Studying abroad is a great way for you to gain independence, have new experiences and boost you CV. It is becoming more and more popular in the UK and there are many different ways that you can go about it. There are options to study at some of the world’s best universities, all around the globe, from as little as three months to as much as three years.
Doing a Degree Abroad:
Many students are now choosing to do their degree abroad rather than in the UK. There are many reasons for this but perhaps the most prominent is the cost. Whereas before, studying abroad was a luxury, it can now actually save money. Degrees in countries like Holland, Sweden and Australia cost up to a third less than they do in the UK and in other countries, like Germany, Norway and Finland there are no tuition fees at all.
Furthermore, international study can really boost a CV and help you to stand out from the crowd. You don’t even need to speak another language to study abroad - outside English speaking countries, some universities are run entirely in English, such as those in Sweden and Holland, and others have courses taught completely in English.
Having said this, there are a few downsides. If fees are required, they will not be covered by student loans and may need to be paid up front. Furthermore, it can be harder for both you and employers to understand a university’s reputation.
Doing a Degree with an In-Built Year Abroad:
Many degrees, predominantly those including a modern language, require you to spend a year abroad as part of their programme. This year will usually take place between the second and third years of study and will mean that the degree is extended to four years. During this year, you may be either studying at a partner institution or working the country of their choice. With these types of courses, you will have applied knowing that you will spend a year abroad, and will note on UCAS and university prospectuses that it takes an extra year to complete the course.
This can be an excellent way to build in foreign study, without committing to doing an entire degree abroad. You can boost your CV, improve your language skills and maybe even gain some work experience but still benefit from being a part of the UK university system. Because it is a part of your course, you can also be assured that the programme of study in the partner university will be beneficial to their degree as a whole. Finally, because other people on your course will have the same degree structure you can also ensure that not all your friends will have left when you return for their fourth year.
Studying Abroad through Erasmus + or Partner Institutions:
The majority of university courses allow you to apply to study abroad for between three months to one year. You can study abroad at any time during your degree (except first year) although it will depend on the structure of your degree and the arrangement your university has with its partners. Most students will study for either a semester abroad in their second year or a year abroad in their third year extending your undergraduate degree to four years.
There are various programmes that place students from all disciplines in universities around the world, the largest of which is known as Erasmus + and is run by the EU Commission.
Erasmus + places students in universities in one of 32 countries in Europe. To enter onto Erasmus + you'll will need an average first year grade of 60% or higher for most courses. One of the main benefits of Erasmus + is that there is an in-built funding programme meaning students of any background can chose to go abroad.
As well as Erasmus + many universities run their own exchange programme with partner institutions outside of Europe. Exchanges with these institutions may be more competitive as there may be a set number of places for your university. They may also be more expensive as there’s no funding to support students - although your university may provide financial support in the form of scholarships. You may also find that, studying at an institution on the other side of the world, the academic year may begin in January rather than September and that material will be repeated.
Studying abroad on either of these programmes is an excellent way for you to boost your CV and gain a new experience without drastically altering your degree programme. It may cause some issues with housing, as contracts usually last one year however, by applying through the university, you can ensure that you have support with any issues such as language, housing and applications.