Planning your year abroad

It’s worth spending some time on planning your year abroad so that you can do something you’ll enjoy and improve your language(s).

Planning your year abroad

Bear the following points in mind while you’re planning:

  • How can my year abroad benefit my overall degree? Will it help with any fourth year modules?
  • How can I best gain language experience and immersion into the culture?
  • Which year abroad option would be best suited to me? (You can teach, study or work)
  • How might I gain useful experience on my year abroad for my future career?

The year should be a positive experience, so it’s important to research all your options and know when different applications and forms are due.

How long will I be away?

This varies between universities, but in general you spend nine months abroad. If you study more than one language, you may be able to split this period between two countries, but this does depend on your universities. If you speak more than one language and can’t split your year abroad, then it’s worth spending time in the other country during summer holidays if you can.


Here’s a rough timeline of how you can plan your year abroad, although this will differ between universities. You need to begin thinking about your year abroad at the beginning of second year and have firm plans by Christmas.

Second year:

October/November: Research where you’d like to go and what you’d like to do. Try contacting students who are currently on their year abroad to get some more information about your options, or have a look at the modules on offer at partner universities if you’re interested in studying. Talk to your family or friends about your ideas and attend talks about the year abroad at university to find out about deadlines for various forms.

End of Semester 1: Applications for Erasmus students and teaching placements will be due now, so you’ll need to have submitted forms with regions or universities you are interested in. If you’re planning on working, you still have time, but you will need to have notified your university of your arrangements and keep them updated on your plans.

Middle/end Semester 2: Work placements need to be finalised. You’ll need to sort out insurance and visas (if necessary).