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Year Abroad handbook: Other work placements AKA 'industrial work placements'

Students who do not see themselves as teachers, or who are not eligible for the British Council’s Language Assistants programme, or who wish to go abroad for a shorter period as part of a split WIYA, may prefer to investigate some alternative arrangement for employment in an appropriate country. Those envisaging careers in, for example, business, finance or public administration can consult the University Careers Service for advice on work placements in appropriate organisations. The School of Modern Languages cannot itself offer information about openings in this field, but the WIYA co-ordinators are always willing to receive and consider a proposal put forward by a student for a work placement of this kind, for a similar duration and in similar conditions to an Assistantship. The School and University do - of course - have to be satisfied that the placement arrangements safeguard both the welfare of the student and the academic value of the placement year, and a specific agreement form is required with the overseas employer to ensure this (see below). In all cases, students must obtain approval for their proposed placement from their WIYA co-ordinator. No placements are permitted in Russia other than those organized by RLUS (see WIYA Programme in Russia ). 

The following websites may be helpful as starting points for students looking for work placements abroad:

The following criteria for work placements should be met:

  • we strongly recommend that students consult their family at an early stage, as there may be financial implications;
  • the employment must allow the student to gain significant linguistic experience, and to carry out the Year Abroad project essay and other WIYA assessments which are a condition for passing the module;
  • in the case of Joint Honours students, they should inform the Head of School in the other subject of their intention to spend a year abroad;

Erasmus+ logo

  • students must follow the University's approval process for work placements. The 'Work Placement Agreement Form' which must be signed by the foreign employer and a representative of the University can be downloaded from the Study Abroad web pages. This form applies to all work placements and not only those eligible for an ERASMUS+ grant. It must be filled in by all students regardless of their nationality and destination. Students who are applying for a work placement other than a Teaching Assistantship should observe the deadline for submission of the filled-in form to their departmental co-ordinator. This earlier deadline is needed to allow time for the University's approval process.
  • once the placement is approved, students should ensure they are registered with the local British Consulate, or that of their own nationality;
  • if problems arise once the employment has started, students must seek the advice of the Head of School or delegate - normally the WIYA coordinator of their Department.

Subject to these necessary safeguards, such arrangements can be very fruitful in the acquisition of experience relevant to a subsequent career, and even in the contact with an eventual employer recruiting graduate trainees.

Volkswagen Translation Internship

Each year, the Volkswagen English Language Services department offers an internship position at Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg.

Placement information:

Volkswagen English Language Services, Undergraduate internship position
Location: Wolfsburg, Germany
Start date: September (of any given year)
Duration: 12 months (negotiable)
Working hours per week: 35

Description of activities/tasks:

Translation (German > English) of various documents for the Volkswagen Group, incl. press releases, letters, vehicle investigations (e.g. for warranty claims, etc.), menus, websites, and presentations.
Interns will translate the majority of their texts using SDL Trados.
Remuneration: approx. €1300/month (net)

Competencies, skills and experience required:

Native English speaker (strictly required)
Second/third year of higher education
Good working knowledge of German
Basic knowledge/experience of translation processes
Excellency in written English (spelling, grammar, style)
High level of computer literacy (in particular Microsoft Office)
Excellent interpersonal and teamwork skills


Contact person: Nikki Martin  (

An e-mail expressing interest in the internship position should be sent to the aforementioned contact person. The applicant will be asked to complete a test translation (approximately 500-600 words, from German into English). He/she will normally be given a week to complete said translation.

Applicants will also be asked to submit a CV and cover letter (both in German); these are passed on to our HR department and Works Council for approval. A successful candidate will then be sent a contract for signature.

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