Lukas is 23 years old from Hamburg in Germany, and he's doing his Interpreting and Translating (French and Spanish) degree at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. He is currently spending the first semester of his year abroad in Brussels, and will be heading to Barcelona for his second. As a seasoned and thrifty traveller, here is his advice about making the most of budget airline Ryanair on your year abroad...
So you're sitting there on a March/April afternoon during your University Easter break and are wondering how you should spend your mega-long university summer holiday and all of a sudden, it comes to you! Why not try au-pairing? As a languages student, surely it's one of the best ways to spend your summer? This was my exact thought process when I was in my first year at the University of Leicester and wanted to fill my 12 (yes 12!) weeks of summer doing something that would prepare me for the trials and tribulations of second year!
Karen studied French and European Union Studies at The University of Edinburgh and spent her year abroad in Rennes, France, where she studied political sciences at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques Rennes. After graduation she spent three months in Burkina Faso and is now working as Women's Project Intern at the Moroccan Children's Trust in their London office. We interviewed Karen about her own volunteering experiences, and why the Moroccan Children's Trust is a great charity for year abroaders to get involved with.
Alexander Hylton–Holmes is a Modern Language student at Nottingham Trent University, and is currently on the second leg of his year abroad in Spain. He spent the summer working in a holiday village in France as an 'Animateur' before going to Strasbourg in September, and describes it as the best experience of his year abroad. Here's his advice about finding summer work in France and the ins and outs of being an Animateur...
For those of you who have recently received an acceptance letter to study in Spain, you’re probably already daydreaming about la vida loca that awaits you: a new world where the hardest decision will be which tapas to accompany your glass of sangria, sunbathing on a beach as the sounds of flamenco and salsa music float through the air. For the most part, you won’t be disappointed. However, what the study abroad brochure fails to mention is that your year abroad will be soundtracked by the worst kind of music, that your favourite band would never dream of touring Spain… but also, that the music festivals back at home have been ripping you off for years.
Au pairing is an increasingly popular option for those wanting to live abroad and gain an insider’s view of a new language and culture. Free room and board in an exciting location for a few hours babysitting sounds idyllic, but an au pair holds a unique position within the family, being neither a parent, nor a child, or even really a friend. Add language and cultural differences to the mix, it is not overly surprising that difficulties do occasionally arise. Having been an au pair for four families during my 3 years in France, I have experienced the good, the bad and the downright ugly side of au pairing. Here are the top ten tips I wish I had known before starting - they may well have saved me from being homeless after a mere 10 days in Paris!
Liberty Simpson is studying French with profiency in Italian at Exeter University. She has just come back from 6 weeks as an au pair in Italy and is going to Montpellier for 9 months in September to undertake a work placement for her year abroad. She says, "I would like to write about being an Au pair in a remote Italian village, I found the whole 6 weeks rather challenging and there are many things that I would have done differently." Here is her advice about the challenges of being an au pair...
Louise is a German Studies student at the University of Warwick coming to the end of her year abroad as a teaching assistant in Lauf an der Pegnitz, near Nuremberg in Germany. She says "I want to share with you a little about my travel experiences so you too can learn how to survive in Munich, one of Germany’s most expensive cities, on a shoestring budget!"
It’s a great time to be a year abroad student. The sun has well and truly got his hat on, picnics in the park or at the beach become a daily occurrence, work/university becomes even less of a priority, and one glance at your Facebook or Twitter newsfeed confirms why you took a year abroad in the first place: all your third year friends back at home are panicking through the 17th draft of their dissertation or drowning in revision notes for their final exams, and you’re definitely, definitely not.
Jennifer is a Joint Honours student at Warwick University, and is currently on her year abroad in Germany doing a Language Assistantship in Oberhausen while living nearby in Essen. Here is her advice to help you save money while travelling on your year abroad in Germany.