For over 20 years the University of Lancaster has operated a successful exchange scheme with Universities in the USA and Canada. The scheme has now expanded to include exchanges with Universities in Australia and Hong Kong. The year abroad is not an add-on to your degree, it is fully integrated so that you can complete your BSc in just three years. More than 80% of our exchange students get an upper second or first class degree. In addition to enhancing your job prospects, the experience broadens your academic horizons and provides you with an understanding of another culture and society.
Where can you go?
Even though the University has exchange agreements with 60 Universities Worldwide, in Biology we have selected a manageable number for students to choose from. These Universities have equivalent standards of excellence, in both teaching and research, as does Biology at Lancaster. They have also received excellent reports from our students with regards to course variety and the level of student support. In the United States, our students can spend their second year at the Universities of Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa State, Maine, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina State and North Carolina at Charlotte, Oregon State and Purdue. Three Universities are available in Canada (Alberta, Calgary and Western Ontario). Four Universities are available in Australia (Griffith University, Brisbane; Macquarie University, Sydney; Monash University, Melbourne; and Wollongong, near Sydney). An opportunity also exists to study at City University, Hong Kong. If you have a burning desire to spend your second year at a University not listed above, this is still possible as long as the University has an existing exchange agreement with that University, the study abroad advisor can approve the Biology department there, and a place is available for that specific year.
NB: The choice of destinations varies slightly from year to year as places are not available at each partner every year. We therefore cannot guarantee a place at a specific partner. The number of places in Australia normally varies from one to three per year.
What help do you get before and during your year abroad?
The University's International office takes care of your logistical needs while the BLS study abroad advisor takes care of your educational needs. After a series of briefings with advisers, and informal get-togethers with students who have just returned from their year abroad, you choose 3 preferred places where you would like to study. We cannot guarantee that everyone will get their first choice of destination. However, past experience has convinced us that, wherever you are placed, you will have an excellent educational experience and a fantastic time socially! The BLS advisor will help you select appropriate courses to take, while the International office will help you fill out all the relevant paperwork (accommodation, visas etc). During your year abroad, the International office at the Partner University will take care of your welfare via meetings, social events and excursions. Your Lancaster University advisor will remain in close contact with you, via email and a virtual tutorial group, to ensure that your academic studies are progressing satisfactorily.
What will it cost?
Financial arrangements regarding fees are currently under revision but it is unlikely that, in relation to fees, you will pay any more over all during your year abroad then if you were to spend the year studying at Lancaster. However, you need to be made aware that you will also need to pay for flights, insurance, extra books, obtaining a visa, and you will probably want to do some travelling while you are there. Subject to means-testing, financial help may be available in the form of an enhanced student loan or a grant from your local Education Authority.
There are also opportunities to earn extra money whilst abroad - In North America, the student visa allows you to work on campus only, but there are many positions available. In Australia, the student visa allows you to work anywhere, and you have a three-month summer break (November to February), in between the two semesters, in which to do this and/or travel. In fact, travelling around your host country is the most significant 'extra expense' incurred by students during their year abroad... but it has to be done.
Because study abroad places are limited (25 per year), competition is high and thus placements are conditional upon getting good grades in both your A-levels and within the first year of study at Lancaster. Current entry requirements (A-level) are as follows:
- Biochemistry/Study Abroad (C702) AAB
- Cell Biology/Study Abroad (C132) AAB
- Biological Sciences/Study Abroad (C102) AAB
Changing your mind
If, at any time during your first year, you decide that you no longer want to study abroad, you can simply switch to the 'standard' degree scheme.
Here are some examples of typical answers from students when asked about their year abroad. "Wonderful - best year of my life. I discovered new interests, met loads of incredible people, and took part in activities and events that I would never have had the opportunity to do in England" (A.W. attended the University of Maine). "Absolutely brilliant! Worth every dollar!" (C.A. attended the University of California, Irvine).
If you require further information, specifically about the year abroad, then please feel free to contact Dr Rachael Rigby, Study Abroad Adviser, Division of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YQ.
Tel: 01524 593420