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Going abroad during your degree

Going abroad during your degreeGoing abroad isn't just an exciting experience: it can boost your CV and improve your chances of a job overseas when you graduate.

Courses with a year abroad

Some courses have study abroad built in. This is most common on language courses and vocational subjects with a strong international element, such as engineering. These will normally be four-year courses, with one year spent abroad, and often have 'with year abroad' or 'with international travel' in the name of the course.

Study abroad programmes

If you're on a course that doesn't include a year abroad, you might still be able to spend some time abroad. However, what's available will depend on your university and on the particular course you are studying. If your course is accredited by a professional body, it might be particularly difficult to go abroad because of the material you need to cover to get accredited.

If you know if you want to spend time abroad, check in advance whether it will be possible on the course you're applying for.

Year in industry

If your course includes a year in industry, you might be able to do this abroad. This may be more challenging, as your university is less likely to have existing links with companies abroad and employers will be less forgiving of language problems.

Organizations like the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) can help you find a placement, or you can approach employers directly. Make sure that you confirm your university's approval of the placement before applying.

The cost of studying abroad

Normally, you won't pay tuition fees to the university you go to abroad - only to your home university. The fees you pay to your home university may be reduced, and you'll still be able to pay for them with the tuition fee loan.

You'll receive a slightly larger student loan to help with the extra costs of studying abroad, and you might also get help with your travel costs, depending on your circumstances. You may also be able to get a grant or scholarship from your university.

If you study in Europe, you'll normally be able to get the Erasmus grant to help with your costs. How much you get depends on where you go and for how long.

Other things to consider

  • You'll need to sort out visas and other parts of the immigration process. Exactly what this involves will depend where you are going, but it's likely to be much simpler if you stay within the EU.
  • A year abroad will add a year on to your degree, so you'll move to employment later and probably won't graduate with the rest of your year.
  • You'll probably have the extra challenge of a language barrier, which can be particularly different if you're trying to study.
  • You'll meet lots of new people - but you'll have to work a little harder to keep in touch with your friends from home.

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