For many UK students, the possibility of studying or working abroad in Europe is a means to increase employability by broadening horizons, widening knowledge of other cultures and improving communication skills. While time abroad is a necessary component of a number of degree courses, such as those in Modern Languages, many students are independently making the decision to spend time abroad during their studies.
A third year abroad is usually a standard part of Modern Language degrees, or those with a modern language component, such as Law and French. But, this doesn’t have to be the sole domain of the modern-language student. Why not defer your final year of university and do some travelling, live in another country and gain some invaluable experience that you won’t find in a lecture theatre.
There are a number of ways that you can spend a third year abroad. One of the most popular is the Erasmus+ programme, which allows you to work or study abroad.
What is it?
Erasmus+ gives students across Europe the chance to spend part of their degree studying on a degree course at a European university in another country. This is the most common type of activity that Erasmus students engage in, but you can also work abroad by taking up an Erasmus+ traineeship. The latter is a common choice for students on further education or vocational courses.
Who is eligible?
In order to take part in Erasmus+, you must be enrolled in a university that has an Erasmus Charter for Higher Education, and must be taking a course at this university that will lead to a recognised degree. Or, you must be on a vocational training course. You can decide to take part in the Erasmus+ scheme for between three and twelve months and can apply through your home institution. Each participating institution has an Erasmus Coordinator who you should contact in the first instance.
Where can I go?
You can take up a period of study at any institution that is partnered with your own. These might be in any of the 33 countries that take part in the Erasmus+ scheme. The majority (27) of these are EU countries. They include France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Belgium.
What are the benefits of Erasmus+?
There are endless benefits to taking part in the Erasmus+ programme. You can use the opportunity to study something different to the course you are taking back at home and receive formal recognition of the course you take abroad. You can find out about university life in another country and about life there in general. You can learn a language in more depth by fully immersing yourself in it, and make lots of new friends at the same time. Studying at a university or completing a traineeship also means that your time abroad feels purposeful. You days will be structured, thus making sure you leave your room and socialize with others. At the end of your time away, you will return to your UK degree course refreshed and revitalized.
What funding is available?
As an Erasmus+ student you will receive a grant from the European Commission which can be used towards living expenses. You will receive this grant through your institution, which is normally around 250 – 400 Euro a month. If you study abroad for the entire academic year, a large contribution is also made to your tuition fees back at home. It is likely that you will also be able to receive your UK student loan during your year abroad, although this will normally be lower than if you were spending the year in the UK.
Remember that Send My Bag can take the stress out of moving to a new country by shipping your possessions for you. You will be able to bring so many more items with you than if were to try to check everything onto your flight. Find out more about student shipping and learn how to claim 10% student discount by visiting our student removals page. Make sure you check our study abroad packing list to make sure you have packed everything you need for your time abroad.
We would love to hear about your experiences of Erasmus. Share your stories and advice for those considering Erasmus+ on our Facebook page. An alternative to the Erasmus+ scheme is the British Council Language Assistantship, which involves teaching your native language in a UK school, or teaching English in a school in continental Europe.
Perhaps you would like to study in Europe for your entire degree course? Send My Bag has explored the many opportunities available for study in Europe, including English-language university courses.
Studying in the UK on a Tier 4 (General) student visa
If you are a foreign resident (not normally resident in the European Economic Area or Switzerland) wishing to study in the UK, you will need to obtain a Tier 4 (General) student visa. To apply for this visa you must:
- be a resident in a country outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland
- have secured a place on a course of study at an eligible institution (a licensed Tier 4 sponsor)
- be able to speak, write, read and understand English
- be able to pay for your course of study, as well as living costs.