• Studying and working abroad

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    Are you thinking about studying or working abroad? We offer lots of different opportunities, including short-term summer courses, full semester study options and European traineeships during the summer or after you finish your degree. Whatever your choice, this is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know to prepare.

    Studying and working abroad offer an amazing opportunity to discover a new culture and make friends from around the world. You will also be picking up skills that employers look for, which can get you ahead in the job market.

    Whether you would like to study or work abroad for a summer or a full semester, there is a lot you need to do before you are on way. These pages provide information to help you plan the experience that is best for you.

    Want to find out more? Join us at a Study Abroad information session. Dates for the autumn will be confirmed in September.  

  • Covid-19 considerations

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    The Covid-19 pandemic has affected international travel and created uncertainty for students planning to study abroad. Travel restrictions, quarantines and other measures have been put in place by governments around the world. 

    In March, the UK government advises against non-essential international travel for all residents of Britain for an indefinite period. As a result, SMU cancelled outbound student and staff mobilities that were scheduled to take place during summer 2020. We encourage students to reapply for summer mobilities in 2021.

    Students looking forward to spending Semester 2 abroad during 2020/21 should consider the following information:  

    • Monitor the guidance from the UK, your home country and your destination country/locality to ensure you know the latest news. Be flexible as your plans may change. 

    • Have a plan and maintain adequate funding, travel and health insurance in case you get ill or need to leave your host country with little notice.

    • Know the risks and discuss health and safety concerns with your family and GP.

    • Consider that in-person teaching may be cancelled and your classes may move online.

    • Understand cancellation policies and avoid making financial commitments that may not be refunded if plans change.

    The University constantly reviews government guidance, advice and policies and will provide updates when more information is available. Please get in touch with nina.langlie@stmarys.ac.uk if you have questions or concerns about your scheduled or cancelled mobility. 

    • Why should I study or work abroad?

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      Studying abroad was an amazing and very unique experience. You learn to deal with new, challenging situations where you are immediately drawn in to have conversations with different people and learn different ways of communicating. This opens you up to the world. I felt that I could learn something new every day without being consciously aware of it. - Laura (BSc Psychology) studied during the summer at Sophia University, Japan  

      Living, studying and working abroad can be life changing and open you up to new experiences and ways of thinking. You can immerse yourself in life in your host country and take advantage of all the fantastic opportunities that present themselves.

      Studying abroad has been shown to contribute positively to your overall learning experience. You gain skills and qualities that are essential in our current age of globalisation. The most important of these is intercultural competence: an ability to operate successfully in cultures and contexts that are fundamentally different from your own on a personal, academic and professional level. You will notice that your learning experience will reach far beyond the classroom or workplace. All of these experiences will help you succeed in your academic work and prepare you for life after university.

      • Semester Abroad in Year 2

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        You may study for a full semester at one of our partner universities in the United States, Australia or Europe. This option takes place during your second year of study. The semester abroad is integrated into your degree, which means you can graduate on time after three years. As you are expected to gain academic credit for your semester abroad, this option requires that you receive approval from your programme director for the semester and modules you plan on undertaking abroad before you depart. 

        If you would like to study in Australia or the United States, you will be hosted by one of our study abroad exchange partners. If you would like to study in Europe, you will be hosted by one of our Erasmus+ partners and receive a stipend to support your living costs. 

        You must apply for the semester programme during your first year in order to go abroad during your second year. The application deadline is 1 March.

        Where can I study?

        You can study at one of our 30 partner universities across the world. We have Semester Abroad partners in the USA, Australia and Europe. You can find more information about our partners in the Partners section. 

        Student experiences

        The best thing about my experience was having the opportunity to live in another country while learning about their culture, education and way of life. Along the way I was able to make lifetime friends from all over the world and share my experience with them.  - Matthew, BSc Sports Coaching Science, Semester Abroad at Malmo University in Sweden


        The semester abroad is open to Year 2 undergraduate students. You must apply during Year 1.

        Your Year 1 grades matter! You must maintain an average of at least 55 in your first year to participate in a semester abroad. Some partners have higher grade requirements. You will not be eligible to study abroad if you fail any of your Year 1 modules. If you do fail a module, you must pass it during the summer resit period in order to be able to study abroad. 

        You will be asked to choose from our partner universities that have been approved for each degree. We have limited spaces available at each of our partner universities and request that you provide at least 4 options where you would be happy to study. We will allocate spaces based on your preference, suitability for your studies and academic achievement. If you have questions about the different universities, please get in touch with the Study Abroad team.

        Money matters  

        Semester abroad students continue to pay tuition to St Mary’s while they’re away. Students do not pay tuition to host universities, but are responsible for paying for accommodation, meals, visas (where necessary), flights, internal travel, books, study supplies and any applicable fees. You may also be required to purchase insurance. Semester programmes tend to be higher cost than summer programmes, but keep in mind that you would need to pay for living expenses if you were spending your semester in London. See the Sample Costs information sheet for an indication of costs for selected programmes. 

        Funding Sources

        If you are eligible for a tuition loan, you will still receive this funding to cover your St Mary’s tuition during the semester you are away. 

        Travel Grants

        If you receive a maintenance loan, you may be eligible to receive a travel grant from Student Finance England to help cover the extra costs incurred by studying abroad. This grant reimburses your costs, which means you will need to pay all costs up front and retain your receipts to submit to Student Finance England. 

        Erasmus+ Grants

        You can receive a grant of €370 to €420 per month per month to studying at one of our EU partner universities. Please note that this funding is contingent on St Mary’s continued participation in the Erasmus+ programme.

      • Summer Abroad programmes

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        SUMMER 2020 UPDATE 

        Due to travel restrictions and concerns around Covid-19, the UK government advises against non-essential international travel for all residents of Britain for an indefinite period. As a result, SMU has cancelled outbound student and staff mobilities that were scheduled to take place during summer 2020. We encourage students to reapply for summer mobilities in 2021.

        Summer Abroad is another great way to gain international experience! St Mary’s partner universities offer a range of fantastic short-term summer schools that you can participate in during any summer of your studies. These programmes are less expensive and require less preparation than a semester programme. Most are open to students on all courses.

        Each summer school offers its own curriculum and social activities. In addition to choosing the location you're interested in, please make sure the classes meet your interests. You should plan to participate fully in all activities even though the credits will not transfer back to your degree. 

        Where can I study? 

        Our Summer Abroad options are in Australia, Japan, Germany, Malaysia, South Korea. Please see the Summer Abroad Programme sheet for the most up-to-date information.


        We have over 20 spaces available for Summer Abroad programmes. You can participate in the summer programme during any year of your studies, though some programmes require completion of Year 1 (Level 4). Most summer programmes are open to undergraduate and postgraduate students studying all majors. Please ensure you are interested in the topics offered at your chosen programme. 

        We generally have enough spaces available for all students interested in summer programmes. We ask that you choose at least two programmes in case one fills up. In this case, preference will be given to students have not previously studied abroad. We may also consider academic achievement when allocating places.

        Your grades matter! You must maintain an average of at least 50 to participate in a semester abroad. Sophia University in Japan requires a minimum average of 57 to participate in their programme. If you fail a module, you must pass it during the summer resit period in order to be able to study abroad. You must ensure that participating in a summer programme does not conflict with the resit period. 

        Money matters  

        Tuition is waived for all summer programmes. You will need to pay for accommodation, meals, flights, internal travel, and study supplies. You may need to get a visa for some countries and may want to purchase additional insurance. Summer programmes tend to be less expensive than semester programmes. See the Sample Costs information sheet for an indication of costs for selected programmes. 

        How to apply

        1) Research options. Decide which programme and which summer you want to study abroad.

        2) Fill in St Mary’s application by 1 March.

        3) After you receive confirmation of your allocated summer programme, fill in the host university’s application.

        5) Provide all necessary documents and details for your visa, accommodation and modules

        6) Make travel plans and prepare for your summer abroad!

      • Traineeships in Europe with Erasmus+

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        Why not internationalise your CV with a structured work placement anywhere in Europe? You can do this during any summer you are enrolled or for up to one year after completing your course at St Mary’s. Many students participating in traineeships are eligible to receive a stipend to support living costs through the Erasmus+ programme.

        If you are interested in this option, you are responsible for finding and confirming your placement. You can find opportunities online or stop by Career Services for some pointers. You can also sign up for our mailing list and we'll send through opportunities as we receive them. 

        What kind of work can I do?  

        Recent St Mary's graduates have worked as Teaching Assistants at a British School and Interns at a multinational corporation in Spain.  

        Sports Rehabilitation students can participate in an arranged traineeship with University of Comillas in Spain during the summer before Year 3. Speak with Elaine Mullally for more details. 


        Traineeships are open to all undergraduate and postgraduate students in all degrees. You may participate in a traineeship during any summer during your studies or during the 12 months after you graduate. Please contact the International Department for more details.    

        In order to receive funding, your traineeship must last a minimum of 2 months and maximum of 12 months. Traineeships undertaken before you graduate must be related to your degree.  You will need to fill in and submit the proper paperwork to certify your participation in the Erasmus+ programme before, during and after your placement.    

        In order to be eligible for funding, you must apply to participate in a traineeship by 1 March. You do not need to have a traineeship arranged when you apply, but we do need to know that you are interested. You must confirm your traineeship and complete all necessary paperwork at least 4 weeks before beginning your traineeship. 

        Money matters 

        You will need to cover your own accommodation, meals and travel during your traineeship.  You will want to start thinking about how you’ll fund your time abroad as early as possible.  

        Erasmus+ grant   

        You may be eligible to receive a grant from €470 to €520 per month to help cover your living costs during your traineeship. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds may be eligible for additional funding. 

        How to apply 

        1) Research options. Decide which summer you would like to work abroad. 

        2) Fill in St Mary’s application by 1 March to let us know you're interested. If you are interested after this date, please contact nina.langlie@stmarys.ac.uk to discuss your options. 

        3) Research options and apply for traineeships. 

        4) Confirm your placement details with the Study Abroad team and provide all necessary paperwork at least one month before starting your traineeship. 

        5) Make sure you have accommodation, make travel plans and prepare for your work experience! 

        6) After your mobility, submit your Confirmation of Attendance and fill out the required EU survey to receive the final installment of your grant.  

      • Study Abroad partner information

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        In this section, you will find information about some of our partner universities. You can find more information on each partner's website. Please contact the International Department if you would like more details about a university. This site is updated regularly but some of the information is from previous years. 

      • European Erasmus+ partners

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        In addition to Study Abroad Programme opportunities with our partner institutions in the USAAsia and Australia, St Mary’s also offers students the opportunity to study at a number of universities within the EU through the Erasmus+ programme.

        The language of instruction is usually English, so you do not need to worry about language requirements. However, some of our partners offer only a limited amount of modules taught in English and we strongly recommend that you learn the native language of the country you are planning to visit. Our partners offer preparatory language courses and there is the option to do an online course prior to departure free of charge.

        One thing to bear in mind about Erasmus+ exchanges is that they are set up on a departmental or school basis. Please see our list of partner universities below to find out if your course is offered at one of our partner universities. St Mary’s students go abroad during the second year of their undergraduate studies.

        Erasmus+ grant 

        The Erasmus+ programme is run on a slightly different basis to Study Abroad in that it is possible to get a grant from the European Union (in addition to your normal student funding) in order to study at one of the participating European universities.

        If you choose to participate in the programme your fees are paid as normal to St Mary’s and no additional fee will be charged. However, students are expected to pay for their living costs and accommodation while on exchange.

        Czech RepublicCharles University, PragueTheology and Religious Studies
        FranceEMD - École de Management, MarseillesManagement, Business Studies
        FranceICP - Institut Catholique de ParisCommunications, English Literature, History, Theology, Religious Studies
        FranceUniversité Toulouse Jean JaurèsHistory
        GermanyJustus-Liebig Universität GiessenEnglish Literature, Creative and Professional Writing, Psychology
        GermanyUniversität KonstanzEnglish Literature, Creative and Professional Writing
        IrelandDublin City UniversityEducation and Social Science, Arts and Humanities courses
        PortugalUniversidade de CoimbraSport Science and related courses, Physical Education, Tourism
        SpainUIC BarcelonaBusiness Studies
        SpainUniversidad de BurgosPrimary Education (staff exchanges, not for studies)
        SpainUniversidad de Cantabria, SantanderTourism, Business Studies
        SpainUniversidad de Deusto, BilbaoApplied Physics, Psychology
        SpainUniversidad de Navarra, PamplonaNutrition, Primary Education, Education and Social Science (staff exchanges, not for studies)
        SpainUniversidad Pontificia Comillas, MadridBusiness Law, Sports Rehabilitation Traineeship
        SpainCEU - Universidad San Pablo, MadridFilm and Screen Media, Communications, History
        SwedenMalmo UniversitySport Science


        We will accept Erasmus+ applications for mobilities up until 30 September 2021 (funding TBC). 

        There is no immediate change to the UK’s participation in the Erasmus+ Programme following the EU referendum result and the UK National Agency will continue to manage and deliver the Programme across the UK.  However, the UK's participation in the Erasmus+ programme after 2020-21 has not been confirmed.  

        You can find the most up-to-date information about the impacts of Brexit on the Erasmus programme here

      • Money matters

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        Studying abroad for a summer or semester will probably cost more than if you stayed in London, so it's very wise to start thinking about how you're going to fund your time away and plan a budget to keep you on track. 

        Some of the costs will be extra, such as flights and visas, but keep in mind that you would also have to pay for accommodation, meals and local travel in the UK, as well. 

        If you're going away for a full semester, you'll pay tuition to St Mary's as usual and receive your regular student finance. Some semester students are eligible for a Travel Grant from SFE, which you can read more about on the sheet below. 

        If you're going to study at one of our European partners through Erasmus+, you may be eligible to receive a grant to help you cover the costs while you're away. Grants vary from €370-470 per month. Additional funding of €120 per month is available for eligible disadvantaged students. You can also receive grants for European work placements from 2 to 12 months in duration.  

        If you're going for a summer, please check out the information about our bursary scheme to support students from eligible widening participation background. More details will be available here soon. 

        You can plan for or manage a lot of your costs while you’re away, but do try to budget a bit extra so that you can take advantage of opportunities to experience new things while you’re away. You can find a budgeting sheet at the end of this booklet.

      • St Mary's Go Abroad Grants

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        We are happy to announce St Mary’s Go Abroad Grants to help cover the extra costs of studying abroad. The grant is open to fee-paying Home and EU undergraduate students who meet Widening Participation criteria below.  

         2020/21 Semester Abroad (funding TBC)

        Students will receive a grant up to £500 to help cover the costs of a round-trip economy class plane or train ticket to one of our Semester Study Abroad and Erasmus partners in Australia, Europe, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea or the USA. These grants are dependent on funding and will be confirmed in Spring 2020.

        Widening Participation Criteria

        The University is committed to ensuring that our student body reflects the diversity in wider society and to enabling as many students as possible to benefit from the full range of experiences we offer, regardless of social or economic background or circumstances. We are particularly keen to ensure that all opportunities are accessible to a wide a range of students, particularly to students from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in HE or who may have experienced disadvantage. To this end, it is the University’s goal to encourage all students interested in studying abroad and to provide financial support where economic circumstances may be acting as a barrier to participation.

        We encourage you to apply for this bursary if you are a fee-paying Home or EU undergraduate student and meet any of the following criteria: 

        • Low-income background (generally with a household income under £25,000/annum)
        • From an area with low participation in HE or if your parents did not go to university
        • Care leaver, care experienced or estranged from your family
        • From an ethnic minority background (including BAME, Gypsy, Traveller and Roma)
        • Living with a disability
        • Returning to learning as a mature student (aged 21+)

         How does the grant work?

        1.     You must first apply and be accepted to the Summer or Semester Study Abroad programme. Check the box on the application indicating that you would like to be considered for the grant, and we’ll confirm your eligibility. 

        2.     Once you’ve been accepted to study at one of our Partner Universities, you may buy an economy-class round-trip plane ticket from your home country to your Study Abroad destination.

        3.     Submit the receipt from your ticket to studyabroad@stmarys.ac.uk before the deadline in order to claim your grant. (Further details will be released in the summer for Semester Study Abroad grants.)  

        4.     Study abroad, have a fantastic time, then fill out a short survey about your experiences when you return. We also hope that you will choose to share your experience with other students.


      • Application process and timeline

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        The application to study during summer 2020 and Semester 1 (Autumn 2020) is now closed. We may still accept applications for Erasmus traineeships or to Study Abroad during Semester 2 (Spring 2021), depending on availability.  

        Please contact the Study Abroad team if you have any questions. Below is a brief listing of the main steps all students must follow to study or work abroad. You can find more details about the process and timelines for Semester Abroad and Summer Abroad programmes on the information sheets. 

        The application process for studying or working abroad requires multiple steps and you must provide necessary documentation and stay on top of deadlines. The Study Abroad team and Programme Directors are here to support the process, but it is your responsibility to make sure you stay on track! 

        How to apply

        1) Research options. Decide when you would like to study or work abroad.  

        2) Fill in St Mary’s application on SIMMSpace. For Semester Abroad, be sure to request an academic reference from one of your lecturers with enough time to meet the deadline.

        3) Once you receive confirmation of your allocated host university, confirm your interest then fill in the host university’s application.

        5) Provide all necessary documents and details for your visa, Erasmus+ grant (if applicable), accommodation and modules. 

        6) Make travel plans and prepare for your time abroad

      • Preparing to study abroad

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        Once you've been accepted to Study Abroad, it's time to start preparing! 

        Preparing for your time abroad requires that you are organised and follow through with all of the required tasks and paperwork. It may seem overwhelming at times, but your persistence will pay off. This materials in this section provides information to help you with the practicalities of going abroad, from applying to your host university to making sure you're taking the right modules.

        The admissions process will vary for each host university. Unless you have notified them otherwise, the Study Abroad team has provided your St Mary’s email address to your host university. Make sure you read any emails or letters you receive from your host university, follow instructions and meet all deadlines. 

        If you are going abroad in the summer or during Semester 1, you will receive information about the admissions process for your host university during the spring and summer. If you are going abroad during Semester Two, you will receive more information in the autumn of Year 2.

        It is your responsibility to make sure you're meeting your deadlines and following the process. Your Programme Director can provide academic advice, but it is up to you to discuss your choices with them. The Study Abroad team is here to answer your questions and provide guidance as you get ready to go abroad.  

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