Year Abroad in a Modern Languages Degree

Studying abroad is bound to be one of the best experiences of your student life at King’s. As a French and Philosophy student, the highlight of my degree has been spending my third year in the French-speaking world. So if you want to hear what a year abroad is like for a languages student, read on to find out!


Alexander studies an undergraduate course in French and Philosophy

It’s actually longer than a year!

In reality, calling it ‘year abroad’ is not strictly true, as your year abroad can start the moment your second year ends. This means you actually get from June until September the following year to fill your time with amazing experiences! Before going away to study I really wanted to practice my French, so I found a job in a chalet in the French alps where I got to practice my language skills before going to study in French full-time. This is something that I would definitely recommend to any languages student, and many businesses specifically hire students for summer jobs. Though it may be hard working the phone in a new language or speaking to guests who have an accent you’ve never heard before, this is without a doubt the best way to learn. Moreover, most alpine jobs include extra perks such as free accommodation and a lift pass, meaning you can take advantage of all the amazing scenery and activities without breaking the bank. What could be better than preparing to study in a foreign language whilst being paid to live in the mountains?

To study or not to study?

Languages students have lots of options when it comes to choosing what to do in their year abroad. First of all, you can teach English as a foreign language at a school in a country speaking the language that you are learning. This option nearly always applies to the whole academic year, so if you do want to work but don’t want to teach then you can also do an internship. The internship is organised by you and must be conducted in the language that you are learning, and if you choose this option then you will spend the other semester studying. Most students spend the year studying on an exchange at a partner institution, whether it’s at the same place for the whole year or two different places. You can study in different places as long as they are culturally different, or if you study two languages and therefore do two exchanges! After working in the summer after second year, I studied violin at a conservatoire in Paris. Though it wasn’t a partner institution, the practical element meant it was classified as an internship since it wasn’t like studying at a partner university. If there is something you really want to do, you can always ask your study abroad tutor and see what is possible!

When studying abroad, you get to visit new sights and make plenty of great memories

Can you go beyond Europe?

Absolutely! For the second half of my year abroad I studied at a French-speaking university in Montréal, and many students in Spanish and Portuguese also do exchanges in the Americas. The great thing about this option is that you are exposed to a completely different culture and get so much more out of learning a language in a new country and environment. Moreover, you are allowed to find internships in any country which speaks the language you are learning – whether it’s in Canada, Africa, the Caribbean or even the Pacific! Besides, when else might you get the chance to live on the other side of the world? Wherever you go and whatever you choose to do, you can be sure that your year abroad will be one of the coolest (and of course educational) years of your life!


More information:

To explore the King’s Modern Languages courses page, click here

To read more about undergraduate studying abroad options, click here

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