The International Placement Year

Spending a year abroad is an integral and assessed part of our language degrees. It gives you the opportunity to improve your language proficiency, broaden your cultural knowledge and gain transferable skills that are much valued by employers.

The International Placement Year is compulsory for students taking Chinese, French, German or Spanish at major level. Please note that there is no placement year for Italian.

What are the advantages of an International Placement Year?

During the International Placement Year students have the opportunity to develop various skills:

  • Improve your language proficiency
  • Broaden your cultural knowledge
  • Enhance your personal development
  • Gain transferable skills that are much valued by employers
Students walking outside

What are your options?

We offer flexibility to split your time abroad between different activities

  • Study at a partner university in a EU or non-EU country
  • Teach as an English language assistant with the British Council
  • Work on a placement with a company
Bordeaux street scene

Studying abroad

You can choose to study courses taught in your target language at one of our partner universities.

Lancaster University’s current European partner institutions for languages degrees are:

Lancaster University also currently partners with the following institutions outside of Europe:

If you are studying Chinese, during your International Placement Year you will be able to study or undertake a work placement in a Chinese language environment. Current partners are:

Only some of the universities listed above are available to MLang students. International Placement Year tutors will advise.

Work placements

You may wish to spend your International Placement Year on a work placement for a company or as a Language Assistant for the British Council. This adds invaluable work experience to your academic skills.

We will support you in identifying opportunities and securing internships as part of the second year ‘Preparation for International Placement Year’ module.

For students studying two languages, we do not have set rules about your choice of destinations. Students taking three languages are required to spend their International Placement Year in at least two language-specific environments. Beginners level students will normally spend some or all of their year in the country of their beginners level language.

Here are some examples of where our students have undertaken placements previously:

French work placements:

  • Brand Project Assistant, Nomen Communication Agency, France
  • Business Development Intern, Maupard Fiduciaire, France
  • Event Coordinator, MJC Annonay, France
  • Website Coordinator and Client Liaison, Roomlala, France

German work placements

  • Social Media and Editing Internship, MMC, Munich, Germany
  • Transport Market Internship, LKW WALTER Internationale Transportorganisation AG, Wiener Neudorf, Austria
  • Teacher and Translator, AREVA GmbH, Erlangen, Germany
  • International Relations Office Internship, BOKU, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Germany

Spanish work placements:

  • Internship, British Chamber of Commerce in Madrid, Marbella and Barcelona, Spain
  • Culture and Language Facilitator, CII Teach Argentina, Argentina
  • Marketing Intelligence Internship, Underwriters Laboratories Ibérica, Barcelona, Spain
  • Internship for CAMeNA (Centro Académico para la Memoria de Nuestra América), Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México, Mexico
  • Drama and English Classroom Assistant, SEK International Schools, Catalunya, Spain

Work with the British Council

You may apply to spend your International Placement Year working as a Language Assistant with the British Council. This role involves supporting the teaching of English in a school or university, planning activities and producing resources to help students improve their English as well as introducing UK contemporary culture through classroom and extra-curricular activities. You may also support the running of international projects and activities.

Wiktoria Wilk, BA (Hons) Spanish Studies with Chinese

Wiktoria’s placement experience

On my International Placement Year (IPY), I lived both in China, in Xi’an, and in Peru, in Lima. The IPY allowed me to gain worthwhile work experiences as well as valuable life lessons. It is especially important to emphasise that the IPY is not only about our placements. It’s about exploring, meeting local people, visiting new places, trying new things that we wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn in a lecture or seminar or on vacation. There is no doubt that the IPY was the most exciting, challenging and insightful year of my life.

Wiktoria Wilk, BA (Hons) Spanish Studies with Chinese.

two students laughing

How do we support our students?

We aim to offer a range of support, for example:

  • Regular preparation meetings from first week of second year and a dedicated preparation course running throughout the second year
  • All aspects covered: organisational, social and cultural, health and safety
  • Dedicated International Placement Year tutors providing individual personalised advice

We take your health and safety seriously and make sure that you feel fully prepared for any issues that may arise during your placement. We do this by integrating health and safety into the briefings and courses you will attend before you travel, and through contact and support during your placement.

The students' experience

The international placement year is an immersive experience that is integral to language and culture degrees at Lancaster University. Find out what our students gained from the experience.