Languages-3rd year abroad

(63 Posts)
Gettingstuffdonehere Thu 07-Dec-17 21:56:33

Anyone else’s student DC got a year abroad in 3rd year for languages degree? Mine was adamant it’s what she wanted, now it’s getting nearer and she’s terrified. Hoping that’s normal. Not sure how to help her. Anyone?

OP’s posts: |
AtiaoftheJulii Thu 07-Dec-17 23:34:49

Is she in her second year atm? Mine is. And yes, she's looked forward for ages to her year abroad, but the planning this term has been a bit scary I think. She's just put in her applications for (most of) what she wants to do, and seems happier now she's made some decisions. I've got no idea how accommodation works, but I expect that will become clearer as things progress!

dotdotdotmustdash Thu 07-Dec-17 23:47:16

My Dd is only in 1st year of a 4yr degree but she will spend her 3rd year in China. Luckily, she has already spent a year studying there before she started Uni so she knows what it' will be like.

ggirl Thu 07-Dec-17 23:57:39

My dd did 3rd yr in france . She loved it.
She went over with a friend prior to starting at french uni to find a flat hindsight we should have gone with her as getting a flat as a young adult in france was a nightmare for her .
Basically they wanted our DNA as a deposit my advice ..if they're going to france is to try and sort the accommodation out with them. The landlords were picking kids with parents with them first.
Can't remember how she sorted it ..but she did it , I do remember her calling upset in a letting agency , asking us to fax stuff over . Was a massive learning curve .
Also the french uni was diabolical ..She was at Bordeaux uni..huge classes , teaching was rubbish..building very rundown..generally very poorly financed.

LovingLola Thu 07-Dec-17 23:59:05

Mine went in 2nd year. Not for languages though. And to the other side of the world for 6 months. He loved it.

ggirl Thu 07-Dec-17 23:59:25

But her year there was overall wonderful and she had an amazing time. She would recommend getting a job rather than uni...she ended up doing both ..part time job and uni.

BubblesBuddy Fri 08-Dec-17 02:07:39

My elder DD did 3rd year abroad. She went to Switzerland for French and then Italy. She went to universities.

The students get briefing meetings here. It does suit confident students best and getting jobs these days can be problematic. DD was told some jobs were not acceptable to the university in that they were not sufficiently varied in learning the target language or rigorous.

At DDs university it was fairly well known some of the French state universities (not the Grand Ecoles) were iffy but you are not marked on what you do in class at the foreign university. Your home university normally sets the work they need to complete. Your DC may have to take the exams at the foreign university but not necessarily pass them so check what the uk university actually wants. If the lectures are not great it may not matter.

If they offer a university that has accommodation, go for it. It saves the angst of looking. If not, travel with them if they lack confidence and haven’t sorted anything out.

There is a good resource in the web site Third Year Abroad where you can read up about universities and countries and get advice from students who have been.

It is not terrifying if you plan. Apply for accommodation early (do not miss deadlines) if it is available and read up as much as you can on the university web site regarding exchange students, induction, where to get help and accommodation.

Where is your DD expecting to go OP? Some universities are brilliant and others less so but it’s a great experience for most. Universities can be huge. The one DD went to in Italy had 88,000 students and large lectures are common. They don’t do seminars. They do chalk and talk! The culture can be quite different but it’s part of the experience.

If I can be of further help, let me know.


Gettingstuffdonehere Fri 08-Dec-17 07:13:02

Thanks for the replies, & for the website Bubbles. Yes 2nd year now. Going to Spain. She’ shared all the information with me that her Uni has given out so far. Hopeful she will get Uni accomm. My main worry at this stage is that she doesn’t seem excited, just scared. I know they’re 2 sides of the same feeling , but all I’m hearing is fear. 😬

OP’s posts: |
bookworm14 Fri 08-Dec-17 07:17:10

I did a year in France and Russia for my year abroad (seems a very long time ago now). Like your DD I was initially terrified, but it ended up being the making of me. She will have a fabulous time.

MissWimpyDimple Fri 08-Dec-17 07:26:31

I did my third year abroad too and yes I was terrified!

Is anyone from her course going to the same place?

Mine worked out very well in the end btw

BubblesBuddy Fri 08-Dec-17 12:08:00

I think you will find positive stories on the web site and it is best to talk up the positives. If she can get university accommodation then she will meet lots of students. This worked well for DD in Switzerland. If the university offers accommodation to Erasmus students, do apply early. It is usually finite in supply and don’t be too picky. Start looking at the university web site and see what you have to do to apply.

What city is she going to? Students often meet like minded students and travel a bit. Travel in Switzerland was expensive so travel was restricted but DD went to stay with other students when they went home so this can be fun. The university also organised trips and events.

I am not sure if Spanish universities recruit from all over Spain. Italian universities tend to be parochial and the students appear to have known each other for quite a while. However there was a very strong Erasmus group and plenty of friends were available for travelling and air bnb was used a lot!

Therefore try and stress the positives and stay away from negatives. Do as much prep as you can beforehand and there may be students going to the same university for a bit of support. It is ultimately best if they don’t cling to each other but it is a safety net. Think about where she might visit. Has she looked at teaching options yet? It is a chance to branch out and do something you are interested in but cannot do on your own course here. My DD studied another language, translation (compulsory) and History of Art. Lots of other options were available so you can really broaden your knowledge.

As I said earlier, don’t stress about the quality of teaching. University organisation abroad can be dire (not in Switzerland!) so don’t have the same expectations as here. If it’s as good as here, that’s a plus.

I think the main worry can be accommodation and if you have to look for it, go to Spain with her and stay in a hotel whilst you look. DD did this on her own in Italy as there was no university accommodation. There was lots in the city and some landlords lived in their homes and let out rooms to Erasmus students. You just have to go and look at the options. Hope she can see the positives over Christmas!

Fortysix Fri 08-Dec-17 13:39:54

Have 3rd year DC currently in US but not languages. Mine didn't hear until February the exact location. I think it's perfectly normal to be unsure.
If your DC is 'terrified' then when discussing split it into manageable chunks... so instead of talking about it as a 'year' the time between her seeing anyone from home might actually be only seven weeks if you or a friend goes out and visits midway through first semester...
She may have friends doing Camp America placements which will be around seven weeks so at least comparable...
FaceTime & Snapchat are amazing tools to keep her in touch with you and vice versa. If I go onto Snapchat later today I will see my student's location as the library and then the exam hall. DC will see me and DH at work. Makes it all seem a lot nearer and less scary...
Start saving ...

BubblesBuddy Fri 08-Dec-17 14:25:26

It only costs the flights as extras. The Eurasmus grant is enough to live on if housing costs are similar to here. Continue to pay the same amount to your student has here. Spain is quite cheap (when compared to Switzerland!). Think Zara and lovely old cities!

Gettingstuffdonehere Fri 08-Dec-17 18:26:37

These replies are really helping, thank you. I’m hoping we can talk about it all when she’s back for Xmas, although sometimes she doesn’t want to talk about things that are scary when she’s in holiday mode!
Fingers crossed she knows someone from her Uni so like you say it’s a kind of safety net. Also someone to speak English with. Not worried about the quality of teaching- in the Uni handbook it says (in so many word) that it’s the experience of living there & speaking Spanish full time that counts really.

OP’s posts: |
Gettingstuffdonehere Fri 08-Dec-17 18:28:41

Bubbles I’m in awe of your DD finding private accommodation in Italy on her own - an achievement in itself!

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Sat 09-Dec-17 17:57:18

There was no option really. She had been searching adverts for accommodation in Italy before she left Switzerland. She then went to a hotel for 4 nights in her university city in Italy and checked out the shortlisted flats. The hotel staff were very kind and looked out for her. She chose a flat and there were already 2 other girls in it - so immediate friends! She took the bedroom of a girl that did the first semester.

If the university does not offer accommodation, looking at accommodation web sites is helpful. Lots of landlords specialise in Eurasmus or exchange student lets. The worst accommodation stories I have heard about are generally in France! My DDs friends who went to Spain were happy.

Yes, it is the experience and language immersion that are the most important things and getting an idea for the research she may have to do for her uk university. As DD was joint honours this was a lot of work for each language.

Keep positive and think of the holidays! My DD came back occasionally for parties. Friends were 21 in this period. Try and facitiate this if you need to. It keeps them in the loop. Also, try and keep friendly with others for 4th year accommodation back here. Most other students have left their courses. The ones abroad have to rely on friends to look at flats or do it in the Easter holidays (if they get any!!).

allegretto Sat 09-Dec-17 18:00:51

This brings back memories. I can remember being very nervous but in the end I had the time of my life. In fact - a couple of years ago we arranged a reunion trip to Italy with the friends I made on my Erasmus year! I'm sure once she is settled she will love it.

allegretto Sat 09-Dec-17 18:01:32

(My Erasmus experience was more than twenty years ago but we stayed in the same university accommodation we had then - it hadn't changed!!)

Olivo Sat 09-Dec-17 18:03:02

I did my third year in Paris, and I can honestly say it was one of my best ever years. I found my own accommodation once I was there. I worked in a school as an assistant, stayed with a teacher for the first couple of weeks. I also au paired part time, but don't live with them.

It is a scary prospect, I remember crying myself to sleep with worry before. I went, but my confidence grew so much. The hard thing was sorting bank accounts, accommodation, Carte de sejour, but I muddled throuGh.

Good luck to your DD, hopefully she will have a blast!

MingeFog Sat 09-Dec-17 18:03:37

Do you feel comfortable sharing which city she will be going to, OP? I'm sure there are MNetters who could help with tips about places to live, and how to find a flat, etc.

I live in Malaga if that's any help?

MingeFog Sat 09-Dec-17 18:04:38

Also: I did this in my 3rd year of uni, off to Nice in France. I had a blast, but as others said, finding somewhere to live was a lot easier as my parents came with me (they live in France) and could be guarantors.

Fairenuff Sat 09-Dec-17 18:09:40

My dd is in France at the moment and she is living with a family which might be another option for your dd? There are two other students in the house as well, all doing their year abroad (one working, one studying) and they do lots together. The daughter of the family is 18 so she took dd out when she arrived and showed her around, helped her get bus passes sorted, etc. The family also involve the students in community life so it's a nice home from home option.

simbobs Sat 09-Dec-17 18:12:59

Thanks for this thread. I did this many moons ago, and my DD will also be going abroad in 2 yrs time. I haven't started thinking about it yet and things will have changed a lot since I did it. Both unis that I went to offered accommodation, or provided a private accommodation list to choose from if all had been allocated. From what I gathered when going around uni open days last year some give more help than others. I don't know whether my DD has started thinking about this yet, nor whether her uni has talked to them about it. I will bring it up when she is home next week.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sat 09-Dec-17 18:18:48

Ds is currently in Japan, as his year abroad on his Japanese degree. Really missing him, but he is having an absolute ball. This is a boy who barely went out, disliked parties, liked his PS4 a bit too much. Now having the time of his life on the other side of the world.

I think she'll be fine, and she's not too far away, so you could visit her.

BubblesBuddy Sat 09-Dec-17 18:30:36

I honestly don’t think the universities here give help with accommodation abroad, if that’s what you meant simbobs. They just do not have control over that. Lots of universities give the student a talk and maintain an exchange office and staff to answer questions. Part of going abroad is being able to sort things out and that includes what you will study if it’s at a university, getting a job or teaching with the British Council. Many people find jobs via parental contacts. Where youth unemployment is high, finding a job can be a problem if you don’t have contacts. The universities don’t find the job for you.

My DD, for what it’s worth, chose the highest world ranking universities on offer in each country. Not that Italy has any that are world renown so the city came into it as well.

Don’t choose a university based on accommodation. Lists change as well as some universities are dropped and others come on steam. DD was in the first group to go to the university in Switzerland. This was utterly suitable for her over a French university.

Some university accommodation can be grim. Make plans about how to find a flat or homestay if necessary. In Italy, DDs landlady was under 30 and lived in the flat. It was a great little flat.

DD is very much a self-starter but once the students are settled, the year abroad is a fantastic opportunity.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in