Florence Robson, Aug 12th 2014, 15:08 Verified Guru
Personally, I found that my tutor and uni study abroad office weren't much help in the lead up to my year abroad. We had one meeting where they mainly spoke about the British Council Language Assistantships, and then they left us to it! Everyone felt a little deserted. The only university reps that I communicated with about my year abroad were those in the Erasmus office and that was only to email them the necessary documents rather than to ask advice.
I did email the British Council a couple of times once I had applied for an assistant position but I found them to be very slow in replying and often quite vague.
My parents had even less of a clue than I did about how to handle a year abroad, so my main source of advice was friends/acquaintances who had been there, done that! I sent Facebook messages to ex- year abroaders and their advice was really helpful.
Of course, I can only speak from my own experience, as I know from friends that many other universities have very proactive study abroad offices!
King's College London Study Abroad Office, Aug 20th 2014, 07:48 Verified Guru
thank you for your response. I fear your experiences may be similar to others in that UK universities are very encouraging of study abroad these days, but might not always be best equipped to support students. I wonder whether, because you had to be so independent, you might actually have gotten more out of the experience? By being forced to fend for yourself much of the time, source your own answers, and learn through doing, you actually benefited, even if this was arguably not the ideal way to do so...
Lauren Stevens, Sep 15th 2014, 10:43
I didn't find that my university prepared me that well for the year abroad. However, I was given a year abroad handbook by my university, which was fairly useful. I got my information from emails from the British Council and the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (because I was teaching). I also found a Facebook group for the English Language Assistants in Spain and we all gave each other advice. I'm sure the case could be similar for those studying. Twitter is also a great way to get your questions answered quickly. I found that getting a response by email (especially in Spain) took quite a long time and sometimes its just easier to make a phone call or rock up somewhere to ask in person.