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Deciding what to do for your year abroad

A Picture of Laura

There are usually three options for the Year Abroad: study abroad, work placement or British Council language assistantship. For the more indecisive among us, that’s probably a few too many and with advantages and disadvantages to all three, it can add up to a pretty daunting decision. So what kind of things should you consider when making that all-important choice?

Future Plans

This might be really boring, grown-up advice, but if you know what you want to do in the future, think about what would look good on your CV. If you can get work experience in a relevant field, I promise you’ll be grateful later when you have overseas experience!

Comfort Zone

You’ll be out of your comfort zone just by being in a foreign country, so play to your strengths and don’t apply for things you know you won’t enjoy. If you don’t like working with children for example, don’t apply for a language assistant position or you’ll be having a miserable time pretty quickly!


If you want to visit several countries, you’ll have to work out how you can fit them in. Some work placements last only a few months and are perfect for people who don’t want to stay in one place for too long. The language assistant programme is less flexible and is usually a longer commitment (with one or two exceptions).


Although you get an Erasmus grant, it’s not enough to cover the cost of living. One of the disadvantages to studying abroad is that you don’t really have the chance to earn money, so you need to know if that will be an obstacle.


Ok, so the rest has been quite sensible advice, but what do you actually want to do on your Year Abroad? Where do you want to live? What lifestyle do you want to experience? The Year Abroad is the chance to try something new, so if being practical and grown-up doesn’t appeal, you could do something you’ve always wanted to but have never had the chance. There are loads of opportunities out there, so just give them a go!

Find out more about your study abroad options at Newcastle.

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