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Student Wellbeing when Studying or Working Abroad

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The aim of this project is to undertake a review of the wellbeing experiences of students on work or study abroad. The project seeks to collate the experiences of students who have spent or are spending time abroad in the course of their degree programme, with the particular aim of examining how these students have managed their wellbeing abroad and how they have been supported in terms of their wellbeing by the institution.

The project will collate student experiences in the first instance through student-led focus groups and online surveys and will then provide the platform for student participants to shape the next phase of the project which will seek to develop a student-designed institutional framework for supporting students with their wellbeing while abroad.

The student participants are the principal leaders of the project. These students have all undertaken a Year Abroad and their first-hand experience will be vital in shaping the project and the review document.

Meet the students:

Student Leader: Halina-Joy Gadbury
Halina

"I am a current postgraduate studying MA for Research in French and Francophone Studies, having graduated last summer in French and German. My current research is focusing on how the Holocaust is taught within French and UK educational contexts, centring specifically on the representations used in classroom settings. Having been part of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at Warwick for the past five years, it has given me a range of different opportunities to extend my love for languages outside of the University curriculum, including participating in academic conferences and leading talks on the importance of studying languages in schools. Outside of my studies, I offer English, French and German tutoring and am a Volunteer Translator for the Wiener Library in London. I spent 9 months of my Year Abroad in Germany as a teaching assistant and a month in France combining study and research. Having loved the time I spent abroad and embraced the experiences I was given, I am keen to discover whether the necessary support networks are in place to ensure that every student who has the opportunity to work or study abroad benefits from the rewarding experiences it can bring. As student leader for the project, I will assume a principal role in the collation of our findings and the write up of the report."

Student Participant: Izzy Gatward

Izzy

"I am currently a final year undergraduate in the SMLC studying French and German. As part of my year abroad, I spent 9 months in Strasbourg as an English teacher, before moving to Germany to complete a separate internship as a classroom assistant in Stuttgart. Throughout the year, I did a lot of private language tuition and occasional work as a freelance translator, something which I’ve managed to continue with since being back in the UK. I’m equally very involved with teaching outside of my studies, running classes for various dance clubs and societies both on campus and outside of the university, as well as regularly performing and competing myself. Having worked this past year as student co-ordinator for the SMLC peer mentoring scheme, wellbeing is an area of university life which I am very invested in and I’ve become very aware of the mixed experiences that students can have whilst working or studying overseas. It is for this reason that I’m looking forward to being involved with this project and seeing how our findings can help ensure that every student manages to get the most out of their year abroad."

Student Participant: Hanna Ward

Hanna

"I am a third-year student at Warwick studying French with Theatre and am currently on my year abroad which has so far taken me to France and later on in the year, Belgium! I am really excited to be involved in this project which puts an emphasis on student wellbeing during such an important and exciting year for students."

Student Participant: Faustino McCalla St Luce

Faustino

"I am currently a final-year student, based in the PAIS department, taking Politics, International Studies and French. I spent my year abroad in France at Sciences po Aix-en-Provence, studying for a Certificat d’études politiques (Certificate in Political Studies). I managed to get involved in a great range of activities throughout the year, both social and academic, including representing Sciences Po in local, regional and national university basketball competitions. At Warwick, I spent two years as a PAIS & Modern Languages SSLC representative working on issues around course delivery and student experience. Whilst I had fantastic experiences throughout my 10 months abroad, alongside the time that I’ve spent working in Washington D.C. and New York, I am also acutely aware of the challenges that can accompany any time spent living away from home. As such, especially as there will potentially be some major changes to British students’ experiences studying and working abroad (in Europe at least), I am keen to engage with a project seeking to uncover how students might be better supported during their time overseas, such that they are best placed to make the most of what should ideally be a fantastic experience."

Our project timeline:
This timeline clearly lays out how we aim to progress with the project. It will ensure we keep on track and reach our end goal.

Timeline

Project Update:

"It has been really interesting working with the other student participants on the project and gaining an insight into each others experiences whilst abroad. We first pooled ideas together to determine the best way to conduct our research. We thought that conducting interviews and creating an online survey would generate responses which could be analysed most effectively. I spent a week or so composing survey questions which I then proposed to the other students. After taking into consideration different suggestions, we have identified our questions and will be launching our survey once we have ethical approval in April. I also created interview questions for tutors and co-ordinators who are happy to give an insight into their experiences of support networks and student wellbeing and we are currently conducting these interviews. We have also identified other data sets to be analysed, e.g. SMLC Year Abroad questionnaire, which we will start doing in the next couple of weeks and have begun to think about different contacts outside of the SMLC, e.g. YA co-ordinators across the institution, to ensure that our findings are as representable as possible. We also intend to present an initial summary of our findings at the Education Conference on 14th May." - Student Leader, Halina-Joy Gadbury

To access our final project report, please click here.

Project Lead: David Lees

Associate Professor of French, SMLC

To access our final project report, please see the link at the bottom of the page.