Thinking about going abroad

So you are thinking about Study Abroad and you want to know more.

At Streatham, we held a talk on Wednesday 23 October 2019 for second-year Humanities students who are interested in Study Abroad for the 2020-21 academic year. If you were unable to attend, we strongly urge you to watch the recording of this Streatham talk.

At Penryn, there was a similar talk for second-year Humanities students on Tuesday 22 October 2019. Again, if you were unable to attend, please watch the recording of this Penryn talk


In addition to the talks, we strongly recommend that all students interested in Study Abroad read the following sections of these webpages to understand many of the aspects which you need to consider.

First and foremost, any Humanities undergraduate student can apply to Study Abroad. However, in order to be eligible to apply for Study Abroad, you are required to have a first year grade average of 60 or above.

The Year Abroad will be in the third year of a four-year degree programme and will be worth 1/7 of your total degree (meaning the second year would be 2/7 and the final year 4/7).

Students who arrive at Exeter on a four-year with Study Abroad programme are prioritised in the allocation of placements. Other students - on three-year programmes - can still apply for a Study Abroad placement but they are allocated only if there are placements remaining after the four-year with Study Abroad students have been allocated. As the number of placements are limited, we cannot guarantee that every student who applies will be allocated a placement.

Changing Programme

Please note that it is not possible to add with Study Abroad to your programme after entry into Exeter until and only on the condition that you have been allocated and accepted a Study Abroad placement in Term 2 of the second year. 

If a student on a with Study Abroad programme does not apply for a placement or does not meet the application deadline, it will be assumed that they have decided not to go abroad, and they will be required to transfer back to the equivalent three-year degree programme.

There are many reasons why students choose to Study Abroad. Here is a summary of why we think it really is an unmissable experience:

• Discover a new culture and become part of it.
Experience a country without just being a tourist. You get to live there for a year and fully immerse yourself in the local culture.

• See your own culture through different eyes
Get a new perspective of your own country and challenge the assumptions you might have had about the world.

• Meet new people
Study alongside students from your host country and become a part of the local community, and make friends from over the world. These friendships are your keys to the global village.

• Develop resilience
Challenge yourself. Moving to a new country and settling into a different university is a tough thing to do but you grow enormously in confidence and learn to overcome problems and manage independently.

• Study different modules in a different way
Enjoy studying in a new academic system and try modules that are not available here at Exeter. Challenge your ways of working and open your mind to new ways of thinking.

• Learn new language skills
Even if you are studying in English, you can still pick up the local language outside of the classroom!

• Expand horizons
Students who return from a placement abroad see the world as their oyster and do not feel restricted to finding work in the UK. They are well-prepared to look for employment beyond these shores.

• Impress employers
Study Abroad looks great on your CV. Employers love students who are willing to get out of their comfort zones and push themselves to try new experiences. You will stand out from the crowd.

So, what are you waiting for? With a Humanities degree at Exeter, the world is yours to explore!

Which universities can you choose from?

Humanities students have the opportunity to study at a number of different partner universities around the world. Where you can study is defined by a number of different variables, including what you study at Exeter, your proficiency level in a foreign language (if any), and personal choice. 

Please bear in mind that you can only study at one of our partner universities. You will not, therefore, be able to apply to study at any institution with whom we do not have an agreement. To find out more about who we are partnered with, you should visit the Global Opportunities Outbound webpages, where you can find the list of all of the partner universities with whom we have an exchange agreement. Do look at the universities listed under your subject.

Please note that if you are a Combined Honours student, you can choose to pick from the universities listed under either of your subjects, but not from both lists. If you are a Liberal Arts student, you should pick from the universities listed under Liberal Arts but if you wish to pick from a university listed under your major, you should request this from the Outbound team.

Can you study in English?

If you intend to study at a partner university that teaches either partly or wholly in English, then you may easily do so. If you wish to study at a university where the main teaching language is not English you should be a fluent communicator in that language. This means you are already bilingual or, for example, you are studying the language at "Advanced" level in the Foreign Language Centre. 

If you don't speak and/or write in a foreign language to a sufficient level of proficiency, you will only be able to choose universities that teach modules in English. The majority of our Humanities partner universities teach in English, apart from those in France and Spain and some of the universities in Italy and Germany, but you should research the institutions as much as possible to ensure that relevant modules are offered in English. To help you, universities that do not teach modules in English should be indicated on the website linked above but if you are unsure, please contact us.

Researching your placement

A lot of research has to go into finding your perfect placement - although we would always argue that it's not the place but the person who makes the year an unforgettable one - and this is the section where you can find some guidance on how best to do so.

First things first, please visit the Outbound Study Abroad pages on Researching Your Placement. This includes a wealth of information on the type of research that you should have done by the time you fill out your application form. You will notice that there is rather a lot to be done even before you state your preferences for the first time, but it is certainly necessary.

When you study abroad, you are expected to take modules which reflect your degree programme here at Exeter. So if you are a History student, you will take history-related modules at your host university abroad. We would encourage you to take classes which would not be available here at Exeter, so for example a History student in Japan may be interested in Japanese history or Asian history courses. 

All students can take up to 25% of their classes outside their core programme, giving you the chance to broaden your knowledge. So if you want to take a course, let's say, in German language or American politics, then you can do this. The modules must, however, be academic and we will not approve of modules, for example, in surfing or skiing (yes we have been asked this before!)

If you are interested in a university which does not offer any modules in your subject area, we would recommend that you do not apply for it. Otherwise, you risk your department not approving your Year Abroad placement, and therefore not being able to go abroad.

Some of our partner universities have a liberal arts college set-up where exchange students are encouraged to take classes across a variety of disciplines. In these circumstances, you should still ensure you can take some modules in your discipline, and then pick classes in subjects as closely related to your subject or the Humanities as possible.

For more information about the number of modules and/or credits you need to take look at the What Can You Study? section.

Main costs

The main costs that you will bear on a Year Abroad are the following:

  • Tuition fee to Exeter (reduced by 85%)
  • Flights and travel
  • Insurance (compulsory)
  • Visa (dependent on the country)
  • Accommodation
  • Living and study costs (food, books, transport etc)

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are paid only to Exeter, and currently stand at 15% of your normal tuition fee. For example, home/EU students only need to pay £1385 for the 2018-19 Year Abroad. You do not need to pay tuition fees to the host university. More information about fees and funding can be found on the Outbound website.


If finances are at all a concern for you, then you should seriously consider the effect living in a certain location could have. For example, if you live in a capital city, then the likelihood is that the cost of accommodation, transport and even food will be a lot higher. As such, you must ensure that you would not be disadvantaged or hard off if you were to live in such a location. 

If you are going to Europe, you will be eligible for an Erasmus grant. This is administered by the Outbound team and even though it is not a huge sum, it is still free money! The grant is not means-tested and therefore it is available to everyone. It will be paid in two instalments. The first allocation of the Erasmus+ grant will be 70% of the overall total and is usually paid at the end of October, the second allocation will be 30% of the overall total and is usually paid at the end of July. In both cases, the Outbound team will not be able to pay you until they receive the funds from the British Council, which can be quite late on. This is why you should not rely on the grant as funding for sustenance and living. Please see the Outbound website for more information.

For students going outside of Europe, unfortunately the Erasmus grant is not available. However, there are some scholarships that you can apply for. Please see the Outbound website for more details.


Some students choose to work while abroad but you will need to check what a study visa to that country would allow. If you are keen to know how expensive a destination is, the best thing you can do is talk to a student who has been there. If you want to be put in contact with a previous Study Abroad student, please contact the Outbound team.

Student Finance

Bear in mind that whilst you can still apply for Student Finance loans (i.e. maintenance) in the same way that you can when you're studying in Exeter and whilst you may receive a grant if you are on an Erasmus placement in Europe, this money may not be sufficient. This is particularly true as costs can increase when abroad, in that most people want to do a bit of travelling around the country or surrounding countries, and participate in more tourist activities. This is an understandable desire, and indeed we would recommend it, but just make sure that you can realistically afford whatever you want to do.

Finally, please note that Student Finance currently pay travel grants to students who are eligible. These are means-tested but they can cover up to 3 return flights plus visa and medical insurance costs. We certainly recommend you research whether you are eligible for this financial support. Here is the Student Finance England Travel Grant page but each national body has its own information so please check.


Accommodation availability in any location changes on a regular basis: in any given year there may be significantly more or fewer spaces in both private and university accommodation. For this reason the College and University are unable to keep track of what happens at each Study Abroad destination available to Humanities students. 

As such, it is your responsibility to look into the cost and ease of finding accommodation. The best place to start would be to look at the accommodation page in the next section of these Study Abroad pages, as this will give you some idea about what you will need to do. You might also want to consider contacting the Outbound team and asking to be put in touch with a current Year Abroad student or a fourth-year student who went to your chosen univeristy, as these students can usually offer a wealth of information specific to that university.

If you have a specific requirement for university accommodation abroad, for health or other reasons, you need to check that the host institution can provide this. Some of our partner universities cannot guarantee university accommodation so if you have any particular requirements, it's a good idea to raise these with the the Outbound team.

Meetings and presentations

If you are considering Study Abroad, then you will need to attend the meetings that we hold in late October/early November. These meetings and presentations will give you the opportunity to hear about the Study Abroad experience and to listen to students who have just returned from their time abroad. These meetings are open to first and second years considering Study Abroad and all students will receive an email with further details during the first few weeks of the Autumn term. Please see the top of this page for the latest meeting.

Contact the team

Feel free to contact us at any time by email, phone or by arranging an appointment with a member of the team.

Once you have completed your research, you will be in a position to start the application process. All of the forms detailed below are very important, so please do make sure that you fill them out properly and keep a copy for your own records.

IMPORTANT - You must ensure that you keep in contact via email even outside of term time, as you may be required at any time to complete and return documentation.

Please remember that only students who have obtained a first year average of 60% or above are eligible for Study Abroad.

The application process for students going abroad in 2020-21 will be open from 1 November 2019 to 20 December 2019. To apply, please follow the information on the Global Opportunities Outbound webpage. You will see that there are the following steps to complete:

  • Check and add the personal information on the first page of the application
  • Submit a maximum of eight choices of destinations in order of preference. You must include a list of the modules that you would like to study at each choice, so you will need to look at the website of each institution and choose from the modules available (see separate section below). Do not worry about the number of credits for each module at this point - just choose 4 per term/semester.
  • If you submit fewer than the maximum 8 choices, this means that these are the only universities you would want to be allocated. If we cannot allocate you these institutions, you will not be given another opportunity to apply for other places.
  • Please note that Combined Honours students need to make the decision through which department they wish to apply for Study Abroad and only make one application with 8 choices of universities on the list for that department eg. if you are doing International Relations and History, you need to decide if you would like to apply for International Relations universities or History ones.
  • Check the Terms and Conditions page and submit your application.

The online form will need to be submitted by Friday 20 December 2019. Until the deadline you will be able to log back on and amend your application. You will be told where you are going by January. On rare occasions, it may not always be possible to offer you a place at one of your choices, but you might then be asked to give us further choices.

Please note that there is no advantage to handing in the form early - we will not judge the applications on a first-come first-served basis. So take your time filling out the application and make sure it's the best it can be.

-        Please note that students who are split between two Colleges need to make the decision through which College they wish to apply for Study Abroad and only make one application with 8 choices of Universities on the list for that College and degree subject eg. if you are doing International Relations and History, you need to decide if you would like to apply for International Relations universities (Social Sciences and International Studies) or History ones (Humanities). 

How do you find modules at your chosen universities?

You will need to research the modules that you would like to take when studying at the partner university in order that you can fill in the application form. The Humanities Study Abroad team cannot keep a complete list of all of the modules that are offered by each partner, as they change each year, just as modules at Exeter do. As such, you will have to carry out this research independently.

You may find that the process of finding the available modules isn't always particularly easy. This can be because modules aren't always put up on the international version of the universities' websites or because other universities simply do things differently to how we do things in Exeter. Either way, you will have to find them.

The best way to find the courses available is to search for 'incoming' or 'Study Abroad' (or 'Erasmus' if you're looking at a European university) within the host university's website and continue the search from there. Alternatively you can look at the part of the website that is written in the target/home language. For those of you who study a language, this may not be so difficult, particularly if you find out the word for 'course', but for non-linguists this may prove rather difficult. In this case, there are two actions that are particularly effective. Firstly, you could find somebody - whether it's a tutor or a student of the foreign language - to help you carry out your research. And secondly, and perhaps more preferably, you can simply email the partner university (particularly their International Office) and ask them either for a list of modules or for a link to their module pages.

For more information about the number of modules and/or credits you need to take look at the What Can You Study? section.

Wherever you go you will not have to pay any fees to the partner university for your normal course of study. The only tuition fee you have to pay is to the University of Exeter and these fees are capped at a reduced rate of 15% of your normal tuition fee. For more information please see the Glolbal Opportunities Outbound website.

If you are going to study abroad in a country that participates in the Erasmus+ programme, then you may be eligible for a non-refundable Erasmus grant. For more information, please see the Cost of Living and Finance section above .

For more information about finance and fees, please check the Outbound website or contact the Outbound team directly. 

Academic Year Before Departure

October/November All Presentation Where can I go? What can I do? Arrow Down

This talk is held at Streatham and Penryn in the Autumn term. In this presentation, we give information on the options that are available to you for Study Abroad. It is generally aimed at second year students, but first year students are welcome to attend if they want to get more information.

The destinations that are available to each degree programme are listed by discipline on the Outbound website.

November All Event Study Abroad Fair Arrow Down Arrow Up

The Study Abroad Fair is held at the beginning of November at Streatham and Penryn and it gives first and second year students the chance to meet students who have been on Study Abroad and discuss their experiences. International students from our partner universities will also be present to give information about their home institutions and life in their home countries. It's a fun event so please come along!

November All Activity Online application opens Arrow Down Arrow Up

The online application is open from November to December. You must indicate when you would like to go abroad, rank your preferred universities and select the modules that you would like to take at each university. More information and the form itself can be found here. Please also see the Study Abroad Application section above.

Please remember there is no advantage in completing the application early. The process does not work on a first-come-first-served basis. Having said that, you do not want to leave it until the last minute!

Mid-December All Deadline Application to Study Abroad Deadline Arrow Down Arrow Up

This is the deadline for the online application for Study Abroad. Any applications received after this deadline will not be considered. As such, we recommend that you get the application in as early as possible to avoid missing the deadline.