We appreciate how difficult it has been for you to prepare for your Year Abroad in 2020-21 due to the many uncertainties created by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. We have been monitoring the situation, in line with the British Council and the majority of universities in the UK and abroad and we have been listening to your many concerns.
The options that we are setting out today are designed to set your minds at rest in terms of safety and to ensure you have maximum flexibility next year. They allow those of you who are able to move ahead with your Year Abroad in the autumn. They also give the option of continuing your studies at the College and completing a Year Abroad in the following academic year. Please note that, as the global situation evolves, they may also be subject to change.
1. Flexible Year Abroad
This option would mean that you continue with your current plans for study or work placements next academic year. This may mean studying/working online at the beginning of the year and travelling to your chosen destination when you are able and confident to do so.
For those on study placements, most of our Erasmus+ partners are working to ensure online teaching is available, if required. If it becomes apparent that your university cannot offer online learning, we will contact you to discuss alternative options. If your Year Abroad is delayed or even interrupted due to Covid-19 restrictions, we offer language resources and support so that your continued learning of the language is not disrupted.
There are some important things to take into consideration when deciding to continue with your Year Abroad:
- For both the work and study placements the Erasmus+ mobility grant will only become available once you have arrived at your chosen destination
- All students are covered by the Safety Net and Best 90 policy set out in the Emergency Regulations. This means that you can confidently take up your placements and do the required assessments even if you experience the odd delay or interruption to the year.
- If you have a British Council assistantship, it may be possible to teach remotely depending on the particular school. The British Council will inform assistants directly about such alternatives.
2. Fourth Year Abroad
This option means that you choose to enrol for your final year (stage 4) courses this coming September 2020 at Royal Holloway and then you can decide whether to take your Year Abroad (stage 3) in September 2021-22.
This may also mean studying/working online at the beginning of the academic year and travelling to your chosen destination when you are able and confident to do so, depending on the pandemic.
There are some important things to take into consideration when deciding to delay your Year Abroad:
- The Year Abroad assessments will be slightly different (details tbc) and crucially will be final-year weighted. Also, since Year Abroad oral exams are taken in term three, you will be examined remotely. All students are covered by the Safety Net and Best 90 policy set out in the Emergency Regulations.
- You will need to inform the School by 1 July 2020 if you wish to take up this option so you can register in good time for third-year modules starting in September. ( If you would like to be considered for halls accommodation in 2020-21 you can submit an application via the Online Accommodation System)
- Language learning resources and support will be available so that you are better prepared for entering final-year language courses.
- Should you feel, however, by the end of February 2021 that you no longer wish to go on a Year Abroad, you will be able to apply for a Year Abroad waiver.
- If you take up the Fourth Year Abroad option, you will have to re-start the application process for your Year Abroad placements and attend all the required Year Abroad meetings. It is important also to point out that the range of opportunities for the Year Abroad in 2021-22 may be reduced due to Brexit, notably in the case of study placements.
- Finally, please bear in mind that if you’re intending to attend Graduation in July 2022, this may have potential implications for the type of placement you decide to organise for the second half of the year (including length of placement and location).
We appreciate that there is a lot of information here and we hope that the options are clear and reassuring.
The Year Abroad team are available to discuss your options with you in greater detail. Please contact Professor James Williams in the first instance. Your Personal tutor will also be happy to help you with this decision.
If we don’t hear from you by 1 July 2020, we will assume that you are taking the ‘Flexible Year Abroad’ option and continuing with your preparations for the Year Abroad 2020-21.
As you will understand, as a College we have never come across circumstances like these before and we can understand how this may be a very difficult decision for you. We’re here to help you talk through your options, so please do get in touch if we can help.
All best wishes,
Sarah, James and the Year Abroad team