Year Abroad

One of the most exciting elements of any degree in Modern Languages is the opportunity to spend your third year abroad, perfecting your language skills, developing a thorough appreciation of another culture and acquiring all manner of transferable skills.

The modern languages year abroad

We have dedicated members of staff to support you with the organisation of your Year Abroad. You will also benefit from our “Insider’s Guide to the Year Abroad” online resource, written by returning students. While you are abroad, you will continue to have a personal tutor, access to Wellbeing services and support from both your Year Abroad Coordinator and the University's Study Abroad and Exchange Office. 

The number of countries you visit will usually mirror the number of languages you are studying. There are a variety of possible ways in which you can spend your Year Abroad, with a combination of studying, teaching, and/or working, as described below.

Studying at a university

Studying at one of our partner institutions in a country where your target language is widely spoken is the most popular choice for the Year Abroad.  We have a large number of partner institutions including France, Belgium, and Canada for French; Austria and Germany for German; Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Chile for Spanish and Portugal and Brazil for Portuguese.

Going to University abroad will enable you to meet people of your own age, from the country you are in but also from all over the world. 

Teaching English

Students studying French, German, Italian or Spanish can also apply to work as a teaching assistant. 

This is a salaried placement of between six and nine months at a school in a country where your target language is widely spoken. This scheme is administered by the British Council.

Work placement

Work Placements are another option available to students, in an increasing number of countries. Students who have secured work placements either independantly or through the Department have benefited from a significant improvement in their language skills, as well as gaining invaluable experience for their future careers. 

We will source a certain number of placements each year to which students can apply, but we will also provide support if you wish to find your own placement. According to the Department’s regulations, any placement should be in an authentic foreign-language-speaking environment and ‘must mirror as closely as possible the demands of a graduate-level position’. Bar work, for example, is not acceptable. 

Examples of recent placements include:

  • a top fashion brand in Italy
  • a European-wide fashion brand based in Dusseldorf
  • a PR agency in France
  • an IT start-up company in France
  • a football magazine in Germany
  • an online fashion retailer in France
  • a translation agency in France
  • a hotel in Chile that is part of a global chain of luxury resorts and hotels
  • a media communications company in Spain

Students are assessed during their year abroad and need to pass it in order to progress to their Final Year.

Vacation course

Vacation Courses are intensive language courses in a summer school abroad. You can join one of these if you are studying two languages and wish to complete a year-long study, teaching or work placement in one of your languages. If you are taking three languages, a vacation course will be compulsory alongside two study or work placements.

Tuition fees when studying abroad

  • Students who are classed as home students for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee.
  • Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee.

Year abroad assessment and weighting

During the year abroad, students studying abroad will be assessed by examination or coursework depending on the modules chosen. Those undertaking teaching or work placements will submit a piece of work related to their experience. Based on the results from that work students will be marked on a pass or fail basis. Any grades awarded during your year abroad will not contribute formally towards your overall degree classification. Your second year will count for 25% and your final year will count 75% towards your degree classification.