Spending part of your degree course abroad

Whether it’s studying the aurora in Norway or music in Vienna, spending time abroad as part of your degree can give you an international perspective and help you to stand out from the crowd when it comes to applying for jobs.

Benefits to studying abroad

Studying abroad represents an incredible opportunity to broaden your horizon, get a new perspective on your subject and gain experience and skills that are valued by employers. Employers are increasingly looking for people with experience of living abroad, cultural awareness and knowledge of another language.

Your options

Spending time abroad will help to show that you are adaptable and willing to take on a challenge. If you’re thinking about studying abroad, your options are to:

  • do a whole degree course abroad
  • study abroad as part of your UK degree

Doing your degree with an overseas university

There’s plenty to think about if you’re considering doing a full degree course abroad, including finding the right course and funding your studies.

Studying abroad as part of a UK degree

Most universities offer students the opportunity to spend a semester or year studying or working abroad, either through an exchange agreement with a university overseas or through a dedicated scheme.

Although you will usually spend time studying abroad if you are taking a language degree, studying abroad isn’t just for language students. Many European universities offer a range of courses in English even if you can't speak a foreign language (although learning the language will help you in everyday life).

Erasmus scheme

Under the Erasmus scheme, you can study for part of your degree in one of 33 other European countries. You will receive a grant from the European Union and if you stay for a year (at least 24 weeks excluding weekends and the usual holidays), you won’t have to pay UK tuition fees for that year.

For more information about the opportunities available, visit the Erasmus website or contact the Erasmus co-ordinator at your university or college.

IAESTE provides course-related work placements for technical experience

The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience scheme, IAESTE provides course-related work placements to science, engineering and applied arts undergraduates in over 80 countries worldwide. Most placements are for eight to 12 weeks between June and September.

The scheme is managed by the British Council and more information is available on their website.

Study USA programme

The Study USA programme provides students attending a college or university in Northern Ireland, with the opportunity to study business and management studies for one full academic year in the USA.

It is open to full-time EU undergraduates, studying for a third level qualification (degree, Foundation degree, HND, HNC) in any discipline.

Applications are open for 2019/2020. 

For more information about the programme, including how to apply, eligibility and costs, visit Study USA on the British Council website.

University-run schemes

Many international study options, for example, in the US, Australia and outside the European Union, are based on two-way arrangements between particular universities and colleges. To find out about options available to you, contact the International Office or Study Abroad office-at your college or university.

Academic recognition for your studies abroad

If you spend time in another European Union country as part of your UK degree, your studies should receive full academic recognition from your home institution under the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

More useful links

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