Study Abroad students

Study Abroad

As an undergraduate student in the Department of Modern Languages you will spend a year abroad as an integral part of your degree.

The Year Abroad can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable aspects of a modern languages degree. It is also one of the major factors that makes languages graduates attractive to employers: negotiating the challenges of a year abroad is seen by employers as proof of adaptability, independence and resourcefulness.

The third year of the Modern Languages Degree is spent abroad, apart from those studying Arabic who spend the second year abroad - find out more on the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies website.  

The Year Abroad is an assessed year and the marks obtained count towards your final degree classification. If you are a beginner in one of the languages (Italian, Russian, Spanish) you are taking and intend to take that language in final year, we strongly recommend you spend the majority of the assessed part of your Year Abroad in the country where that language is spoken. If you would like to arrange the year differently, you should first speak with the Programme Director for your language and/or the Study Abroad Officer.

Ways to spend the year abroad

British Council English Language Assistantship (now part of Erasmus)

An academic year is spent teaching in a primary or secondary school in the country of the language you are studying. During the time you are an English Language assistant you will be expected to work for 12 hours per week in a school that has been allocated to you by the Ministry of Education of the country to which you apply. Your application is passed onto the relevant Ministry by the British Council who in turn has received your application through the University. The application deadline for assistantships is usually 1st December, but the Exeter University internal deadline will be approximately 10 days before that in order to ensure that all applications can be checked before being sent off together to the British Council. The British Council does not accept individual applications for students at university who are applying to be an assistant during their year abroad. The assessment for students who are spending the year abroad as assistants is in the form of a project plus an oral exam taken at the beginning of final year.

Erasmus Study

An academic year spent at one of Exeter University's partner institutions studying courses relevant to your degree and taking exams. The marks awarded are then converted and together with an oral, which you will take at the beginning of your final year will form your Year Abroad Assessment.

Erasmus Work Placements

These are internships with prestigious private companies. Deadlines for applications for these can vary greatly not only between companies but also from year to year. Students are selected for these placements by the companies themselves so again, as with deadlines, the selection process can vary widely. Internships are very rewarding in that they give a student a valuable experience in the work place. However, students applying for one of these should bear in mind that they will have to work much longer hours than they might be used to. They should be aware that holidays can be taken only when their employer allows and also that internships rarely offer remuneration.

As is the case for assistantships, the year abroad assessment for private internships is done by means of a project, begun at the end of second year and built up during the year abroad plus an oral taken at the beginning of final year. The project, details of which our current students can find on the intranet, consists of a portfolio, made up of audits, personal development plans, logs, vocabulary sheets, second language acquisition tasks and a series of final essays. Many of the tasks have to be carried out in the target language. There are two versions of the project, one being the full length project for students who spend their year abroad on one activity and a shorter version for those students who choose to split the year abroad between study and work.

Demand for private internships is high and though Exeter has a number of regular partners, students who wish to arrange their own work placement may be able to do so, subject to approval.

The three ways of spending the year abroad above, all come under the Erasmus umbrella and as such benefit the students participating in two ways: students receive an Erasmus grant which is aimed at helping with mobility costs; they may also be given a fee waiver during the year abroad, however, the latter is currently under review. 

Please note: Erasmus status only applies to students who spend their year abroad within Europe or in those countries that have special European status.

Students who are post A-level (or equivalent) will normally be advised to spend the Year Abroad in the country of their weaker language; this is to ensure that you achieve the best possible level of language competence possible in all the languages named in your degree.

During your time abroad, you will still be registered as an Exeter student and you will be supported in a number of ways. You will retain your personal tutor and will be expected to keep in contact with her/him. You will be able to ask the Study Abroad Officer for advice on any matter and, if needs be, the Study Abroad Officer will visit you and help you sort out any problems you might be experiencing, whether the problem is an are academic one or not. If you are teaching or working as an intern you will also be able to consult the convenor of the Study and Work Abroad module regarding any queries you might have over the content of this module. You will also be in contact with the Year Abroad Guild Representative - a returning final year student elected by the student body to represent and help students on their year abroad.

During your second year, there is an extensive orientation programme to help you choose the best way for you to spend your year abroad.

Demand for private internships is high and though Exeter has a number of regular partners, students who wish to arrange their own work placement may be able to do so, subject to approval.

The three ways of spending the year abroad above, all come under the Erasmus umbrella and as such benefit the students participating in two ways: students receive an Erasmus grant which is aimed at helping with mobility costs; they may also be given a fee waiver during the year abroad, however, the latter is currently under review. 

Please note: Erasmus status only applies to students who spend their year abroad within Europe or in those countries that have special European status.

The Year Abroad in Russia

Students studying Russian will usually be sent to Russia through Russian Language Undergraduate Studies Ltd (RLUS), however, it is sometimes possible to do an internship in Russia. The Year Abroad in Russia is assessed by means of the projects outlined above.

The Year Abroad in Latin America or Canada

Every year a number of students studying Spanish or French decide that they would like to spend their Year Abroad in either Latin America or in French speaking Canada. Students wishing to spend the Year Abroad in Latin America may do so as British Council assistants or as students at our partner universities in Mexico. In a small number of cases it may be possible for students to arrange an internship.  However, internships in Latin America are only allowed if they fulfill the very strict risk assessment procedures demanded by the University of Exeter.

Students who wish to spend the year in Canada can apply to be British Council assistants. We are currently looking into setting up an exchange with a French speaking institution in Canada.

Year Abroad support

A substantial framework of support is in place for students abroad: the Department of Modern Languages, the University and the Guild of Students all play a role in providing appropriate support. This ranges from advice about studying abroad to advice about finances or personal issues.

Students Abroad Representative  

Every year a Students Abroad Representative is elected for the Guild, whose job it is to take care of all Exeter students doing a year abroad. They will ensure that your problems or issues are addressed, that your questions are answered, and that you are kept updated with information about Exeter and the Guild while you are away from the University. The current Students Abroad Rep can always be found on the Students' Guild website, under 'Student Representatives'. 

Facebook group

Past and current Year Abroad Students are welcome to join our Facebook group to connect with others, share advice and photos.

Contact us

For any enquiries about Year Abroad support please contact

Year Abroad Contact

Alice Farris

Email A.Farris@exeter.ac.uk