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Unit information: Year Abroad in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Year Abroad
Unit code AFAC30001
Credit points 120
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Zajko
Open unit status Not open




School/department Arts Faculty Office
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The academic session is spent at a foreign higher education institution which has a student exchange agreement with the University of Bristol . While abroad students will attend lectures and classes and undertake assessments in a variety of topics in their subject pathway and options at a level comparable to the third year at Bristol. As a formative year of personal as well as academic development, the Year Abroad moves students into an environment where they will be required to take greater ownership of their learning experiences, whilst at the same time developing the resourcefulness and adaptability that is necessary to living and working abroad.

The unit aims:

  • to impart knowledge and skills in the subject pathway and complementary optional units at level H/6 as preparation for the fourth year of the MLibArts
  • to develop qualities of independence, self-awareness, and self-organisation, and encourage individual approaches to learning

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit students should have acquired the following:

  • knowledge and skills in their subject pathway and optional units at level H/6
  • enhanced familiarity with another country’s language and/or culture
  • a firm basis for advancing to the fourth year of the programme
  • enhanced understanding of themselves and their goals as students

Teaching details

Methods of teaching will vary widely according to the institution in which the study abroad is pursued.

To facilitate student preparation prior to departure, academic and administrative support is provided as follows (drawing on the considerable experience of the School of Modern Languages):

(a) one 2hr introductory session (‘Thinking About the Year Abroad’) at the end of Y1; (b) one 30-minute presentation on the Year Abroad at the start of the Y2 academic session, introducing the Year Abroad Handbooks; (c) use of Consultation Hours as required to consider individual requirements; (d) one half-day pre-departure briefing in March of Y2, organised by the SWAP Team (Study and Work Abroad Placement) from the International Office, to address practical aspects of the Year Abroad; (e) online tutorials through Blackboard during the second semester of Y2 on how to prepare for the Year Abroad; (f) one half-day pre-departure briefing at the end of Y2 to review, and and to brief students on the Reflective Essay.

All relevant presentations, handbooks, and other information (including a model for the Reflective Essay, and in due course annotated examples of successful student essays, and testimonials from Y4 students) will be posted on a Year Abroad webpage. Their Academic Personal Tutor will contact them at four different junctures throughout the year to monitor their progress, and will also be available for academic consultation as required. Funding for pastoral visits is available from the International Office.

Assessment Details

1. Formative reflective essay, 2500 words due at end of first semester. Students are advised to gather the material for this assignment by keeping a diary. The object is to reflect on the challenges of a different educational environment and the strategies adopted in responding to it; to reflect on themes emerging within and across units taken (e.g. in content, teaching and learning methods, scholarly controversies, research techniques); to think about how what is being learned might begin to shape the course of the M-level year; and, in the light of this, to identify gaps that might need filling, and methods of filling them, either by taking an appropriate unit or by independent study.

2. Prior to departure a learning agreement must be completed. Marks from the different units or different elements of study completed during the year abroad will be combined, on an individual basis, into a single returned mark for this unit following university translation guidelines and with appropriate weighting for each assessment mark according to the appropriate ECTS/cps for that element of study. An overall pass must be achieved and the mark will count for 10% of the final degree classification.

Reading and References

A. Lidstone, and C. Rueckert, The Study Abroad Handbook (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

J.A. Moon, Learning Journals: A Handbook for Reflective Practice and Professional Development, 2nd edn (London: Routledge, 2006)