Students enrolled on a four-year degree with the Department of Languages and Cultures will spend their third year abroad, either working, studying or teaching.
The year abroad provides you with an exciting opportunity to gain new skills and experiences, to make new friends, and to put into practice all that you have learned so far. You will get to know another country, its people, and its history, and you will improve your command of the languages you have studied.
Previous students have chosen Austria, Chile, Cuba, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Switzerland for their year abroad destinations. Some have travelled as far as La Réunion in the Indian Ocean.
A year abroad is also a chance to gain independence, nourish academic interests or test career options. It is an opportunity which boosts your graduate prospects. We have a range of placement opportunities worldwide where you can develop globally valued skills, gain new expertise, and enjoy enriching and unforgettable experiences.
Listen to Dani’s experience of the year abroad on Spotify
Boost your career prospects and globalise your CV
In an increasingly international and mobile world, the knowledge and experience of living in another country and the understanding of its cultures and customs are highly desirable. Our students regularly return from their year abroad with a greater sense of self-reliance, adaptability, and confidence, and feel more prepared for life after graduation than those who remained in the UK.
"The year abroad is like a growth spurt! Its challenges and opportunities help students to discover themselves. It's always been fantastic to see how confident they are when they come back.”
Dr Ute Wölfel
Different options for your year abroad
You will spend your year abroad in either one or two countries, depending on the type of degree you select. While you are abroad, you will have the choice of working, studying, or teaching.
We have a wide range of networks and partner universities across the world that give you the opportunity to tailor your year abroad to your interests.
On a work placement
If you are considering using your foreign language skills in the work environment, we recommend spending your year abroad on a work placement.
Recent placements include internships as translator at an international law firm in Milan, Italy; as digital business and website configurator at Audi in Ingolstadt, Germany; and as marketing intern at Oxford University Press’s branch in Madrid, Spain.
Read about Michael's internship in Paris
Studying at a university in another country
We have an extensive network of partner institutions in Austria, France (including La Réunion in the Indian Ocean), Germany, Italy, Spain, and Cuba.
If you choose to spend your year abroad at a university you will be studying alongside local students, giving you the opportunity to pursue special interests in your subject while also boosting your language proficiency and building friendships with your peers.Read about Jess's experience in Spain
The British Council's English Language Assistantship
Each year many of our students seize the opportunity to spend their year abroad working as an English language assistant funded by the British Council.
In this role you have the unique chance to teach English in France, Germany, Austria, Spain, or Italy at a school type of your choice and test your pedagogical creativity. The assistantship is a great way to immerse yourself in a local community and earn a living, too.
Read about Luke's assistantship in Darmstadt, Germany
Preparation for your year abroad
Your year abroad is an integral part of your degree – for lots of students it is the reason they choose to study a language – and you will have the opportunity to start exploring your options from your first year.
Workshops and meetings throughout your second year will provide you with information and guidance on the practicalities, not just of studying or working abroad, but also of day-to-day life there.
The Department offers a wealth of resources, from a work placement database, to talks on CV writing and interview strategies. You can book one-to-one career-focused meetings to help you decide on the best year abroad option for you, and talk to fourth-year students returning from their year abroad.
The preparation and application processes are supported throughout by our year abroad administrator and language-specific co-ordinators.
“The year abroad was honestly the best year of my life. I made some of my closest friends from countries all over the world and had so many amazing experiences. My language massively improved (much more than I thought it would) and it really gave me a sense of feeling European which I think is something that is very important.
"I saw and did so many things and I cannot stress how much I would recommend it!”
Italian and Spanish
Support during your year abroad
While you are abroad, Department and University staff are available to support you. Your academic tutor is a port of call when you need encouragement.
Our dedicated year abroad administrator is there to answer your questions and keep you informed on all administrative processes. We also offer you monthly online catch-ups with the year abroad co-ordinators. If you require additional disability support, the University’s dedicated support services are accessible from abroad, too.
Year abroad assessment
At the end of your year abroad, you will be given a pass/fail mark for the year, which will contribute to your overall degree mark. The assessments vary in format and depend on the kind of placement you pursue.