Now that it's getting close to Thanksgiving, we're running a contest to hear advice you've received that you're most thankful for! This can be any type of advice and the advice with the most reactions will win!
Anything is possible. It all depends on whether or not the school will allow this. Many require a good reason for a LOA and usually travel doesn't count.
There is another concern, if your friend has borrowed money for school. While she is away from school her grace period will pass and she will be expected to make payments sometime during that year off. While the payments will stop when your friend becomes a student again, as soon as she graduates the payments are due again, immediately (there is only one grace period for a borrowed amount).
"Interrupting" your medical education is done at your peril. There is actually a spot on the ERAS form that specifically asks if there has been an interruption. I don't agree that this should necessarily be a "red flag" for residency selection committees, but am just stating the facts. If you interrupt to do research, medically-related travel and study, etc., that can be presented in a very positive light. And some students have taken a year off because of family crises (to care for a sick parent, for instance). But taking time off "to find yourself" or to decide if you really want to be a doctor will be viewed negatively at many programs. I strongly suggest that any student planning to take a year off should talk this over with his/her advisor or with someone in the medical student affairs office. And you should expect that you will need to explain the absence during the residency interview process.