A placement abroad will provide students with an opportunity to experience a different culture and possibly a different language, as well as getting an insight into a foreign work environment.
We encourage students to work abroad, but this will operate within a different legislative framework from the UK, so students will need to be aware and expect differences. We recommend that you start preparing for a placement abroad early in their second year so that visas and other legal documentation, as well as cultural and language preparation courses, are in place by the time you start your placement. Graduate employers value the additional cultural awareness and linguistic skills that working abroad enables you to develop.
More than 300 students every year choose to spend their Professional Training placement abroad in a variety of ways. What you do, and how you structure this year partly depends on your degree subject and requirements, but also on what you want to do during this year.
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
For some degree programmes, such as languages, it is a requirement to spend the year abroad and most of these students chose to undertake an Erasmus work placement, working in organisations as varied as: Ernst & Young GmbH in Germany; Electricité de France in Paris; Volkswagen Navarra in Spain.
Politics students have chosen to work for the Agence de Communication d’Influence et Lobbying in Paris.
Business and Management students are working at Amazon, Huawei, and Airbus in France; Goldman Sachs, Otto and H-Flachs in Germany, KIgn's Group, Macmillan and Tata Steel in Spain, all with Erasmus funding.
Business School and tourism students have worked as far afield as Hong Kong, Canada, New Zealand and the Philippines, whereas law students have recently gone to work at MCI in Brussels, Adi Levit in Israel and VeryChic in Barcelona.
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Other students are working further afield:
- MPhys students are at TRIUMF in Vancouver, Canada; at ORNL, Tennessee in the USA
- Maths students work at Deloittes in Bermuda and
- Chemical Engineers at UOP LLC in Chicago
- Chemistry students have worked at the RH Hills laboratory in New Zealand.
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Students are taking the opportunity of working at laboratories in another part of Europe – be it in Pamplona, Spain; Turku, Finland or Leuven in Belgium.
Others are in the United States in South Carolina, Texas, Washington State, New York or in Sydney, Australia. Students taking their degrees in Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, Nutrition, Microbiology or Veterinary Biosciences have all taken advantage of these opportunities.
Psychology students have chosen to work in one of the psychology laboratories at the Humboldt University in Berlin or Turin.
Please visit our student experiences page to view videos of students talking about their experiences on work placements.
European work placements
Please note: Erasmus+ funding is secured until 2023. Students abroad in 2020/21 and 2021/22 will be unaffected by the UK's decision not to participate in Erasmus+ in the future.
For further information about Erasmus work placements, please see the British Council's Erasmus work placement guide.
How to prepare
You have to start early in your second year to think about what you might wish to do.
- Talk to your placement co-ordinators
- Write your CV
- Apply and be interviewed
If you are thinking of working in another part of Europe taking a language course as part of the Global Graduate Award (GGA) for the first two years of your degree gives you a distinct advantage in securing a placement in Europe.
However, if you have missed out on this there are online linguistic support facilities funded by the European Commission for: French, Spanish, German, Italian, Greek, Czech, Polish, Danish, Portuguese, Swedish, Finnish, Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Slovak, Slovenian and Dutch.
If you are applying to work in an organisation in Europe and are required to work in one of the languages mentioned above, you will automatically be assessed on your language ability. This is mandatory for students who will be receiving the Erasmus+ grant. You will be given access to this online facility as soon as possible once you have secured your placement.
If you have secured a work placement outside of Europe in 2020/21 for your Professional Training placement please use the link below to complete the registration form. It should take you no more than five minutes and it is to ensure that should there be an emergency situation in the country where you are undertaking your placement, that we can make contact with you as quickly as possible. This is a requirement of you being allowed to undertake your placement abroad.
Apply through the application portal. Please register with your Surrey email as not all other email accounts work. Please continue to use Chrome or Firefox to make your application.
You will also be required to do a catch-up compulsory pre-departure session on SurreyLearn.
As an outgoing Erasmus+ or international work or study student you will be covered by the University's Personal Accident and Travel insurance policy. Further details are available in the SurreyLearn Let's Go Abroad module.
However, you are strongly advised to take out additional health and medical insurance cover for the duration of your study or work period.
All students going to Europe should ensure they obtain their EHIC card.
If you are an EU/EEA student but not a permanent resident in the UK, then you must obtain your EHIC card in your home country. Further information on insurance can be obtained from the Insurance Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Generation UK - China campaign offers funding support for two month placements for UK students to gain work experience in mainland China.
Generation UK - China funding covers accommodation and comprehensive travel insurance, as well as an airport pickup service and dedicated support throughout the placement.
Applicants are not required to cover any placement fees but will need to cover the costs of their own return flights, visa and any other expenses related to travel.
Eligibility and criteria
Applicants must be:
- Aged 18 years and above
- Currently enrolled full-time at a UK institution or have graduated from a UK institution within the past year
- Achieved or on track to achieve a 2:1 degree
- Be a UK or EU passport holder
- In receipt of a Maintenance Grant from Student Finance
- Not in receipt of any other Generation UK - China funding
The following criteria will be taken into account during the application process and interview:
- Academic achievement
- Interest in chosen industry
- Motivations for gaining work experience in China
- Knowledge of Mandarin is not a pre-requisite for Generation UK internships.
How do I apply?
Placements are available every month and you are advised to apply at least two months before your desired arrival date.
Click here for internships in Beijing, Shanghai or Shenzhen with CRCC Asia.
Click here for internships in Chengdu, Qingdao or Zhuhai with Intern China.
Important note: You cannot apply to both CRCC Asia and Intern China.
To find out more about the programme and to apply, please click here. The deadline to submit your application is 12 December 2019 at 23:59 (BST).
For enquiries, please contact us.
Amgen Scholars Programme, the internationally recognised undergraduate research initiative offers undergraduates the opportunity to collaborate with faculty at top institutions on cutting-edge scientific research. Students worldwide may now apply to be Amgen Scholars at leading institutions in Japan: Kyoto University, and The University of Tokyo.
Applications for the 2020 Amgen Scholars Program in Japan will go online. Note that applicants do not need to currently attend one of the Japan host institutions to participate. In fact, Amgen Scholars have represented over 500 colleges and universities to date.
This is a unique opportunity for students to gain valuable exposure to Japan's academic and research culture. The application deadline is 2 February 2020. Eligibility requirements, as well as site-specific programming information is available via amgenscholars.
For the Japan Program click on flyer.
The Argonne National Laboratory, US is seeking highly motivated and energetic undergraduate students for the 2020 summer internship and part-time work experience programs. Based just outside of Chicago, Argonne is a multidisciplinary science and engineering research centre, where teams of world-class researchers work alongside experts from industry, academia and other government laboratories to address vital national challenges in clean energy, environment, technology and national security.
Over the years, Argonne has supported thousands of students in their explorations of STEM research careers; provided access to cutting-edge research facilities and fostered relationships with world-class scientists all within 30 miles of the third largest city in the country.
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.
Join Goldman Sachs engineering teams that build massively scalable software and systems, architect low latency infrastructure solutions, proactively guard against cyber threats, and leverage machine learning alongside financial engineering to continuously turn data into action. Create new businesses, transform finance, and explore a world of opportunity at the speed of markets.
London, United Kingdom / Warsaw, Poland
Goldman Sachs recruits students and graduates who have a record of outstanding achievement in academic and extracurricular activities. A background in finance is not necessary. What is required are integrity, professional excellence and teamwork. In addition, they look for people who:
- Display a passion for technology
- Have computer science, math, statistics, and/or engineering backgrounds
- Have strong analytical and organizational skills
- Display excellent interpersonal and communication skills
- Are highly motivated and adaptable
- Are accurate and detail-oriented
- Display creativity and entrepreneurial spirit
See the Goldman Sachs application to complete your application. You may express interest in up to three locations and division combinations through this application. For this position, you would select Engineering.
All applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and early applications are advised.
DGIST Research Internship for Undergraduates aims to provide talented Korean and International students with opportunities to experience research environment of DGIST.
Participants will serve their internship at the lab of their choice under the guidance of DGIST faculty members as visiting research students.
This 6-week research session will provide students with valuable experience in research and personal growth.
Participating international students will have chances to experience Korean culture and society first hand and will be provided campus-life related assistance during their stay at DGIST.
Accommodation will be arranged for program participants and some allowance will be provided for their accommodation, meals and miscellaneous expenses.
- Application period: March 19 - April 6, 2020
- Program period: July 2 - August 10, 2020
Website - https://goo.gl/HPDCiT
For more information on available research areas, lab opening, eligibility, application and financial support, please refer to the documents below:
An international travel bursary has been set up for Home/EU students to provide up to £750 towards the cost of travel, visas and insurance for travel abroad for their Professional Training placement, where all the following criteria are met:
- Household income of less than £42,600
- Not eligible for Erasmus+ funding
- Not eligible for the Travel Grant through Student Finance England, Student Finance Wales or Student Finance Northern Ireland
- Receiving less than £5,000 net in pay while on a PTY six or 12-month work placement abroad
EU students must have been means-tested by SFE Darlington and UK residents must have applied for a tuition and maintenance loan.
If you have secured a work placement in Europe for your Professional Training placement in 2019/20, as a recent graduate, or a PhD student please use this portal where you will find the application form for an Erasmus+ grant. Please bookmark or save this website as a favourite, as you will be returning to the portal at various stages throughout your Erasmus+ period to submit a range of documents. You must register with your Surrey email as not all other email accounts work. Please ensure once you register, you activate the account within 2 days. If you do not do this, the link will no longer be live and you will have to start the process again, using another e-mail address. Please continue to use Chrome or Firefox to make your application.
Making an application does not guarantee a grant, as it depends on the amount allocated from the National Agency. If funding is limited, priority will be given to students undertaking their Placement Year rather than to recent graduates, voluntary summer placements or PhD students where the placement does not directly contribute to the degree programme.
You will also need to be registered on the SurreyLearn module Let’s Go Abroad in order to access the Learning Agreement for Traineeships, which has to be submitted as part of your application. To get access to this module please email Alice Gidman.
The deadline to be considered for a grant is one month before the start of your placement, but be aware that if you apply later in the year, the grant allocation may be exhausted.
Current first years who are planning to study abroad in their second year should not register here. Please check the Search Tool to see where you can go.
Applications are now closed for study abroad in 2019/20.
Further information on Erasmus+
The award aims to support undergraduate home/UK students from underrepresented and vulnerable groups, listed in the eligibility section. The award aims to ensure that students from a Widening Participation background are sufficiently financed to undertake a professional training year.
The award will provide between £1,000 and £4,000 to eligible home/UK students on their professional training year. The award can be received in addition to other University scholarships or any other bursary, prize and awards if eligible. The award will be distributed as follows:
- £4,000 – if professional training year salary £0 - £15,000pa
- £3,000 – if professional training year salary £15,001 - £16,000pa
- £2,000 – if professional training year salary £16,001 - £17,000pa
- £1,000 – if professional training year salary £17,001 - £18,000pa.
- Applicants must be undertaking their professional training year during the 2019/20 academic year and paying the full professional training year fees of £1,850 (therefore courses that do not offer a full professional training year are not eligible).
- Applicants must have secured a placement before applying for the PTY Support Award.
- Applicants must be earning an income of less than £18,000 during their professional training year.
- Applicants must fall into one or more of the specific Widening Participation categories which include:
- Black and Minority Ethnic (BME)
- Disabled students
- Low-participation neighbourhoods (LPN), POLAR4: 1 or 2.
* POLAR (Participation of Local Areas) is a HEFCE classification for the participation in higher education by young people by geographical area in the UK. It’s used to measure the widening participation performance of universities.
Check your POLAR ranking of your home postcode.
How to apply
To apply to the PTY Support Award, please complete an application form. The deadline for this award is 23 June 2019. Only successful applicants will be notified of their entitlement by 01 July 2019.
Successful applicants will be selected using a points based system. A full description of the selection criteria can be found here.
For all enquiries, contact the Student Money team.
Find out more
The Employability and Careers Centre provides useful information for those thinking of working abroad.
To find out about the job markets, typical employers and vacancy sources as well as work experience and further study possibilities in more than 50 countries all over the world, please visit the Employability and Careers Centre's pages.