Humanities Study Abroad FAQs 

 

Applying to Go Abroad

For information about where you can go for Study Abroad, please see the Where can you study? section of the Intranet.

If you study abroad your degree will become 4 years long and you will go abroad during your third year. For some disciplines, it's possible to study for a semester in your second or third year. See 'Can You Study Abroad?' for more details.

Yes, all Humanities students can do a work placement year either in the UK or abroad. However, this is the responsibility of the Humanities Employability team so for more information, please contact them at humanities-employability@exeter.ac.uk

The deadline for applications to Study Abroad is in mid-December, and is for those who wish to study abroad the following academic year. For more information about the application process, please visit the Study Abroad Application section of these pages.

No. As a Humanities Study Abroad student you are only able to spend your year abroad at one university. 

Unfortunately, we are currently unable to offer support for students wanting to take part in placements over the summer, in terms of locating the placements. However, you can find information on summer schools on the Global Opportunities Outbound pages.

The allocation of places at partner universities is based solely on first-year mark and you need to have at least a firstyear grade average of 60 to be eligible to apply. It's a very competetive process and we look at students' applications beginning with the highest first year mark. Therefore, the higher your first year average, the higher your chance of being allocated one of your top choices of university. This should give you more incentive to work harder in your first year!

It's very important to manage your expectations as competition is high for Study Abroad placements (and extremely high for placements in Australia, Canada and the USA) and as such we cannot guarantee a place for everyone. 

In a word: No.

First, you must obtain the minimum first year grade average of 60%.

Secondly, it depends on your application. We have a limited number of places at our partner universities and the demand is always higher than the places available. Therefore, every year a number of students are disappointed. For this reason, it's imperative you think carefully about which universities abroad you apply for. For example, the lower your first year grade average, the lower your chances of getting one of your choices - particularly if you choose the most popular universities, such as in Australia, Canada or the USA.

If you came to Exeter on a four-year 'with Study Abroad' programme, and you get a mark for 60 or above from your first year, we are obliged to offer you a Study Abroad placement, but it might not necessarily be one of your top choices.

We do what we can to get as many applicants as possible onto a Study Abroad placement, and the application process is as fair as can be but Study Abroad is just a very competitive process.

If all goes as to plan, we will endeavour to get back to you within 3 weeks of the Study Abroad application deadline with information on whether you have been successful, with information on your allocated placement. However, as it's such a complex process, we might need more time so please be patient with us.

We are sorry if you are unsuccessful in your application for Study Abroad, and you will be informed once the allocation process is complete.

If you are not allocated a placement, it will not be possible to apply at a later time, and we cannot reallocate placements that are rejected by other students.

Therefore, you will need to ensure that your programme changes to reflect the fact you will no longer be going on a Year Abroad. To do this, please contact your department to inform them you need to complete a Change of Programme form to change to the three-year variant of your degree.

You will also need to find accommodation for the following year, which we know can be challenging. To help you, please contact the Guild Advice Unit at Streatham or FXU Advice & Welfare at Penryn. 

 

Going Abroad

Yes, and you are put on a Study Abroad module here at Exeter to ensure that you remain registered. This means that you still have access to all of the Exeter online resources and can still use services such as the Guild Advice Unit or Wellbeing whilst away. 

You must make sure you update your contact details and you continue to check your Exeter email mailbox.

Yes, as with any other Exeter student you will have a personal tutor available to you to contact if you wish. The contact details of your personal tutor are displayed on your MyExeter account.

 

Yes, insurance is absolutely mandatory for your Year Abroad. 

Comprehensive health and travel insurance is essential for your time abroad and should be arranged before you depart.  The University of Exeter has an Undergraduate Travel Insurance policy that you may wish to consider but also check if your family or bank account already has a policy. You are welcome to use any policy you wish but please check it is comprehensive and covers you for any unforeseen travel or medical costs you could incur.

If you are going to Europe, we would also strongly recommend you apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), but you will still need comprehensive health and travel insurance as above, as the EHIC does not cover you for all costs.

Your host university might also request you take our their insurance policy. We would still recommend you take out a UK policy as your host university's policy might only cover you during your period of study and not the travel to and from your placement. It might not also cover any holiday period when you may choose to travel.

If you will be studying outside of the European Union, you will almost certainly be required to obtain the appropriate visa or permit to allow you to study as an international student.

Please note that the Study Abroad team is not qualified to offer visa advice. You will need to visit the relevent embassy website to find out more information.  Please be aware that immigration legislation changes frequently and without warning, so do check the relevant embassy and immigration website for the most up to date information.

You should be aware that taking the necessary steps to acquire your visa is your own responsibility and you may incur costs.

Students are able to apply for a visa when they have received a formal acceptance letter from their host university, and are encouraged to make prompt arrangements as soon as this has been received.  Please bear in mind that the summer is an extremely busy time for processing visa applications and therefore you should make allowances for delays in processing.  You are advised not to make travel arrangements until you have finalised your visa.

 

Accommodation

Unfortunately we cannot keep records of all the different types of accommodation offered at each university or work placement, as with so many students at so many different places, it would be impossible to keep track with what’s currently on offer.

Most of our partner universities have spaces in halls for students to stay in, which can be really handy and easy to sort out.

If they don’t, it can be worth getting in contact with your host university and asking them for any tips and advice on how to get accommodation whilst you’re there. We can also try and put you in contact with people who went to your university/country last year so you can ask them how they were able to find accommodation whilst they were abroad. The more research you can do, the easier you’ll find it to get sorted whilst you’re there. 

Please see the Accommodation section on this page for more information.

 

Assessment

As a student on HUM3999 or HUC3005, 83% of your grade comes from the modules you do whilst abroad, and the remaining 17% comes from your learning log.

It’s worth remembering that your marks have to be converted into Exeter marks when you come back. To find how we convert the marks, please see the link on the 'Conversion of Study Abroad marks' under the Assessment and Feedback section of the College Taught Student Handbook

Please see the HUM3999/HUC3005 ELE page for more details.

Your Year Abroad counts for 1/7 of your degree in total, and your second year counts for 2/7 and fourth year 4/7. 

The Learning Log will count for 17% of the marks for your year abroad and should be written throughout the time you are abroad. It is split up into three 500-word formative assessments which you submit during the academic year and a final 3500 summative essay which you submit through eBart in May of your Year Abroad.

More information about the Learning Log, including instructions, assessment criteria and part examples can be found on the HUM3999/HUC3005 ELE page.

If you fail a module abroad, it does not automatically mean that you fail the whole year abroad. We convert each module mark individually into their Exeter equivalent. We then total them and work out the average grade. As such, even if you "fail" a module according to the host institution, we will still count the grade. However, if the number of credits or mark does not appear on your transcript, then we will not be able to take it into consideration. As such, you will need to ensure that you obtain proof of the result or ensure that the transcript does reflect the mark and number of credits of the failed module.

We convert each module mark individually into their Exeter equivalent. We then total them and work out the average grade. This means that if you fail most or all of your modules this will result in an extremely low average for this assessment component of your Study Abroad module. The overall Study Abroad module mark may be brought up by the mark of other assessment components (please check the module descriptor for details). Please bear in mind that what some partner universities consider a "Fail" isn't necessarily converted as less than 40% (a fail at Exeter). If, despite all of this, you have failed the Study Abroad module as a whole then you would not be able to proceed onto the final year of a four-year programme. Instead, you would revert to a three-year degree programme, meaning that the Year Abroad would no longer be included in the calculation of your degree classification.

The answer will depend on when those re-sits take place and whether your host university abroad will allow you (as an exchange student) to do so. You will need to liaise directly with your host university to check this. If you do resit a module, please make sure that the new mark is updated on the transcript we receive from your host university.

If you do not bring back the required number of credits, then the missing number of credits will be counted at a mark of zero and included in the overall average when we convert your host university marks into Exeter marks. This will affect your average and probably lower the mark you receive but it will not necessarily mean you will fail the year.

Other universities' grading systems are often wildly different from our own. This means that we have to use a conversion scale to convert grades in a standardised way. Also, for this reason, what one university calls a "fail" may not be classed as such at Exeter and, similarly, what one university calls 10/20 will not necessarily convert as 50%. The conversion chart changes slightly each year, but a general guideline can be found under the Assessment Procedures section at the bottom of the College Taught Student Handbook.

For those studying abroad for a year or for the second semester, there will be a Study Abroad Exam Board in November/December of your final year, at which point all marks will be ratified and then released. For those studying abroad for the first semester, the marks will go to the Summer Exam Board with the rest of the year's results. They will then be released as usual. If we are able to, we will release provisional marks before this point but they cannot be guaranteed. Sometimes transcripts and grades are a little more complicated to finalise, in which case the process may take slightly longer and we will ask for your patience in the matter.

 

Modules

If you are in Europe for a Year Abroad, you will need to take at least 50 ECTS (European credits).

If you are outside of Europe for a Year Abroad, you need to take at least 7 modules.

If you are in Europe for a Semester Abroad, you will need to take at least 30 ECTS (European credits).

If you are outside of Europe for a Semester Abroad, you will need to take at least 4 modules.

However, we do advise that if possible, you take more credits or modules than the minimum amounts suggested above, as it will give you a back-up option if one of your modules doesn’t go quite as well as you’d hoped. You may well want a safety net when getting used to a completely different university’s marking system in a completely different country. 

For more information, please see this webpage and the section titled 'What Can You Study?'

75% of your modules need to be in your home discipline. However, you are free to take 25% of your modules in a subject outside of your main discipline, providing they are still academic modules which can be converted back into Exeter marks upon your return. Modules in subjects such as skiing, surfing or Japanese Tea Ceremony would of course not be accepted!

We would recommend that you take second and third year modules where possible, as you will want the modules to still be challenging and stimulating whilst you’re abroad.

However, we understand that it can be hard to find modules that perfectly fit this criteria in every university, so if your university only has a limited amount of modules for you to choose from, please contact the the Outbound team. If you’re unsure whether you can take a certain module, please check with the team ASAP, as you don’t want to come back to Exeter and find out a module doesn’t count when it’s too late.

For more information, please see this webpage and the section titled 'What Can You Study?'

 

 

Finance

Yes! The amount of loan you can get may actually increase whilst you’re abroad, so it can be worth checking with Student Finance about this as soon as possible once you've been allocated your study abroad placement.  

This ultimately depends on where you go and what the conversion rate is at the time. Before you go, it’s worth weighing up the extra things you’ll have to pay for - flights, visas, insurance, travelling (which can end up costing more than you imagine) with the cost of things you already have to pay for - food, accommodation, day-to-day travel. These may well be cheaper in the country you’re going to, so it might be worth trying to get in contact with someone who has been to your university/country on exchange before to see how they found it. The The Outbound team will try to help you contact them.

It’s worth remembering that some visas might allow you to work, so working abroad part time could also be an option for you. As a general rule, if the country you’re living in is more expensive, the minimum wage is going to be higher, so this can be worth researching before you go. If you're going to a country where English is not the first language, you might find casual work in teaching English. Either way, with any work, do check your visa status and make sure you abide to its regulations.

There is also help from Erasmus grants and Student Finance Travel Grants. Please see the Cost of living and finance section on this page.

This can vary depending on the type of scholarship or bursary you receive. Please use the Student Funding pages to find out further information.

The Student Finance Travel Grant is a means-tested grant which you can apply for through Student Finance. If you qualify, you can get a reimbursement for up to 3 return flights, as well as for your visa and any necessary medical costs. Please note you must pay the first £303 of your costs and you must keep all your receipts as you apply for the reimbursement at the end of your placement abroad.

For Student Finace England you can visit https://www.gov.uk/travel-grants-students-england/overview for more information. For students from other home nations please check your respective Student Finance web pages. 

An Erasmus grant is available to students studying in Europe under the Erasmus+ scheme.  The grant is intended to be a contribution only; it is not a full maintenance grant and is not designed to cover all costs you may incur on your placement.  The Erasmus grant is not means-tested and you do not have to repay it unless the relevant paperwork is not returned or you leave your placement early. See our Erasmus+ grants page for further details.

Following the EU referendum result in June 2016 we are still awaiting further information regarding the UK's participation in the Erasmus+ programme and therefore the availability of the Erasmus grant for future mobilities. However, we can confirm that students going abroad in 2018-19 will receive the grant.  As soon as we have further information, we will update our website and be in contact with students directly.

For more information on the Erasmus paperwork, please see this recording of a talk we gave to students going out in 2019-20. Although the paperwork is quite demanding, remember it's free money so it's definitely worth doing!

Once you have been allocated an eligible placement, you will be asked to complete the Erasmus+ paperwork that will entitle you to the Erasmus grant.  Paperwork guidance will be provided to you by the Outbound team. Please do not worry about this too much as you will be given step-by-step guidance at the relevant times. 

The paperwork consists first of all of an Erasmus Learning Agreement. This is a 'contract' between the student, Exeter and the host university. As part of this Learning Agreement, you need to complete the first 'Before the Mobility' section, which includes the following information:

  • Personal details
  • University contact details
  • The dates of study at your host university
  • The modules you would like to take at your host university (following Humanities guidelines). 
  • Insurance policy for your Year Abroad
  • The three signatures of you, the Humanities Study Abroad team and your host university Erasmus coordinator

One important thing is to allow yourself enough time to complete the 'Before' section of the Learning Agreement, so please do not leave this too late. You will need signatures from the Humanities Study Abroad team and your host university so timing is key to avoid any holiday period. For example, many of our European partners are closed throughout July and August and you will not be able to get any signatures during that time, which will then cause a delay in you receiving your Erasmus grant. Therefore, we strongly suggest you have completed this first section of the Erasmus paperwork by May.

Once all three parties have signed the 'Before' section of the Learning Agreement, you need to send it to the Outbound team at outbound@exeter.ac.uk, and they will then begin the process of your Erasmus Grant application and contact you accordingly.

For more information on the Erasmus paperwork, please see this recording of a talk we gave to students going out in 2019-20. Although the paperwork is quite demanding, remember it's free money so it's definitely worth doing!

Yes, the grant is only payable for the time that you are on your placement so if you leave your placement early, you will have to repay the grant for the weeks that you missed.

However, if you have met the minimum requirements for duration of placement and you left due to unforseen or extenuating circumstances, the National Agency can decide on a case by case basis if you will be allowed to retain the Erasmus grant. You would need to contact the Outbound team if this is the case but also remember you will need to provide evidence of the extenuating circumstances.

You do not pay any tuition fees to the institution at which you're studying whilst away.

Instead, you pay a reduced fee to Exeter for the year you are abroad. This fee is capped at 15% of your normal tuition fee, so for example, home/EU students will pay £1385 for the 2018-19 academic year. 

If you go abroad for a semester, you will pay the full tuition fee for the year to Exeter (and no tuition fee to your host university).

More information about fees can be found here.

For most students, you won't need an actual letter.

Once we have allocated your placement, we will pass these details on to Student Records here at Exeter and they will in turn inform Student Finance. What's more, around May-time, you will be asked by Student Records at Exeter to fill in a Study Abroad section of your MyExeter account with the details of your Study Abroad placement next year. This will include information like next of kin, passport number, dates of study, etc. Some of this information will then be used automatically to inform Student Finance that you will be studying abroad next year. If you need your loan earlier (i.e. if you're going to Australia, whose terms are different), contact Student Finance to let them know. 

If Student Finance send you a Course Abroad form, please complete what you can and then send it to the Outbound team to sign it. 

Please note that Student Finance is not always the most straightforward agency to deal with, so if you have any problems, we would recommend you either contact the Outbound team or the Guild Advice Unit, who students have told us are extremely helpful.

 

Coming Home

Coming back to Exeter after you’ve been away for a year abroad can be a very daunting task, especially if you take a subject in which few of your peers have studied abroad. It can feel strange to come back to an environment which hasn’t changed, but with a completely different set of people being here and with the feeling that you’ve changed a lot since you were last here.

The most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone if you feel slightly lost when you return to Exeter. Every year hundreds of students go on Year Abroads, so you’ll probably find there are more friendly faces here then you thought there would be. Getting involved in the fourth year community both before you go and when you return can make a huge difference, as all of these people will understand the weird and wonderful experience of studying abroad, and will understand how it feels to leave and come back again.

Think of coming back a little bit like doing Freshers again. The key thing is to put yourself out there and make an effort to meet as many new people as you can. Join some societies, speak to people in your classes, and find other people who went abroad. Similar to going on your year abroad, everything becomes easier once you’ve made some friends and started to create a community for yourself.

However, if once you’re back you feel like you would like some help and support when you return, you don’t have to suffer alone. Wellbeing services are available to help you with the transition so it can be worth getting in contact with them early on for some extra support. We’re always here in the Outbound team to help as well- you just need to let us know. 

Finally, the Outbound Study Abroad team have a very detailed page on returning to Exeter which you may find useful.

This is actually a lot easier to do than it sounds. Though Exeter cannot offer halls to returning fourth years, this does not mean you’ll be homeless. The easiest thing to do is to try and arrange to live with people who are doing masters/third year when you’ll be back so they can look at houses and arrange everything whilst you’re abroad.

Alternatively, if you can find other people to live with who are also doing a Year Abroad, you can send a friend who is still in Exeter to go and check out houses for you, or try and arrange it when you are back in the UK for Christmas or the summer.

There are also loads of websites where you can find other students to live with. The most helpful of these is probably Exeter Studentpad which is run by the university and can only be accessed by Exeter students. http://www.exeterstudentpad.co.uk/Accommodation

If all else fails, there are always people posting on Facebook groups throughout the year looking for housemates, so it’s worth keeping your eyes on them whilst you’re abroad. 

Finally, the Guild Advice Unit and FXU Advice and Welfare will be able to support you if you need any extra help.