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Study Abroad Fair: Thursday October 22nd Great Hall, Aston Webb


Set up for the Fair

Packed lunch and t-shirt allocation
The Fair

Setting up for the fair will commence at 10.30am. The Fair will be open to interested students
from 12pm to 3pm.

If you can come along earlier wed really like your help in setting up for the
What to wear
You should wear a Study Abroad & Exchanges t-shirt (provided, free of charge!) which will be
provided with sensible bottoms and footwear. Please no miniskirts or ripped jeans etc.
Mobile phones
Please turn your phone off during the fair.
As you are working for less than three hours there is no legal requirement for you to have a
break. Obviously though if you need a comfort break then that is fine but if you could make
sure your team on the stand know where you are and you are not gone for an unreasonable
amount of time then that would be great.
(There will be a break for lunch at 11.30am before the Fair starts at 12)
Emergency procedures
We will run through these very quickly before the start of the fair so please make sure you
turn up on time and pay attention to these.
What jobs you are expected to do
You will all be allocated to the stand of the country that you are from/went to. You will have a
backboard behind you which will be decorated in the morning and a table and 2 chairs. You
are not expected to spend the whole time sitting down!
You may also be asked to register students at the fair or assist with getting students to
complete feedback forms, however this will be done on a rotational basis.
Your main objective is to approach students to ask where they are thinking of doing their year
abroad and be positive, encouraging and persuasive to convince them that a year abroad
could be beneficial to them. Remember that you are the hosts of this event and as such we
are dependent upon you for it to be successful.
How to act
The most important thing is to be proactive and approachable. And remember to smile! Go up
to students and ask what they are looking for especially if they look unsure. Make sure you
look interested and listen to what they are saying.
What not to say
The most important thing is to be honest but at the same time positive. The idea is to
encourage students rather than put them off so please no horror stories. It is important to be
realistic and point out that you need to use your common sense and all cities can be
dangerous. All cities can be dangerous but if you follow the same rules that you would do in
Birmingham and observe local laws and customs then you shouldnt have any problems.
Important things to consider
Everybody is different and has different concerns. Some people are less confident than
others; some will have less language skills than others. Do not dismiss other peoples
concerns as unimportant even if it does not seem something worth worrying about to you.
Some students will be unsure and will want to do lots of preparation whereas others will be

happy to turn up not really knowing what to do or where to go. Make allowances for this and
treat each student and their questions individually.
Two types of exchange: Erasmus (Europe) and International Exchange (Outside Europe,
including Universitas 21)
Birmingham has over 150 exchange partner universities.
We also increasingly offer overseas experiences through various short mobility opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I able to do a year abroad?
MDS does not participate. All other students can study abroad. In most cases this
means changing to a 4-year programme, but there are several departments that send
students abroad for one term within a 3-year degree (Education, African Studies,
Classics/Archaeology, Art History, Theology)
Where can I go?
Depends on the course they are studying; languages students have to go to a country
where the language they study is spoken (for Hispanic Studies students, this includes
Latin America; for French this includes Quebec) and ACS students must go either to
Canada or the US.
Some of our agreements are limited to certain subject areas, but there is still a wide
selection of destinations open to students in all subject areas.
See list of partners.
How are places allocated?
We only have a limited number of places available each year at each of our partner
institutions, as stipulated in our exchange agreements.
Academic departments are responsible for the allocation of Erasmus places, as these
are usually subject-specific.
The Exchanges Office is responsible for the allocation of International Exchange
places, as these are rarely subject-specific.
Where we have more applications for a particular institution than we have available
places, these are allocated on the basis of first-year grades, a reference, and a
personal statement.
Our most popular destinations are those in Canada, Australia and the US and the
competition for these places is fierce!
How much does it cost?
Home/EU students undertaking a year abroad will pay 15% of the normal tuition fee
to the University of Birmingham and no fee to the host institution.
Students classed as international for fee purposes and undertaking a year abroad pay
50% of their normal fee to Birmingham and no fees to their host institution.
(International 50% of 10-16k depending on the degree programme the student is
There is no fee reduction for a term abroad.
Students are responsible for their own travel and living costs.
Students have access to an increased student loan during their year abroad and the
foot may provide additional funding for travel expenses.
Students undertaking an exchange to Europe are usually eligible for the Erasmus
grant. This is administered by the British Council as and is intended to assist students
to make the most of their year abroad. The amount payable varies from year to year
but is usually in the region of 250 - 350 per month. This is only intended to be a
contribution to the extra costs involved in mobility, and is not intended to cover all
their living costs.

What is the difference between Erasmus and International Exchange?

There is no difference except that there is grant for students who go on Erasmus
exchanges. This includes only EU/EEA countries.
Can I do a work placement abroad?
More work placements opportunities abroad are being made available to University of
Birmingham students. Currently this is an option for Business students, and is being
piloted in Languages and American and Canadian Studies.
Students undertaking a work placement in Europe also have access to the Erasmus
Some work placements are paid but the level of payment can vary considerably.
It is also possible to do an internship at many of our exchange partner universities.
Students take an internship in place of one or two modules, alongside their studies,
Our partners have excellent contacts and offer very exciting placements.
Can I do a teaching placement abroad?
Students in some Modern Languages departments also have the option of applying
for a Teaching Assistantship. This is a programme administered by the British
Council, whereby students spend a year as a language teaching assistant in a school
in the country of the language they are studying. These placements also come under
the umbrella of Erasmus with regard to fees and the grant. Only UK students can do
For further information about work placements other than teaching assistantships you should
refer the student to the Careers stand.
Are there any options for mobility outside of exchange and work placements?
The University has a number of schemes for short-term mobility, often over summer.
We promote a number of summer schools, for example in Europe and at Sun Yat-Sen
University in China.
We also offer students the opportunity to attend prestigious Universitas 21 mobility
events, held in different venues around the world. This includes the annual
Undergraduate Research Conference, and a number of summer schools gives a
chance to learn in an international atmosphere. Places at these events are allocated
to those students who submit the best applications destinations include Shanghai,
Connecticut, Korea, Singapore, Guatemala and Amsterdam.
Do I need a visa?
Students going outside the EU will always need a visa. But dont try to provide
details--you are not qualified or expected to advise on this issue. You would be
best to direct them to the Embassy in London of the country they will be visiting.
They can find this information on the internet. This is especially important for
international students.
How do I find accommodation?
This is another difficult question to answer as the situation will be different in each
city. You can advise them from your personal experience and reassure them that
it is not as difficult as it may seem. In many countries exchange students will live
on campus, but where that is not the case we recommend they book a hostel or
hotel for the first few weeks so they have somewhere to stay while they look. Also
encourage them to make contact with returning students via the Study Abroad
Office or their departmental Exchange Tutor
What is the cost of living in ***?
If you dont know then dont make it up. Again you can advise based on your
personal experience if you have any and encourage them to get in touch with
other returning students.

What is there to do in ***?

Try and tailor your answer to this question depending on the person you are
speaking to. Dont assume that they just want to know where the cheapest bars
are and the most happening nightclubs. Maybe they want to know about art
galleries and sports clubs. Try and find out what they are interested in before you
How can I get in touch with someone that went to ***?
We cannot give out addresses on the day due to data protection but their
department may have a list of contactable students.
I dont see the point of doing a year abroad. Why do it?
You should be able to answer this from your own experience but here are some ideas to get
you started:
Developing relevant, marketable skills problem solving, communication, patience
and perseverance, determination, self-motivation, analytical and study skills.
Academic or subject related reasons experience a different academic environment
and way of teaching, and a different perspective on the subject.
Enhanced career prospects employers more likely to choose you with additional
offerings other than just your degree.
Language and culture opportunity to be genuinely immersed into another culture
rather than just being a traveller.
Personal development increased confidence and ability to deal with difficult
situations and unfamiliar surroundings.
Contacts build worldwide relationships that can last a lifetime and benefit you in
years to come.
Fun! 99% of students that have studied abroad say that it is the best year of their
How do I decide which University to go to?
Reassure them that all universities with which we have an agreement are of a good academic
standard so they will experience a high quality of teaching wherever they go. They might like
to think about things like the culture, location, climate, distance from home, affordability
basically all the other things that may be important to them in where they will be spending a
year of their lives.
What if I cant speak the language well enough to understand my lectures?
Speak from personal experience but in a positive way. Be realistic - it is likely that they will
find if difficult to start with but improvement is quite quick as they get used to the style of
teaching and the type of vocabulary that is used. Butthere are many places to go where
teaching is in English. This includes places such as the USA, Canada, and Australia
(obviously) but also many universities in non-English-speaking countries teach in English
(Hong Kong, Singapore, Scandinavia, Holland, Turkey, etc).
What if I dont make any friends?
Again, use personal experience. Come up with ways of meeting people joining international
societies, sports teams, other clubs. International students are always keen to meet other
international students so its very unlikely that you wont make friends. Do also encourage
them to speak to UK students as well, especially if they are learning a language however
rather than just mixing with other international students.
What if I feel homesick?
Be realistic everyone experiences feelings of home sickness at some stage but it is
important to throw yourself in and get out and do things to combat these feelings. With email,
Skype, Facebook etc it is easy to keep up with what is going on at home these days.
How easy is it to adapt to life abroad?
Again be honest, talk about your experiences in a positive and reassuring way.

All of my friends will have graduated before me so I wont know anyone when I get
back to Birmingham
This is a really difficult question to answer especially if you have not been in that situation
yourself. However it is easier than you think to make friends on your return. There are plenty
of societies such as the Erasmus and year abroad societies where you can make new friends.
Im worried about finding accommodation for my final year.
Housing services can help with this but it might be a good idea to form an idea of who you
may live with before you go for your year abroad.
What will happen if I dont pass my exams while Im abroad?
You cannot answer this question this is entirely up to the discretion of the department so
you should direct any questions along these lines to the departmental exchange tutor.
Remember - Dont make up the answers if you dont know them there will be someone else
at the fair who does know the answers!
Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities including dyslexia are strongly encouraged to contact the Disability
Team at Elms Road ( in order to discuss their options when taking a
year abroad. While we actively encourage and support all students to participate in our year
abroad programmes it is important that you are aware of the specific difficulties and
challenges you may face while abroad. Some countries do not have the same level of support
available that you would find in the UK. The following website gives information on the
accessibility of Higher Education Institutions in Europe