Widen your world
In this Section:
Studying abroad ...
- broadens your horizons
- boosts your confidence
- enriches your university experience
- and helps you develop valuable life skills.
Studying abroad introduces you to living in another country and another culture.
Unlike taking a gap year or visiting a country as a tourist, studying abroad gives you a specific purpose and routine in a host country, and allows you to interact on a regular basis with a host country institution within a structured and supported situation. Studying abroad allows you to live as though you were a "resident" of your host country, giving you far greater insight into day-to-day life than a period of travelling may ever do.
You will be surprised how many life skills you may develop through study abroad, and how much knowledge, information and confidence you will accrue. It is one thing to take a train across a country on a holiday, but quite another to regularly travel to a college for lectures that begin at a certain time!
Studying abroad can give you exposure to other cultural ideas about childhood, education, and/or second language learning, so you have a wider arena of experience to draw upon in your subsequent career. It may also open your eyes to career possibilities outside your home country or within specialist areas at home. Having the opportunity to immerse yourself in a foreign language or multi-lingual environment on a day-to-day basis, can support your academic learning in an extraordinary way, even though your destination university may teach your course in English.
At the School of Education, you can ...
- study in Spain through the Erasmus programme
- study in Asia, Australasia, the Americas or South Africa in one of our international partner universities
- take a short summer school course in another country.
Study in Spain
Our Spanish study opportunities are part of the European Commission Erasmus scheme, a European-wide exchange programme for university students that subsidises tuition fees and provides a non-repayable grant to assist with the costs of studying abroad.
School of Education students can apply to study for a year in Madrid or Jaen.
Our international partners scheme spans the globe. You can apply to study for a year at a destination university in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Canada, Latin America (you will need to speak Spanish) or the USA.
Aspects to consider about studying abroad
If you would like to study abroad for a year during your degree here at Leeds, there are a few things to consider.
- Competition for some destinations is high.
- We would require you to achieve a 2:1 in your first-year grade.
- Studying abroad adds another year to your degree programme.
- You may require a visa for some destinations.
- You may need foreign language skills, depending on your chosen destination.
Summer Schools and Short Programmes
If you would like to study abroad but don't want to spend a full semester or year away, then you can apply for one of our summer school opportunities.
Previous programmes have included a month’s course in Chinese language and culture at Wuhan University, six weeks at Korea University in Seoul, and a month in Salamanca to learn Spanish.
In preparation for your study abroad, you have the opportunity to take up discovery modules in the theme of Language and Intercultural Understanding.
Working abroad as part of your degree...
- improves your employability
- helps you to build valuable contacts
- allows you to experience other working cultures
- gives you new perspectives on your future career path.
Working abroad allows you to combine work experience with a period of time in another country.
Although working abroad will challenge you in almost every way, it will significantly improve your employability and allow you to try something that may be difficult to organise later on in life.
Working abroad allows you to immerse yourself in the culture and society of a host country to a greater extent than studying abroad.
Not only do you live as though you are "resident" in your host country, but you will experience a multi-lingual or foreign language working environment where you will interact with host nationals of various ages, gaining an understanding of different working cultures and attitudes to work.
Such exposure will help you to understand the diversity of other people’s backgrounds and values, allowing you to see your own in a new light, and prepare you to live and work within a global economy.
Working abroad is a great way to set yourself apart as someone willing to try new things and unfamiliar situations, and can reap great rewards in terms of your career progression, proving your "adaptability skills" to an employer.
For example, for students, working abroad under the British Council’s Language Assistants programme may be a very valuable opportunity. This programme allows you to work as an English language assistant in a schools or college in Europe, Canada, China or Latin America, giving you the language learning and teaching experience to support your academic studies. For the programme, you need to be an undergraduate native-English speaker on a language degree courses or an undergraduate with the requisite language skills.
Here, at the School of Education, you can ...
- participate in the British Council's Language Assistants programme
- apply to have a European work placement recognised as part of your degree under the Erasmus scheme.
Language Assistants programme
You can participate in the official Language Assistants, administered by the British Council, under Erasmus work placement programme.
The British Council has further information.
European work placements
The Erasmus scheme allows you to arrange a work placement in one of thirty-two European countries, and have the placement recognised as part of your degree course.
If your placement qualifies under the Erasmus scheme, you can apply for an Erasmus grant based on the number of months of your placement to help you with your living costs. Any payment from the job will not affect your right to this grant.
Erasmus is part of the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme, established to promote inter-university co-operation and student mobility.
Your work placement can last for three to twelve months, and can take place in organisations of any size that are involved in economic activities in the public or private sector. However, the placement must be recognised by the School of Education and contribute to your degree.
You are responsible for arranging your own placement, but our careers centre will help you with your search.
Our Careers Centre has more information.
Learning foreign languages ...
- develops your communication skills
- helps you to interact with those that do not speak English
- prepares you for a global and diverse working environment
- enhances your employability.
From a few choice pleasantries to near-native fluency, you never know when your knowledge of a foreign language may be of benefit.
Not only does studying a foreign language help you to understand the diverse nature of verbal communication, it can also open your eyes to new ways of thinking and seeing the world around you.
Proficiency in another language may help you to work abroad, or in diverse workplaces within the UK where young children and their families may not speak fluent English. Even the ability to just introduce yourself, or ask a child’s name, in a family’s first language may break down barriers and build relationships.
Our language centre and exchange scheme
At the School of Education, you have access to a wide range of foreign language resources and specialist guidance through the University of Leeds Language Centre.
The Language Centre covers a full range of language training for current university students. You can study foreign languages on credit-bearing discovery modules, and join the Language Exchange Scheme that puts language learners in contact with native speakers.
You can also use the Language Zone that has audio-visual material, computer-assisted language-learning software, live and recorded satellite TV, and a wide selection of foreign language newspapers, magazines and TV programme guides. There are also language learning course books.
Volunteering helps you …
- pursue your passions
- tune-up your talents -- or find new ones!
- learn how to teach and support others
- develop your understanding of the complex world we live in.
Are you interested in conservation? Want to teach children to horse ride? Would you enjoy renovating bikes or prefer to work on an advice line? Could you help to support families with sick children or befriend those that need a friend? Would you even coach a sport?
Volunteering can give you those practical real-world experiences that compliment your academic studies to create a strong and dynamic skills and knowledge portfolio that you can take forward to employers or use to support further professional or academic development.
For students that wish to pursue a PGCE after graduation, volunteering could give you the experience you need to strengthen your PGCE application and show you have areas of expertise that will promote national curriculum goals and objectives within an educational environment. Many of our students have successfully gained their primary school experience through placements organised by Volunteer Leeds, for example.
Alternatively, you may decide to put yourself in an unfamiliar situation to learn how to be flexible, adaptable, and develop your confidence. You may want to work with people from different backgrounds or circumstances to you in order to further understand diversity and build up your community skills. You may want to test your resourcefulness, learn how to team-work effectively, work practically with children and families, or simply lend a hand because someone needs help.
You never know. Your volunteering experience may be the very thing that reveals a hidden ability or a possible career direction, or helps you to see where you really want to go in life.
Volunteering in Leeds
Leeds for Life help you find the opportunity that is right for you. The hub hosts opportunities with local charities and community groups.
Recently, you could help in a youth drop-in centre, staff a helpline, sort and price charity clothes for sale, act as a media officer, provide home support for families with sick children, become a football coach for a local junior league, help to organise a literary festival, or design a website for a local elderly care organisation.
Leeds University Union volunteering groups and societies
There are also volunteering groups and societies within the Leeds University Union that engage in projects as diverse as helping the homeless and bringing music to the wider community.
Representing others will help you …
- show leadership
- build your confidence
- learn how to be a point of contact
- learn how to present and negotiate a case.
Becoming a student representative is a great opportunity for you to develop key workplace skills.
You will be able to prove evidence of your leadership capabilities and your ability to interact with others in terms of administrative and organisational tasks.
A representative role also introduces you to decision-making and the politics involved in presenting opinions to a varied group of people.
You will discover how to chair meetings and develop your awareness of feedback and change processes, as well as gaining experience of some operational aspects of the organisation or institution you interact with as a representative: be that the School of Education, your Halls of Residence or the University itself.
These experiences may be extremely useful for you when you find yourself in your own workplace meetings or you need to implement change or respond to feedback and suggestions in your own professional capacity.
As a student at the School of Education at the University of Leeds, you can become involved in representing your fellow students in many ways.
You can apply to become a course rep, a community rep or an academic rep. You can run to become a hall rep or activities rep, and you can even join the leadership race to run for the Students' Union Exec.
Learning about broadcasting and publishing may …
- enhance your employability
- help you discover new skills
- expand your understanding of your own career possibilities.
As a student at the School of Education at the University of Leeds, there are a number of opportunities for you to develop your media skills.
Although these skills do not seem to directly relate to your degree course, you may find they help you to think about future career opportunities.
For example, you may be interested in working for a company that specialises in creating media products for children: books, films, audio Mp3s or TV programmes, either educational or entertainment. You may discover you want to be involved in developing language education material across a variety of media, or you want to create your own materials for use in your professional context.
The Gryphon is the award-winning student newspaper at the University of Leeds, written by students for students.
To write, report, review, design or photograph for the paper, you can join the society. You can then become involved in as many sections of the newspaper as you like.
Leeds Student Radio
Leeds Student Radio is one of the most successful student radio stations in the UK. If you join the LSR team, you have the opportunity to be a presenter or a producer; you can write reviews, conduct interviews or read the news -- the possibilities are wide and varied.