Department of Political Science


Study Abroad Stories

Philosophy, Politics and Economics Student Ieva Sturina, McGill University, Canada (Study Abroad Placement, 2023)

Picture showing a PPE student

How did you secure a placement place? 
The BSc Philosophy, Politics and Economics course has an additional ‘Study Abroad’ placement opportunity / option which takes place after second year and is followed by a final year at UCL. The process includes an application (in Year 2) to the UCL Study Abroad team who assess all applications and liaise with the department regarding final decisions. 

The application consisted of a form which assessed motivation for applying to study abroad as well as outlining reasons for choosing each of the four options, which must be selected from a list of available institutions. For 2022-23 these were mainly based in the US, and Canada, as well as one in each Australia and Japan. Additionally, a CV had to be submitted alongside the form. 

Are there criteria to follow?
The study abroad placement is not only conditional upon the allocation of a placement but also the outcome of year 2. A minimum overall grade of 2:1 must be achieved in second year to qualify for the placement. 

The placement itself is an additional year and thus works on a pass/fail basis, which simply means that you must pass the courses taken during this year, however they do not count towards your final degree grade or classification. 

Tell us more about the placement 
My placement was at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and all placements within the department span the full academic year. 

In terms of courses, I was able to choose from almost all available classes within the three disciplines, however, I only chose from Politics and Economics as that is where my interests are. Additionally, I was lucky enough to travel a bit and explore other parts of Canada as well as the United States and found it easy to meet other exchange students with similar interests and to build friendships with them. 

How does this placement feed into your degree experience?
Studying abroad has most definitely added to my overall degree experience in multiple ways. It has been an amazing opportunity to meet new people and immerse myself in a different culture.  Additionally, I have been able to dedicate time to my interests and hobbies while figuring out what I’m interested in and curious about for both future study and career wise as well. 
Would you recommend other students seek a placement ?
I would recommend a study abroad placement. There are some additional funding options that UCL provides such as the Turing Scheme which is a grant aimed at supporting global mobility. Whilst a full academic year placement might not be for everyone, UCL also offers short term global opportunities which are worth exploring. 
What would you say is the most beneficial part of your placement?
My biggest takeaway from the study abroad placement has been the culmination of all my experiences. It has allowed me to grow both academically and personally whilst widening my horizon by allowing me to explore a new culture and meet a lot of interesting people. 

UCL offers a range of global opportunities for current undergraduate students. Study Abroad, Erasmus, Summer Schools and more. If you would like to find out more, please visit Go Abroad.