Year Abroad Opportunities

Picture of Padova, Italy

Studying or Working Abroad

As a Department, we have developed numerous partnerships with universities abroad, which means that you have the opportunity to study in some of the most iconic cities in Europe as well as across the world. Students can study in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Seville and Padova as well as many other universities across Europe. Opportunities are also available for placements further afield, such as in Latin America, Quebec, the French Pacific and Africa.

As a Department, we have developed numerous partnerships with universities abroad, which means that you have the opportunity to study in some of the most iconic cities in Europe as well as across the world. Students have previously studied in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Barcelona and Padova as well as many other universities across Europe. Opportunities are also available for placements further afield, such as in Latin America or Quebec.

If you choose the BA Modern Languages course (where you can combine the study of three languages) or one of our Joint Honours courses involving two modern languages, you will split your time between the countries of the languages studied – for example half in France, half in Spain.

There are also opportunities to apply for a placement via the British Council. Students offered a place on the British Council Language Assistantship scheme are employed as teaching assistants in destinations worldwide. This option provides excellent experience and enables you to earn a salary whilst being immersed in one of the cultures of your chosen language. These are just two of the many options available.

Find out where you can go as a student in the Department of Modern Languages.

Your Year Abroad Options

For the Year Abroad, you can choose from the following options (some restrictions apply):

  • Study placement at one of our partner universities
  • British Council placement
  • Work or Voluntary placement
  • Study placement at a Language School.

Those students studying one language can choose from a combination of these.

Study Placements at Partner Universities

On this option, students can study for one or two semesters at one of our partner universities across Europe or further afield. You’ll be studying your degree subjects through the language, working alongside and socialising with native speakers. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet other exchange students, which often leads to lifelong friendships.

On a study placement, you’ll be able to study a variety of modules related to your degree programme, and you can even take the opportunity to try out something new. For example, many of our students choose to pick up a regional or indigenous language such as Quechua, Asturian or Basque, or another world language such as Chinese, Arabic, Dutch or Russian.

Find out where you can study at our partner universities.

British Council Placements

The British Council offers various opportunities to study, work or volunteer abroad through their programmes. A popular placement for our students is the Language Assistantship programme where you get the opportunity to teach English overseas on a paid placement. Placements are available all over the world so you can travel beyond European destinations. Previous students have taught English in Chile and Quebec. This programme is an excellent way to get a taste of teaching, and to gain valuable career experience and employability skills for your CV.

For further information see:

Work & Voluntary Placements

Another popular option is to choose a work or voluntary placement for your Year Abroad. Again, this option is an excellent way to work in an area that interests you and to gain valuable career experience and employability skills for your CV. Our students take up a wide variety of opportunities and internships, for example: in the leisure and tourism industry; in the education sector; the business and finance sector; as translators; and with NGOs and other charitable organisations. Please see what our students have to say about their Year Abroad experiences for more information on this option and the different types of opportunity available. 

Study placement at a Language School

A popular option with those students who start a language with us ab initio is to spend part of their Year Abroad studying at an accredited Language School in a country of the language of study. Many students find this a good option to help them to consolidate their language skills, find out more about local culture and to interact with other learners. We expect students to follow an intensive programme of study (at least 20 hours p/week) for the equivalent of a university semester. The Department currently contributes to the fees. Some restrictions apply.

Your options and your degree programme

If you are a Single Honours student or a Joint Honours student studying only one language, you will spend the whole of your third year in the country or countries of that language. You can choose a combination of placements and countries, or choose just one extended placement in one country. Restrictions may apply depending on your circumstances.

If you are a Joint Honours student, your placement is usually split between the two languages of study.

If you are a Modern Languages (R990) student studying three languages, your placement is usually split between two of your languages of study. There are options available to allow for a placement in the third language over vacation periods. If you wish to explore this option, please discuss with your Year Abroad tutor.

More information on all of these options is available from your Year Abroad Tutors.

How we support you

Each language in the Department has a dedicated Year Abroad Tutor who helps support our students in making the Year Abroad an enjoyable and successful experience. Throughout your second year, you will be provided with various Information Sessions about the Year Abroad, as well as having the opportunity to discuss your plans with your tutors on an individual basis.

The Global Opportunities Office will also be on hand to talk you through the necessary documentation and help support you in putting everything in place, such as visas (see Changes to Immigration and Visa Requirements), insurance and risk assessments. Organising your year abroad does take a lot of paperwork, but we are here to help ease the process and support you in making the right choices for you!

Every year students returning from the Year Abroad tell us that this has been an unforgettable experience and the highlight of their university career.

Living abroad

Your Year Abroad will likely be the highlight of your time at University. However, just as when you start University, your Year Abroad is going to involve a time of adjustment during which you will learn to understand different cultures, with perhaps unfamiliar social and behavioural rules, signals, values and ideas. Your experience of life abroad will change as time progresses and will also change you.

The Year Abroad can be broken down into three stages:

  1. The Honeymoon period: You've just arrived at your destination, you're excited to explore, see and meet new people, and can’t wait to get stuck in and use the language.
  2. The cold feet period: You might develop a sensation of anxiety and homesickness as time goes on. Don't worry! This is absolutely normal and it is part of your adjustment phase. Some students get this sensation almost immediately while for others it can take a little more time. The important thing to know is that it will pass.
  3. "I could do it all over again": You’ve made friends for life, you have unforgettable experiences that you will treasure forever, and your language skills have improved greatly! You’re beginning to feel like a native.

During the year abroad, it's normal at the beginning to feel that your language skills are being tested to the limit. You may also struggle to understand the local accent, or get over the speed at which your friends, colleagues or even people in general speak. This will all pass. Just remember, don't be shy!

Make an effort to socialise with local people and to always practice the language. Most University towns and cities will have a vast range of facilities so... go to the cinema, join local societies, attend gym classes. Pursuing your hobbies and interests abroad is an excellent way to meet new people and make new friends.

If you would like further information or just tips from those who’ve done it, take a look at these links:


Changes to Immigration and Visa Requirements

The end of the Brexit transition period brought in new changes to immigration rules for UK citizens travelling to or residing in the EU/EEA/Switzerland.

UK nationals are eligible to remain in the EU for no longer than 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. If you intend to stay in the EU for more than 90 days, you will require a visa to stay in your host country. The immigration rules for each of the 27 EU member states will apply (except for Ireland where regulations for the Common Travel Area apply).

The experiences of our students

Erasmus Student Network, Aberystwyth

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is the largest student organisation in Europe and works to support and develop student exchanges and student mobility. The Aberystwyth section developed from the Aberystwyth University Erasmus Society, which was founded in 2013 by a group of students who had returned from their studies abroad. They decided to set up a society so that they could share their experiences and pass on their advice to future students. In addition, they wanted to establish a network for Aberystwyth Erasmus students past, present, and future, as well as for all incoming Erasmus students from across Europe.

ESN Aberystwyth organise regular events and offer you the perfect opportunity to meet students who have come to Aberystwyth on an Erasmus exchange programme or existing students who have perhaps studied or worked in the country where you wish to spend your third year. In addition, it is also a great opportunity to get to know native speakers and to practice the languages you are learning!