will not be a luxury trip. It will be in “backpack” mode, with the bare minimum”, predicts the 21-year-old young woman.

His parents, like Sacha's, aren't keen on the idea. “They watched the series The Serpent, so they are not really reassured to know that I am alone, on the other side of the world. But that decision is mine,” concludes Selma. According to her, this trip will also be an asset for her next master's applications. “When I try my luck again, I could talk about my journey and put it on my CV. That's a plus!”, she rejoices.

For his part, Guillaume is far from thinking about the experiences to add to his CV. If he decided to pass the course of the sabbatical year, it is, in part, “thanks” to the health crisis. “I had an electric shock. A year ago, I wanted to evolve in the Parisian start-up in which I worked. A very original project for the future!”, he jokes. Now the 26-year-old resigned in April and plans to leave France for Canada. "It's my first destination, after that, I don't know where I'll go. The project is to refocus on the real priorities of life. Happiness, in my opinion”.

A radical change born in the era of Covid-19. “This sad pandemic made me change the vision I had of the world. I realized that I did not want this daily life as a 'model employee'. Subway, work, sleep... That's not life”, he confides to us. Guillaume leaves his professional projects on hold for the moment, but will start his new life, in September, abroad.

Working, yes, but abroad

Astrid does not draw a line under work. The young woman has just obtained her nursing diploma. “I did many internships in hospitals during my training, with a mode of operation that did not always suit me. The context of the health crisis has not helped, quite the contrary”, she tells HuffPost.

Since her first year at school, Astrid has kept the same goal in mind: to leave the metropolis once she has graduated. The 24-year-old is therefore preparing to realize her dream by leaving to work in Tahiti, “as soon as possible”.

“It’s an incredible destination, the ideal place to work, while feeling like you’re on vacation. In addition, my boyfriend follows me in this adventure, it reassures me a lot”, she adds. For the moment, Astrid does not plan a return date, she just wants to find a job on site and practice her profession in the best possible conditions.

Also read on Le HuffPost: Fail your Baccalaureate: pass your “gap year”

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Esther Suraud