Introduction to the year abroad

Just imagine what you can get out of a year spent living abroad! It’s a chance for you to massively improve your language skills, and will help you stand out when you enter the world of work.

As a languages student, you can spend your year abroad doing one of the following:

  • Studying as an Erasmus student
  • Being a teaching assistant
  • Working

What is the year abroad?

If you’re studying languages, you’ll spend a year of your degree abroad in a country where the language you study is spoken. The most important thing about it is spending a number of months completely immersed in another country’s culture, speaking the language every day and having some experience of working and/or studying in the language. Your language skills will dramatically improve, as well as your own self-confidence and independence.

You can spend the year either as an Erasmus student, working as an English language assistant in a school or on a work experience placement that you have found yourself.

Your university will give you information on forms and deadlines, and you can contact your tutors or the international office at your university for more information if you need it.  

What is the point of a year abroad?

"The year abroad helps you to mature both personally and academically and is great for improving your career prospects"

Living abroad for a period of time is a great experience. It will take you out of your comfort zone, but you’ll develop skills and gain experience, as well as improve your independence and self-confidence. The year abroad helps you mature both personally and academically and it also greatly improves your career prospects, as you can show employers that you are independent and organised enough to live abroad.

If you choose to study on your year abroad, you’ll be able to take courses that you might not be able to study at your home university, such as a jazz music module, or a unit on EU politics. You’ll get to meet lecturers with different specialisms and can learn about things from a different perspective.

The year abroad will help you become more culturally aware; by spending a significant amount of time in another country, you’ll understand more about its culture and the people who live there. It will also massively improve your language skills, especially listening and speaking. You’ll be able to pick up on accents and different registers in the language which will prove very useful.

You’ll also get more financial help on your year abroad; grants and/or loans tend to be extended to cover your additional expenses like travel and accommodation. If you study as an Erasmus student, you won’t have to pay tuition fees and if you’re going to Europe, you’ll receive a grant whether you are working or studying.

A year abroad is obviously daunting, but the positives do outweigh the negatives! You’ll meet some lovely new people from all over the world, and have the chance to travel around a new country whilst improving your language skills.