What are your options for the year abroad?

There are three options for your year abroad: studying as an Erasmus student; being a teaching assistant or finding a work placement. There are positives and negatives for all of these and the different options suit some people better than others, so whilst working in a school may be brilliant for one student, that doesn’t mean it is for everyone.

Here are some of the pros and cons of the different options:

Studying

"It's a great way of meeting locals and improving your language"

Pros

  • You can study modules that you wouldn’t usually be able to at your home university
  • You can meet lots of new people from all over the world
  • It’s a great way to experience student life in a different country
  • You experience the educational culture of another country
  • It’s a good way to meet local students and improve your language

Cons

  • It’s another year of university – you may prefer to have a break from studying for a year
  • It can be tempting to stick with other English speaking international students
  • Many students and lecturers may want to practice their English, so be stubborn and insist on speaking your target language

Teaching assistantship

"It's a break from university if you'd like a year without studying"

  • You’ll work 12 hours a week, which gives you a lots of time to travel and visit friends
  • As well as receiving an Erasmus grant, you’ll also get paid. Whilst the salary changes from year to year, it’s plenty for you to live comfortably while you’re abroad
  • It’s a break from university if you’d like a year without studying
  • You can pick up slang from pupils
  • It’s good experience if you’re considering becoming a teacher

Cons:

  • You may not get your preferred destination, especially if it is a popular choice amongst language students; you could end up in a remote area
  • This is a serious job with contracted hours
  • It can be harder to make friends, especially if you’re in a more remote area. However, you’ll meet people on assistantships in your area who you can meet up with

Work placement

Pros:

  • This is great experience for your CV
  • You can try and get experience in an industry you’re interested in working in after university
  • You’ll be meeting lots of native speakers
  • You’re plunged into speaking, listening, reading and writing in your target language
  • It could lead to further employment after you finish your degree

Cons:

  • You’ll probably be working a 35-40 hour week and will be expected to perform like any other employee
  • It can be tricky finding a placement and accommodation
  • It might be difficult to socialise outside of work