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School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Year Abroad Practicalities

The third year of the degree course for the BA in Modern Languages must be spent abroad, in the country (or countries) where any main language that you intend to continue studying in your final year is spoken. You will receive advice about which countries to go to and how long to spend there.

Those studying French, German, Italian or Spanish are encouraged to consider going as an English language assistant to a school; we help you to apply for this scheme, which allows you to earn a decent salary in return for teaching up to 12 hours a week for the full school year (six to nine months). You will also be entitled to an Erasmus grant with this type of placements. In-house training workshops are organised every year for the students undertaking English Language assistantship placements.

Students can also undertake Erasmus study placements for one semester or for the full academic year. Some of them, sharing their Year Abroad in 2 different destinations can apply to undertake 2 Erasmus study placements.

The Department of French has currently has ERASMUS exchanges with 10 French and Belgium universities covering a wide range of key locations, including the prestigious Sorbonne IV and Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle institutions.

The German department currently has exchanges with the Universities of Tübingen, Köln, Freiburg, Regensburg, Konstanz, Erlangen and Heidelberg in Germany and Bern in Switzerland.

The Department of Hispanic Studies currently runs ERASMUS exchanges with the Universities of Alcalá de Henares, Granada, Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Cadiz, Lugo, La Laguna, Vigo and Salamanca, which allow for a period of study of either a semester or a full academic year. Agreements of various kinds are also being negotiated with other universities in Spain and Latin America.

The Department of Italian currently has ERASMUS exchanges (including staff teaching exchanges) with the Universities of Bologna (for postgraduate students), Catania, Florence, Genoa, Modena, La Sapienza in Rome and Siena Università per Stranieri.

Alternatively, we can also help you apply to spend an academic year in a foreign university as a private study placement. The School will help to cover the cost of fees for students of Russian or Arabic on full-time study for a full academic year. For students of Russian there is a wide variety of courses in Russia ranging from one month to a year. Currently we have agreements with universities in Tomsk, St Petersburg and Moscow.

Students doing Arabic are always advised to go to universities or other similar Higher Education institutions and currently students are attending institutions in Jordan and Morocco.

During your second year, there will be School and departmental Year Abroad meetings organised to help you prepare your Year Abroad. Duo, our University intranet network will provide you with a lot of information and multimedia facilities to get information from all sorts of institutions, including contacts with the students being abroad and the final year students willing to share their experience abroad.

You may make any other arrangements for your year abroad providing they are acceptable to the School, including taking a job if you are able to find one. We cannot undertake to find you employment abroad, but we have built up a considerable file of positions our students have filled, and some help is available from the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre.

In recent years an increasing number of students have been undertaking work placements abroad in various types of small, large and medium-sized companies, and the School, through the language departments, is encouraging students to take this option and help them in their applications. Totally immersing yourself in a working environment in the target language country will enable you to interact and communicate effectively in the language you will continue to study in your final year. This is what Year Abroad work placements are about and more and more Year Abroad students in MLAC are taking this option. Currently, for work placements of at least 2 months, undertaken in companies located in EU countries, it is now possible to apply for an Erasmus grant. You may organise your Year Abroad with 2 or 3 work placements in different countries.

In order to validate your Year Abroad as part of your degree studies, the School of Modern Languages and Cultures has developed a centrally managed Year Abroad Assessment programme, which is suitable for all Year Abroad students, whatever they do and wherever they are during their Year Abroad, the Target Language Research Project [TLRP]. If you have any questions about the TLRP requirements, please contact Dr Penelope Johnson.

If you have any questions regarding what you could potentially do as part of your Year Abroad, please contact Mr Roger Ravanelli, the MLAC School Year Abroad Co-ordinator.