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Year Abroad for Language Majors
The year abroad makes a major contribution to your command of language, while deepening your intercultural sensitivity.
Employers value the varied skills that students gain during years abroad, such as maturity, self-efficacy, communication skills, and coping strategies. Indeed, the year abroad is one of the qualities that makes modern languages graduates so sought-after by employers both in the UK and further afield.
If you are studying for a Major or Combined Major degree in European Languages and Cultures you will spend your third year abroad in a country where the language you are studying is spoken. This exciting opportunity is an integral and assessed part of all Lancaster language courses. You can spend the year abroad as:
Working abroad as an English-language assistant
An assistantship scheme allows young British students to teach English in a French, French-Canadian, German, Austrian, Spanish, Mexican or Italian state school. It provides a well-paid job with lots of guidance and time for personal study. It can be recommended even to students who do not feel that teaching is their ultimate vocation. The majority of our students apply for one of the British Council Assistantships, whereas we also have a number of students who apply for the Comenius Assistantship. The Year Abroad Committee will advise each student which of these is appropriate for him/her.
We are sometimes in a position to offer other types of work placement, although their availability cannot be guaranteed, and we will consider seriously any proposal you come up with yourself.
We have partnerships with a range of carefully selected universities in European countries and Mexico where you can spend all or part of an academic year.
You will be given then fullest possible guidance and information to choose which type of year abroad suits your circumstances and interests best. Preparation is integrated into the second year programme and starts as early as week 2 of autumn term, culminating in an intensive week-long training course in summer term. The Year Abroad Preparatory Course, devised and taught within the Department of European Languages & Cultures, has attracted national recognition as being one of the first and best of its kind. It includes workshops and guidance on such aspects as teaching English, studying abroad, project work, careers, finances, dealing with officialdom, cultural adaptation, plus tips on how to enjoy yourself and make a success of your year abroad.
One country or two?
If you are studying a single language, or following a Combined Major with another subject that is not a language (e.g. German & History, French & Music), you will spend the whole academic year in one country.
If you are taking a Combined Major in two languages you may choose to divide the year between two countries. However, should you wish to work in a single country instead, we encourage you wherever possible to spend time during the summers in a country where your other language is spoken.
If you are taking the three-language Combined Major scheme in Modern Languages you must split the year between two countries. Students continuing with all three languages into the final year are encouraged to make their own arrangements to spend vacation time in the third country.
Please note that for students opting to spend the year as language assistants it is not always possible to divide the year between two countries. The Year Abroad Committee will be able to advise on each student’s particular circumstances and intentions.
Combined Major Music students
Together with the Music Department, the Department of European Languages & Cultures at Lancaster has agreements with the Université Lumière Lyon 2 and the Universidad de Granada. These agreements enable combined major students in French Studies and Music to attend Music classes, as well as language classes at the Université Lumière Lyon 2, and to take part in ensembles. Spanish Studies and Music students may attend Music classes, as well as language classes, at the Universidad de Granada.
The way that you are assessed while you are abroad depends on what you choose to do (teach, study, work in a company etc.). All students have to write an extended essay in the target language(s) they are studying during their Year Abroad, the length of which depends on the structure of the period of residence abroad. The essay will increase your knowledge and understanding of aspects of the culture(s) in which you have spent your period of residence abroad and advance your proficiency in writing in the language(s) concerned.
Currently, students on any type of year abroad within Europe have Erasmus status and do not pay any fees to Lancaster University or make any tuition payments to overseas institutions. As a supplement to this, Socrates-Erasmus grants are allocated to students who study or work in Europe, through the international office at Lancaster University. The availability of the fee waiver and the Erasmus grants are reviewed each year and these details have been confirmed up until the year 13/14 abroad.
This does not include non-EU citizens or students who work or study outside Europe, who must pay half the full-time fee during their year abroad and are not eligible for a grant.
Loans for the year abroad are available as normal.
From 14/15 all study and work abroad placements (i.e. Erasmus and non-Erasmus, EU and non-EU) will incur a tuition fee that is 15% of the standard fee (at today’s fee level, £1350).
Contacts for further information
Year abroad photo competition 2012 (Theme: Streetwise)
1st prize - Adam Aisthorpe: 'It wasn't a wise choice to park in this street', Versoix, Switzerland.
Year abroad photo competition 2011 (Theme: Exploration)
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