A Lesson on Living.

What were you doing 365 days ago? Chances are you can’t remember, and with good reason, as a lot happens in a year. The length of the third year abroad is really what cements it as an amazing opportunity for you to put the languages you’ve learnt into practice, and to immerse yourself in the culture and life of a new place. Whether you want to study, teach or work, the year abroad can open doors to new opportunities that you might have never considered before.

What will you do?

– Discover, lost treasures in the back roads of Pompeii.

– Live, in the bustling city life of Buenos Aires.

– Explore, in the ancient Incan cities of Peru.


Connection between the University of York and voluntary placements in Peru can lead to amazing opportunities, including exploring the Inca trail.

It all sounds too good to be true. And for many A-level, and 1st/2nd year undergraduate languages students, the year abroad is something mythological that you always talk about with your friends and family, but it never seems to get any more real. So as the time to get on that plane comes closer, and you start to panic about whether you’re fluent enough to buy your breakfast, never mind find accommodation or simply survive on a day to day basis, its reassuring to know that the Language and Linguistic department at York have got your back.

Preparation really is key, and this is recognized at York. Weekly meetings are held throughout the 2nd year which can involve anything from presentations from potential work placement partners (such as teachargentina and volunteachperu) to question and answer sessions with final year students who have completed their year abroad.

When I was deciding where I wanted to go to university, York really stood out to me because whereas other universities tend to focus on literature and teach the language in English, at York there is real emphasis on life in the real world. Seminars are taught in the target language, about cultural issues and current topics. This way of learning is not only extremely rewarding but also amazing preparation for the year abroad. You go into this important year equipped with the right skills to get the most out of it, and to enjoy it enough to not want to come back.

If studying is your thing, you’re in luck. Whether you want to stay in Europe in cultural hotspots like Paris and Madrid, or would rather challenge yourself further afield in the exotic South America, there are so many great opportunities to choose from, and there are more and more university partnerships being developed, most recently with the Universdad de las Americas Puebla in Mexico.

However, If you would understandably rather take a break from student life,  there are easily accessible options to teach all over the world with the British council or find a suitable work placement of your own choice. Past students have worked at prestigious, worldwide companies such as Audi and therefore the connections are already in place. If you have a particular interest or skill, this would be the perfect opportunity to gain invaluable experience in that field.

So, from what I understand, life in the real world is tough. Parents tell you and teachers make sure you know. But what if you could go into the real world with experience? A year long lesson on life. That is the concept that the third year abroad is designed around. There is an abundance of paths that you can follow during this year, tailor it to your interests, your hobbies and your skills and you can come back to York (or not if you enjoy it that much) ready for your future.

Check out www.thirdyearabroad.com for general year abroad advice and how to prepare for it.

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I'm Jacob. A Spanish and Italian student at the University of York. Apart from language learning, I spend most of my spare time managing an accessories brand called Traveller's Flag.

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