My Year Abroad

The highlight of any language degree at Bristol is, without a doubt, the opportunity to spend your third year abroad.  It’s a fantastic chance to immerse yourself in a different culture, meet new people, get invaluable work and life experience, travel and, of course, improve your languages.

The Bristol Year Abroad is a lot more flexible than at other universities – as long as you work and/or study for 4 months (or 8 months if you do Single Honours) in any country where they speak the languages you study, you fill the requirements. So if you study French and Spanish, you could spend 5 months in Paris before going to South America for your 2nd half. You can work in both, study in both or do half and half.

In terms of academic work, you have to write two 3,000-word essays in the target languages but it can be on anything so you can choose a topic that really interests you.

It’s worth bearing in mind that there are over 15 months in which to take full advantage of your Year Abroad, because you could start at the end of your 2nd Year exams.  I spent the summer in Madrid, teaching English, before heading to Porto in September to study at the University there until January (coming home for Christmas obviously…!). After a quick turnaround, I was off to Colombia to work for 4 months in a city called Medellin for a non-profit company. In June, I went to Brazil to get my Portuguese back up to scratch and there happened to be a football tournament on (!) so I spent 2 months there before returning to Colombia to travel for a bit.

So, as far as the University is concerned, I studied in Portugal and worked in Colombia. My stays in Spain and Brazil weren’t “official” but I made a point of being in places where my languages would develop.

My advice for planning a Year Abroad would be: Be creative, be selfish, be adventurous, save up for it if you can!




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