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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Spending part of your degree course abroad

Whether it’s studying the aurora in Norway or music in Vienna, spending time abroad as part of your degree can give you an international perspective and help you to stand out from the crowd when it comes to applying for jobs.

Why study abroad?

Studying abroad represents an incredible opportunity to broaden your horizon, get a new perspective on your subject and gain experience and skills that are valued by employers.

Employers are increasingly looking for people with experience of living abroad, cultural awareness and knowledge of another language.

Spending time abroad will also help demonstrate that you are adaptable and willing to take on a challenge.

If you’re thinking about studying abroad, your options are to:

  • do a whole degree course abroad
  • study abroad as part of your UK degree

Doing your degree with an overseas university

There’s plenty to think about if you’re considering doing a full degree course abroad - finding the right course and getting the funding together for a start.

See ‘Studying at an overseas university’ for more information.

Studying abroad as part of a UK degree

Most universities offer students the opportunity to spend a semester or year studying or working abroad, either through an exchange agreement with a university overseas or through a dedicated scheme.

Although you will usually spend time studying abroad if you are taking a language degree, remember that studying abroad isn’t just for language students.

In fact, many European universities offer an increasing range of courses in English, so you may not even have to speak a foreign language (although, of course, learning the language will help you in everyday life).

For more help and advice on all aspects of studying abroad, visit the pages for UK students studying abroad on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

The Erasmus scheme

Under the Erasmus scheme (part of the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme), you can study for part of your degree in one of 30 other countries across Europe.

You will receive a grant from the EU and, if you stay for a year (at least 24 weeks excluding weekends and the usual holidays), you won’t have to pay UK tuition fees for that year.

You may even find that studying abroad is cheaper than studying in the UK - living costs are lower in many countries around Europe. For more information about the opportunities available, visit the Erasmus website - or contact the Erasmus co-ordinator at your university or college.

The IAESTE scheme

Organised by the British Council, the IAESTE scheme helps give science, engineering and applied arts undergraduates training experience abroad relevant to their studies.

Most placements are for 8 to 12 weeks, between June and September.

University-run schemes

Many international study options - for example, in the US, Australia and outside the EU - are based on two-way arrangements between particular universities and colleges.

To find out about options available to you, contact the International Office or Study Abroad office at your college or university.

Academic recognition for your studies abroad

If you do spend time in another EU country as part of your UK degree, your studies should receive full academic recognition from your home institution under the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

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