The Year Abroad is the language school's 'year in industry' and gives you the chance to improve the fluency, accuracy and confidence in speaking your chosen foreign language. You also gain a fascinating insight to a country's culture, and learn how to communicate effectively in a wide range of social and professional situations.
Not only does it improve your language skills and cultural understanding but, it improves your chances of gaining employment following graduation. A four year sandwich course gives students the chance to undertake work placements or study abroad, and has a significant impact on future employment and earnings. Graduates with sandwich degrees have a significant advantage on entering the workplace, and are
- less likely to be unemployed 6 month after completing their course (with 78% in employment rather than 71%)
- less likely to be unemployed (8% rather than 9%)
- and will have higher average salaries (with salaries 8% higher)
than students taking a three year degree.
(Source - Department for Business, Innovation and Skills 2013)
Employers that recruit graduates with international experience rate their professional ability far higher than graduates that have not spent time abroad. This is evident not only in the 'International Competencies' that are most associated with the Year Abroad experience (such as language ability, understanding cultural differences, and ability to work with people from a range of different nationalities) but also in more general Employability skills such as adaptability, initiative and problem solving.
Graduates who have spent part of their degree working or studying abroad are highly valued by employers, who see such experiences as having a significant effect developing the maturity, adaptability and cultural awareness of students alongside the more obvious contribution to their language skills. In particular, multinational companies value the exposure to different cultures, enabling potential recruits to develop the ability to work well with people from a range of different backgrounds and contribute to developing their business internationally.
A recent survey of Year Abroad students undertaken by the University Council of Modern Languages highlights the value for students after graduation - 66% believed it was a significant factor in getting them their first and/or subsequent job.