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year abroad

(35 Posts)
svalencia Sat 27-Aug-16 18:20:35

our son is at university in Uk but is wondering if he could do a year as a language assistant through the british council at the end of his 2nd year. He is not on a language course and so there is no formal arrangement for a year abroad. Would a university encourage this and allow him to return for his final year, or would it be considered irrelevant and frowned upon? Obviously he will go and talk to his tutor at the start of term but just wondered if anybody had a similar experience with their children?

Frazzled2207 Sat 27-Aug-16 18:34:24

I did a year in france as a language assistant many moons ago.
I was doing a french degree.
Back then, and somehow I can't imagine the situation has changed, there was lack or funding so basically language undergrads were prioritised for places and there were not enough places for everyone.
His uni might well be ok with your son taking a year out but I think unlikely he would get a language assistant place if not doing a relevant degree.
The best people to speak to about this however would be the languages department at his uni who will be firmly linked to the british council programme.

Bobochic Sat 27-Aug-16 18:41:04

Have you checked out the British Council website fir the country your DS wants to go to eg France? There is lots of information available on line. As PP have said, there is a lot of competition for language assistant posts.

Nzou1050 Sat 27-Aug-16 18:44:29

It's been years since I looked at it, but the British council used to have language assistantship stop could only do if you were a graduate. They had one in Senegal and some in South America not sure about Europe though or even if these graduate only once a still exist but maybe something he could do when he graduates of he can't take a year out of his course?

Nzou1050 Sat 27-Aug-16 18:45:15

That should say you could only do, not sure how I got stop in there instead!

haybott Sat 27-Aug-16 18:45:36

Why couldn't he do Erasmus, i.e study for a year at a European university? If he is looking to go in 2017/2018 we will still be in the EU and Erasmus will still be available. The main issue would be whether he meets language requirements and, if not, whether there is an appropriate course for him in English.

Nzou1050 Sat 27-Aug-16 18:46:20

God just seen two other typos but I'm sure you get the gist.

haybott Sat 27-Aug-16 18:46:41

BTW it is not obligatory for the course to be one offering a year abroad to do Erasmus.

svalencia Sat 27-Aug-16 19:09:49

Thanks for all the replies, sorry, should have said that he is bilingual (english/french)having lived abroad, but wasn't keen on doing languages at university. At the moment it is just an idea, so trying to think it through with him! He is very young in his year and so a year out wouldn't cause a problem age wise.

bojorojo Sat 27-Aug-16 21:14:02

You can apply for a degree with a year out at a French university. This is stated in the description of the course but as he has not he would have to ask about how flexible the university would be regarding deferring a year.

When my DD did her MFL degree the British Council had too many applications for TA positions and some people did not get to go at the last minute. Therefore check very carefully that just wanting to go is good enough because this may take a place away from a MFL student who must go abroad for a year. I understand places in universities were hastily scrambled for the disappointed TA students.

I would arrange to do something after the degree rather than defer a year for no really good reason other than he fancies it.

svalencia Sun 28-Aug-16 08:58:41

He had no interest at age 17 in choosing a language degree, he chose what he was most interested in. Now one year on he is thinking about work experience, experience of living in another country, of extending his knowledge of another language. All of which he thinks will make him more employable after university. He is wondering if he can do this during his degree so that he can then use these experiences in his final year. Surely the reason most students want to take year out? Just wondering if anybody had any experience of how a course that doesn't normally offer this would react?

2rebecca Sun 28-Aug-16 09:56:45

If he's doing something that isn't part of his degree in the middle of his degree then won't that affect his retention of the stuff he is supposed to be studying for his degree?
Usually years abroad are related to you studying something in a foreign country related to your degree so it's instead of doing the third year in the UK.
He sounds like he just wants a gap year in the middle of his degree which sounds a bit silly.

haybott Sun 28-Aug-16 10:29:17

Many courses have a year in industry/business which is unrelated to the university study material. Students rarely have a problem coming back for their third years - the opposite actually, as they are much more mature and have a much better work ethic.

Tuktuktaker Sun 28-Aug-16 16:48:07

My daughter is currently taking a third year out for work experience in a field unrelated to her degree subjects, and she is not a ML student (she is bilingual and pretty fluent in two more languages, through accident of birth). Her (RG, if that is relevant) university positively encourages this, as they believe it is important for future employers, I think particularly with a non-vocational degree, if that makes sense? She would be able to go and teach English in a foreign country if she wanted to, but she has already got a certificate to teach English to adults, so it is slightly different from your son in that case, svalencia. She chose her university because of the possibility of the year of work experience and changed from a three year to a four year degree course at the beginning of her second year. Sorry if not much help to you.

2rebecca Sun 28-Aug-16 20:51:47

The year in industry is usually related to the career you're working towards though isn't it? My son is doing mech eng and he's doing a year abroad through the uni but had to get the content he planned to study passed by the department head. Some engineering degrees have a year in industry but it's usually an engineering industry, you can't go and play the violin in Paris for a year or work turning burgers in Macdonalds.
Many medical students do an MSc year in the middle of their degree but it's usually medicine related.
Tuktuktaker's daughter sounds unusual if the year out is completely unrelated to the course.

Tuktuktaker Mon 29-Aug-16 04:51:27

As I said, my daughter chose her university because of the flexibility offered. She is studying subjects which have no obvious direct career path and though she doesn't want to go into teaching, had all else failed, the university would have allowed her to teach English to adults abroad as her work experience. Her course allows for up to a year's work experience (not necessarily in industry), in the UK or abroad, at a level commensurate with the student's abilities (successfully having completed their first two years with a 2:1 or higher), so flipping burgers in Paris is not an option. grin

I hope your son can work something out with his university, svalencia. It sounds as if it varies from place to place and subject to subject.

(Back in the day when I was studying ML, I was a language assistant in France, in a placement organized by my university in association with the British Council, for the third year of my degree course. I was surprised to see you say that your experience was that the British Council only accepted graduates, Nzou1050. But then, times change, and Methuselah's got nothing on me grin )

AppleMagic Mon 29-Aug-16 05:53:43

Lots of students intercalate for a variety of reasons aside from formal years out overseas or in industry. He'll have to check with his uni how flexible they are on this but typically they would prefer a student to intercalate for a year than drop out entirely.

Tuktuktaker Mon 29-Aug-16 06:00:18

Thank you for "intercalate", AppleMagic. Made my day! I think the last time I heard the word was when I was a student!

haybott Mon 29-Aug-16 07:48:58

The year in industry is frequently not related to the degree that you are studying. Of course engineers work in engineering jobs but years in industry are also possible for those not studying STEM subjects, and for which the only relation between degree/industrial year is transferable skills.

There is some mild assessment during the year in industry in the UK - a few reports, plus onsite visits - so students typically pay a nominal tuition fee to the university (1k or so per year).

Agree with pp that, even if the year is not officially recognised by the university and hence on the degree certificate, students can always intercalate.

bojorojo Mon 29-Aug-16 09:56:29

The OP said her DS wanted to be a language assistant abroad and not take a year in industry. There is a difference. It is the British Council that usually organises Language assistant positions in French speaking countries for uk students not the university. As I said earlier, these can be in short supply for those who MUST do third year abroad so I can see why they may not be keen to accommodate someone who just fancies a year out being a language assistant that is not related to their degree. I can see why they suggested the end of the degree was more appropriate and it has exactly the same effect regarding employability, in that it is still 4 years.

Plenty of degrees do a year abroad so why not try and see what is possible at the individual university but doing language assistant work may be problematic. There are other possibilities of working in other fields though. Or even work for a private company.

Needmoresleep Mon 29-Aug-16 12:16:26

Borojo, does the British Council cover placesments in French private schools as well? The private school sector in France is quite large (and surprisingly cheap) and often prioritise MFL teaching, especially English.

svalencia Tue 30-Aug-16 10:08:55

Sorry not to come back before. It's been interesting to read different experiences, good to see some positive ones. Obviously it would have been much better if he had chosen a course that offered a year out, (hindsight is wonderful!) but it just didn't interest him at the time. Now a year older and having worked through the summer he is seeing things a little differently.
For info, the British council website says it is open to all students who will have completed 2 years of study, it is also possible to be an assistant for up to 4 times/ 4 years, so must be open to more than 3rd year language students. Sorry, we've not asked if French private schools are included as our son wouldn't be interested in France at this time.

He will be back at university soon and has some time now to do some more research into this and then go and meet up with his tutor to discuss the possibilities.
Thanks for all the input, any more welcome, it does help!

bojorojo Tue 30-Aug-16 17:26:56

The British Council says that posts are offered in "Schools" by the academies - the French equivalent of our Local Authorities. Therefore one would assume they are state schools. There is some choice over area but not which school. It also says some areas such as the South of France and Paris receive a lot more applications than places.

OP if he is bilingual and speaks French where does he want to go? Or is he the equivalent, in another language, of a 3rd year MFL degree student?

Bobochic Tue 30-Aug-16 19:36:46

Private schools in France are not independent schools when they are "sous contrat aver l'Etat". I do not know what the situation is regarding language assistants but I cannot see why French private schools would not get language assistants the same way state schools do.

AuldAlliance Wed 31-Aug-16 10:54:09

Is he set on being an assistant? There is always Erasmus (for now, anyway).
If you mentioned what country he is interested in going to, MNers might be able to provide more specific information.

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