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Year Abroad Information

For advice and information regarding visas please go the Office of Global Engagement website using the link given on the right hand side of this page.



CAS YEAR ABROAD: CHOOSING A DESTINATION

This is an extraordinary, probably ‘one-off’, opportunity to combine academic study with experience of another culture. The department will let you know as soon as possible which destinations are available to select from. We recommend that before you decide that you research each available destination. You might find it helpful to bear the following in mind: -

Your intellectual and cultural interests. Clearly, if you wish to acquire seriously good language skills in Spanish and are interested in Latin American culture, then Latin American universities are the place to go. If, on the other hand, the history, literature and culture of North America [the United States or Canada] exercise a powerful fascination, then think about which region and which university will suit you best, both in terms of regional culture and provision of the kind of courses that you wish to take. Caribbean island universities offer yet another possibility, somewhat more restricted in geographical scope but interesting nonetheless.Intellectual challenge, learning environments and career relevance. Consider the extent to which you wish to extend your range of interests and whether you prefer familiarity or difference. Think, too, about the degree of change you would like and are able to tolerate, and whether you want a very structured or more independent learning environment. A year abroad is a great asset when looking for a job: it reflects independence and ability to adapt. Are you looking for more specific cv-relevant factors?.Lifestyle: think about the kind of life you would like to experience, where you would like to live, where you wish to travel and, by no means least, what you can afford.Costs: having a good year doesn’t mean you have to have a lot of extra money. Some destinations are cheaper than others: on the whole, Latin America is cheaper than North America and the Caribbean, but there is much variety. Feedback from students suggests, that South Carolina, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico, Toronto and Queens are more like Warwick in cost terms. Remember that costs are determined partly by you. You may wish to apply to work to supplement your student loans. The department for Global Engagement will be able to provide further advice on work permits as will your host university.

COSTS

Impossible to be precise but you should think about the following:

University of Warwick Fees: approx. 50% of home fees. You pay nothing for tuition to your host institution abroad; we meet these costs.Travel: Transatlantic fares which vary with distance and the time of year you travel; internal travel also varies from country to country. Check with LEA’s on financial support with travelling costs; if you are eligible for travelling expenses now, you will probably be eligible for support for travel abroad. You must stress to LEAs that the year abroad is a compulsory part of your degree.Student Loans: You are eligible for student loans in the normal way. Check with LEAs; the Welfare Officer of the Students Union may also have information and advice on this.

· Books: North American universities invariably require you to buy course books, and this can be expensive. You can often avoid this by using the local university library; however, you will find it difficult to avoid paying for books for language tuition.

ACCOMMODATION

(a) Canada: campus accommodation

(b) Wisconsin: campus accommodation

(c) South Carolina: campus accommodation

(d) Latin American universities: None, except Puerto Rico, offer campus accommodation but private rental accommodation is generally easily and cheaply available. We recommend that you consider staying in family accommodation on arrival, as this is good for your Spanish and will give you time to acclimatise socially. If you seek to rent a flat, as you probably will, remember that owners require you to provide local financial guarantors, to protect themselves against default. Our students have always found ways of dealing with this: e.g. paying a substantial deposit in advance, using a friend as guarantor, etc. Students who have been or are currently in Latin America will provide much useful advice on this.

HEALTH INSURANCE

You must have adequate medical insurance.

OTHER ISSUES

Remember that choosing and financing a year abroad is your responsibility. You must organise your own finances, just as you would in the UK. You must provide for your own travel, visas, accommodation, and living costs. The Department for Global Engagement will provide advice on these practical matters, and CAS will provide advice on academic matters. Neither is a travel agency, however, so please ensure that you leave yourself sufficient time to get visas, economical airfares and so on. Also make sure that you know and understand the visa regulations for the country you intend to go to.

FURTHER INFORMATION

The Department for Global Engagement provides a comprehensive guide to all ‘Year Abroad’ matters. We suggest that you take full advantage of this resource to find as much information as you can prior to completing your application. Students who are currently in their final year and those who are in the Americas at the moment are an even more valuable source of information [see the list of student email addresses; also see the digest of questionnaires from last year'’ students]. Don’t be afraid to contact these people; they will be happy to pass on their impressions and advice. However, also remember the sage advice: “Don’t choose a place just because someone last year had a great time there; it may not be the same for you”. When you have made your choice, CAS and History students who are currently in your place of choice can provide you with a wealth of useful practical advice.