If you have the wonderful opportunity to have a year abroad (YA) as part of your degree programme, here are a few of my tips and tricks to choose the best destination for you.
The initial planning for the YA can be a little overwhelming. As with most things in life, it comes with a whole lot of paperwork! I’m an avid planner, so always like to know what it is I actually need to complete in advance, which sometimes doesn’t seem so clear-cut. So, here are a couple of simple steps I personally followed whilst preparing for my little adventures!
Decide what you’d like to do during your time away… Do you want a university
experience? To work and gain some more experience? Or, impart your knowledge of
English to foreign students with the British Council? I personally knew I
wanted to work from the get-go so this was pretty simple for me… I then just
had to try and find somewhere that would take me!
Here are a couple of pros for each opportunity…
- You meet lots of like-minded people, partaking in a similar experience
- You have lots of free time
- You’re surrounded by the culture and language constantly
- It looks great on your CV
- The pay is supposedly pretty good
- You generally get one day off a week, so can have extra long weekends
Once you’ve made your incredibly exciting decision you can commence with the lovely paperwork! It’s really not as bad as it initially seems. When you head abroad with your university at the moment there’s an amazing programme in place, called the Erasmus + programme. This gorgeous programme enables you to head abroad with a generous grant from the government! The amount you receive depends on where in the world you jet off to, what you end up doing and I think household income also comes into play as well, just like with student finance. So, what do you need to do to get your hands on the cash?
- Before you leave the U.K. you have to notify them of where you’re headed and for how long. You do this by filling out a simple form called a Learning Agreement (LA), which you get your host institution to sign for you. Then, you have to take a language test online, which takes no more than an hour so they’re able to gauge your language level before you head off. Don’t worry, the results aren’t sent off to anyone… it’s just for them to see how much you improve whilst you’re away.
- When you arrive you send off a certificate of arrival and make any amendments to your Learning Agreement. You also need to register yourself at the town hall/commune – this is generally only if you’re staying there for more than four months.
- When the whole experience is over you send off a certificate of departure and fill out the final section of your Learning Agreement. Sometimes you also have to notify the town hall/commune of your departure – I did in Germany, but don’t actually think I need to for Italy.
- Once you’re back in the comfort of your own home Erasmus + will send you one last e-mail prompting you to take another language test to see how much you’ve improved.
Before you know it you’ll be back into your everyday routine at home, wondering just how the YA flew by so quickly!
If there’s anything else you’d like to know, please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you.