School of European Languages, Culture and Society (SELCS)


The Year Abroad

Studying abroad is an exciting and highly rewarding, though often challenging experience, and one that will remain with you for the rest of your life. The experiences and skills developed while abroad further academic and personal development, cultural and social awareness, provide a foundation for further study and enhance career prospects (The GuardianThe Telegraph).

The Year Abroad is an integral, compulsory element of our four-year degree programmes, which enables students to:

•   Learn substantial new academic and, in some cases, professional skills
•   Develop spoken and written language skills to a near-native level of proficiency
•   Gain in-depth knowledge of the culture they are studying
•   Become independent and travel more widely
•   Get ready for an international workplace
•   Make new friends and contacts while learning

Placement Options

You can spend your Year Abroad studying at a partner university, assisting in teaching English in a school abroad (via British Council), or organise a work placement for yourself. Click on a relevant link below for more information:

  1. Study Placements
  2. British Council: English Language Assistantship
  3. Work Placements

Destinations (by language)

•   Dutch
•   French
•   German
•   Italian
•   Portuguese
•   Scandinavian Languages
•   Spanish

Main Programme Requirements

•   Students studying one language spend the whole Year Abroad in a country where the language is spoken.
•   'One language - one placement' rule: students studying one language cannot split their year between two institutions.
•   Students studying two languages split the Year Abroad between two countries where their target languages are spoken.
•   Students splitting their Year Abroad between two countries must check and ensure the dates of the two placements do not overlap.
•   Students are required to complete the full term of their allocated university placement, language assistantship or work placement.
•   BA Language & Culture and BA Comparative Literature students spend the whole year at a university where the main language they are studying is spoken or, if approved by their Programme Director, they may apply for a British Council placement.
•   For Scandinavian languages, students will be allocated to a partner university where their target Scandinavian language is spoken.

Students from other UCL departments (e.g., ESPS) should consult their programme tutors and administrators about their Year Abroad arrangements.

To go on the Year Abroad:
•   Students need to progress satisfactorily, i.e. they must pass enough credits at end of Year 2.
•   Students need to apply on-time for one of the Year Abroad options in SELCS, attend / complete all study abroad preparations, and get approval from the Year Abroad Tutor.

Fees and Funding for Year Abroad

The central UCL Study Abroad Team will advise students on all aspects of fees and funding for their Year Abroad. Please refer to their Finance webpage for more information.


Some students may have visa requirements for some placements. The central UCL Study Abroad Team will provide guidance on this.


Year Abroad modules are pass/fail only and do not contribute to the calculation of the degree classification. 

Current Students

Year 2 students and students currently abroad should refer to the Year Abroad chapter of the SELCS UG Students Handbook on Moodle and to guidance on the central UCL Study Abroad Team website for more information and support.

Year Abroad preparations start towards the end of autumn term in Year 2. SELCS will arrange two compulsory Year Abroad meetings for all Year 2 students on four-year degrees. The first meeting, followed by SELCS Year Abroad applications, usually takes place in the last week of November (Wednesday afternoon).

Please note: Information is accurate at the time of publication. The placement options are revised and the number of study places at partner universities is negotiated on an annual basis. This means that options may be subject to change, study places do fluctuate or partnerships can be pulled altogether, with very little notice. Please do remember this when you're thinking about your Year Abroad options and remember - the key to becoming a Global Citizen is to have an open mind!