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The University of Southampton
Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of HumanitiesUndergraduate study

Study Abroad

How you spend your year abroad is one of the most important decisions you will make during your degree course

Some students decide to spend a year in a Latin American country
Opportunities for year abroad

Students at Southampton receive an integrated linguistic and cultural learning experience which starts in Year One, and which prepares students to make the most of this once-in-a-life-time life opportunity. Similarly, our Fourth Year courses are designed to help students develop even further by putting into practice what they learned residing abroad and by reflecting on the impact this experience has had in their personal growth, their linguistic development and on their professional profile.

In Southampton, we see the Year Abroad to be an experience intrinsically different from a ‘gap year’ in form, opportunities for professional development and general objectives. For this reason, our students embark on an exciting in-depth investigation of an aspect related to their host land they are interested in. By the time they produce their six-thousand word report with their findings, students would have developed crucial research and academic skills which will have fully equipped them to develop as linguists and culturally-aware professionals.

All Modern Languages and Linguistics students, except those taking English as their first foreign language, spend their third year abroad in a country where one of the languages they are studying is spoken.

Combined honours students studying two languages are expected to spend the year in one country, as dividing it between two countries has significant disadvantages - for example students who do this tend to find it very unsettling to move halfway through the year. It is better to spend the summer vacations before and after the year abroad in your ‘second’ country.

You can spend the year abroad either as:

Most students spend the year in a European country, but many go further afield. Contemporary Europe students either go to a university or find a work placement

During the year, you will maintain contact with us, as you will work on an investigative project, exploring an issue of current importance in the place where you are staying. You will have a project supervisor, who will be able to advise you (typically by email) on the progress of your project.

How you spend your year abroad is one of the most important decisions you will make during your degree course. As this decision will have to be taken early in your second year, it would be wise to give it some thought, and perhaps do some research into how you may like to spend your year abroad, during your first year of study. During your second year there will be an intensive programme of preparations for the residence abroad.

Residence abroad preparation

At the beginning of November during your second year a meeting is held for all second year students where the Regulations for Residence Abroad (available to download below) are distributed. It is on this form that students declare their intended activity during their residence abroad.

General information and advice is available from the Study Abroad Team, and it is also useful to speak to other students who have just completed their residence abroad and also incoming students that are currently here at Southampton. Contact lists for these students are displayed on the Modern Languages and Linguistics Year Abroad notice board.

Residence abroad: key contacts



Ian McCall
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 7418

Residence Abroad Administration Team (European and International Exchanges)
Building 2, Room 2011 (Humanities)
Highfield Campus
University of Southampton
Southampton SO17 1BJ
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5186

Residence Abroad Language Coordinators

Lu Rugang
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 9625

Laura-May Leaf
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 6718

Katy Heady
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 2200

Paola Visconti
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 4543

Mark Dinneen
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 3981

Irina Nelson
Tel : +44 (0)23 8059 3971

Study abroad student bloggers

Three of our current Modern Languages and Linguistics students share their study abroad experiences:

Katie Uniacke
Katie Uniacke, BA Modern Languages (Spanish and Portuguese), blogs from Brazil
Frank Andrews
Frank Andrews, BA Modern Languages (French, Spanish and Arabic), blogs from Colombia
Johnny Foster
Johnny Foster, BA Modern Languages (Spanish, German and Japanese), blogs from Cologne

Useful Downloads

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Hear our student's experiences of their year abroad

Listen to interviews with Modern Languages and Linguistics students discussing their third year in France, Portugal, Germany and Mexico.

Find out more

I attended the University of Granada in Spain. It was definitely the best year of my life. I could not believe how lucky I was to live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, to experience a new culture and meet new exciting people…and of course, take advantage of the free tapas! I came home feeling more confident in speaking Spanish, more independent and more open-minded.

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