Integrated year abroad

The integrated year abroad is an opportunity for students of all language levels to spend a year working in country between their second and third year of study. This means the standard Honours language degree programmes takes five years to complete instead of four.

The integrated year abroad placements last at least seven months. During this time, students complete the Integrated Year Abroad module and on their return to St Andrews complete a written report and an oral exam.

Students who undertake the integrated year abroad gain valuable communication skills, global knowledge, and self confidence, making them highly desirable by employers. You will also gain working connections with educational institutions and employers in your chosen country.

Courses which offer an integrated year abroad:


Students of all language levels studying an Honours language degree are eligible for the integrated year abroad.

The entry requirements for all language courses with a year abroad are the same as the entry requirements for the standard Honours degree. However, to be eligible for the year abroad, you will need to gain Honours entry in all subjects that you intend on taking at Honours level. Students who do not achieve entry to Honours-level in their chosen subjects must withdraw from their selected year abroad destination at that point.

Beginners studying an Honours language degree are normally expected to spend a year abroad in order to advance to Honours years (fourth and fifth year). If you are a beginner in two languages (through a joint degree) please consult your year abroad coordinators in both Departments.

The year abroad experience is competitive and is not guaranteed. Places are granted on merit during the second year of study and do not take into account your initial UCAS application. If students are unsuccessful with their year abroad application they will be moved to the four-year Honours degree programme in their subject.

More information about integrated year abroad eligibility can be found on the Collaborations and Study Abroad website

British Council Language Assistantships

There are a variety of options available to students in the School of Modern Languages who wish to undertake a work placement in a country where French, German, Italian or Spanish is spoken. The University enjoys a long and successful relationship with the British Council Language Assistantship Programme. This well-established programme is the most popular option for students wishing to undertake an integrated year abroad.

Applicants are normally British or Irish citizens and native speakers of English. Applications for Assistantships are prepared in St Andrews, with the advice of a member of staff for each language, who is also asked to supply a reference. The applications then pass through a national clearing system organised by the British Council, in cooperation with the Ministries of Education of the relevant countries. Destinations normally include France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Spain, Latin America and Italy. 

Because of fluctuations in supply and demand, there can be no guarantee of an Assistantship appointment for all students who apply. Candidates are invited to express preferences for given areas of their country of choice, and these are taken into consideration in allocating posts, but, inevitably, not all such preferences can be met.

Work placements

Students may prefer to investigate alternative arrangements for employment in an appropriate country if they do not see themselves as teachers, are not eligible for the British Council’s Language Assistants programme, or wish to go abroad for a shorter period as part of a split integrated year abroad.

Students are encouraged to consult the University Careers Centre for advice on work placements in an appropriate organisation as the School of Modern Languages is unable to offer information about work openings in other countries.

In all cases, you must obtain approval for your proposed placement from your integrated year abroad coordinator within the School of Modern Languages.

Russian work placements

There are no teaching assistantships or other work placements available for students choosing the With a Year Abroad programme in Russia. Instead, students spend their year in Russia on study placements on academic programmes in various institutions of higher education in the Russian Federation. All study placements are arranged by the Russian Department in close cooperation with the School of Modern Languages and Russian Language Undergraduate Studies Ltd (RLUS).

Integrated year abroad project

Students studying a single Honours degree in French, German, Italian or Spanish must complete the integrated year abroad project module.

Assessment for this module consists of two elements:

  • A written dissertation project of 5,000 words (80% of the final grade).
  • A ten-minute oral examination (20% of the final grade).

Students studying the Russian MA (Hons) also will complete a written dissertation and a ten-minute oral exam, but the dissertation will be 4,000 words instead of 5,000 words.

The written dissertation is to be written in the language of the country you have visited on a topic agreed with your year abroad co-ordinator. Dissertation topics must relate in some way to the year abroad experience. For example it may be:

  • linguistic (based on the use of language in your region or at your place of work)
  • historical (based on local history relating to your region or place of work)
  • literary (relating to a local author, contemporary or otherwise in your region or place of work)
  • cultural (relating to a local painter, civic institution or newspaper in your region or place of work).

The focus of the oral examination will be the Student’s year abroad experience.

Tuition fees

If you participate in a full integrated year abroad programme, you will be charged half your normal tuition fee for the academic year.

Students undertaking an integrated year abroad in Russia will also be liable for Russian Language Undergraduate Studies Ltd (RLUS) fees.

If you apply for tuition fees from the Student Loans Company (SLC) or from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) and are undertaking a full integrated year abroad, a half tuition fee loan or grant is available from SLC and SAAS.

For more information, see tuition fees for studying abroad