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Year Abroad

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics

 

Year Abroad (2021-2022) FAQs

Year Abroad 2021-2022 FAQs


The following FAQs is intended to address questions related to the coronavirus pandemic and arrangements following Brexit (including visas). For regular information on the Year Abroad, please visit the Year Abroad Moodle pages: https://www.vle.cam.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=77361.

 

Sources of Support

See p. 2 of the 21-22 Year Abroad Handbook for a schematic breakdown of the respective responsibilities of the MMLL Faculty and Colleges to students on their Year Abroad.

 

Q: Who will provide me with administrative support during my Year Abroad?

The Year Abroad Administrators’ Office and Director. They have responsibility for the clerical and administrative aspects of the Year Abroad, including the provision of documents and certificates for insurance, advice on ECT credits, internship contracts, risk assessment, etc. Please email yearabroad@mmll.cam.ac.uk.

 

Q: Who will provide me with academic advice and support?

Your college Director of Studies. Your DoS knows your individual academic trajectory better than anyone, and is best placed to offer support as you consider the implications for your academic plans at Part II.

 

Q: Who will provide me with emotional and pastoral support?

Pastoral support for Year Abroad students is the responsibility of your College (DoS, Tutor and, where appropriate, nurse). In addition, the University Counselling Service is offering telephone or video welfare checks for any student who would like them, including Year Abroad students (whether now at home or still abroad). Please see the UCS coronavirus webpage​ for details of how to sign up.

 

Q: Whom should I approach about financial support?

Your College in the first instance, along with the University Insurance Division if you have taken out University insurance. For additional sources of financial support, see under ‘Finance’ below.

 

Q: Where can I find the latest University guidance on Covid-19?

The University Advice Page on Coronavirus is regularly updated with information on health, revised teaching and examination arrangements, travel, and more.

 

Finance

 

Q: Where can I find a general overview of YA finance?

A useful guide can be found at https://www.savethestudent.org/student-finance/student-finance-on-a-year-abroad.html. Please note that this article, dated April 2021, was written before the Department of Education released this results of this year’s bid for Turing Scheme Funding.

 

Q: Will I continue to receive my Student Loan while abroad?

You are still registered as students at the University of Cambridge while abroad and are therefore still entitled to your Student Loan. Please note that if for any reason (lockdowns, etc.) you are required to return home and continue your placement remotely, your may be paid at the slightly lower rate that applies to home students.

 

Q: What has happened to the Erasmus+ scheme now that the UK has left the European Union?

UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are no longer eligible to participate in Erasmus+ funding rounds. While the University of Cambridge retains almost all of its partnership arrangements with Higher Education institutions in the EU, this means that the University will no longer have access to the Erasmus+ mobility grant (the monthly grant of 370EURO or 470EURO intended to support living costs abroad). Some HEIs, including Cambridge, still retain some unspent Erasmus+ money from the previous funding cycles. In Cambridge this will be used in 2021-22 to support some student mobility in the EU.  

 

Q: What about the Turing Scheme?

The UK government has launched the Turing Scheme to support student mobility following its withdrawal from Erasmus+. For more information, see https://www.turing-scheme.org.uk/.

In July 2021 it was announced that all Universities, including Cambridge, who had bid for Turing funding would receive between approximately 60-65% of the total requested.

Three important differences between Turing and Erasmus+ are relevant to Cambridge YA students in MML/HML:          

  1. Erasmus+ funded only students visiting the EU, whereas the Turing Scheme is intended to support student mobility worldwide. This means that for the first time some students spending their YA in South America or Russia will be eligible for mobility support.
  2. Erasmus+ supported only HEIs. Turing supports HEIs, Further Education Colleges and Schools. This effectively means that the amount available to UK HEIs, including Cambridge, is smaller than under Erasmus.
  3. For Erasmus+, HEIs bid for funding in 3 to 4-year cycles. The Turing funding outcome announced in July 2021 is for the 2021-22 Year Abroad only, and that the funding arrangements for future years remains uncertain.

 

Q: Will I receive a monthly mobility grant while I’m abroad in 2021-22?

It depends. Students undertaking (i) an allocated study placement at an EU partner institution or an institution on an approved list in Latin America or Russia or ii) unpaid (voluntary) work placements will receive a monthly mobility grant. This will be funded by a combination of unspent Erasmus+ funds and Turing funds. Students undertaking paid work placements, including British Council assistantships, will not be eligible for a mobility grant. 

 

Q: What about insurance?

All Year Abroad students are eligible to take our University Insurance. Please see https://www.insurance.admin.cam.ac.uk/insurance-guidance/travel-insurance for details. Please be aware that all insurance-related queries should be directed to the Insurance Division in the first instance.

You should also apply  a GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card), which has now replaced the EHIC. For details, visit https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/. Note that some foreign consulates include ownership of a GHIC as part of their visa requirements.

 

Q: What other sources of financial support are available?

The University recognises that students may experience varying levels of financial hardship.

The most important sources of financial assistance, both within the University and outside, are listed below:

  • The Special University Hardship Fund receives applications for additional costs of up to £3,350. Applications must be made through the Senior Tutor of your College. For more details, please see the University’s student pages on Financial Support and Covid-19.
  • Cranes Charity exists to support unexpected medical costs incurred by students facing financial hardship.

 

Q: Will the Faculty support me with Covid testing or quarantine expenses?

The Faculty will normally reimburse any costs incurred for mandatory Covid testing for one outward and one inward journey associated with your placement during your Year Abroad and, if applicable, for the journey between your YA destinations. Costs incurred during travel for personal reasons will not be reimbursed. Students should where possible arrange their travel in such a way as to avoid any requirement for hotel quarantine (be aware of airline transit through countries on the UK quarantine list); where this is unavoidable, the Faculty will normally reimburse the cost. Please make sure that you keep all receipts for tests and hotel quarantine; without these the Year Abroad Administrators’ Office will not be able to process your claim for reimbursement.  

 

Visa Requirements

 

Q: Will I need a visa to work or study on my Year Abroad?

Students planning to work or study in Russia and Latin America will continue to require a visa, as in previous years. Following the UK’s departure from the European Union in December 2020, students wishing to reside in EU countries for a period of longer that 90 days must now also obtain the necessary visa.

 

Q: Do I need health insurance to get a visa?

Some consulates require possession of a GHIC (France and Italy at the time of writing; also Spain, depending on the consulate involved). Please check consular websites for details. For details of how to obtain the GHIC, see https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/.

 

Q: Who can advise me on obtaining a visa?

The best place to obtain up-to-date advice on visa requirements is the consulate of the country to which you wish to travel. Please note that information in the months following Brexit has sometimes been patchy or inconsistent, and the application process subject to delays (especially for students travelling to Italy, Portugal and Spain). The Year Abroad Director has written to the relevant consulates and received assurances that visas are being prioritised. In view of potential complications, however, you are advised to begin your visa application as soon as possible after you firm up your YA plans. The consulates have also advised that it is essential that students applying for visas attend their scheduled appointments (one consulate complains of an 80% no-show from UK students, though it did not provide the figure for Cambridge) and that they do so with the correct documentation. The Year Abroad Director pointed out that it would be easier for students to supply the necessary documents if consular websites provided clearer information. Time will tell whether this materialises.

Please note that although the Year Abroad Administrators’ Office can help with the provision of supporting documentation, the Office has no special access to consular information, or leverage over consulate officials. The Office cannot apply for a visa, or carry out correspondence with consular officials, on your behalf.

 

Q: Do I need a Certificates of Admission to apply for visa?

Yes. Most visa applications for those wishing to take up study placements require that you supply a ‘Certificate of Admission (or similar) issued by the host institution. Please contact your host university in good time, bearing in mind that some administrative offices are likely to be closed over vacation periods. Please let the Year Abroad Administrators’ Office know if you are having trouble obtaining your certificate. 

 

Travel

Q: What is considered as “Essential” and “legally permissible” travel ?

The FCDO advice pages on travel abroad often refer to ‘essential’ or ‘legally permissible’ travel. Travel for the purposes of undertaking a mandatory Year Abroad can certainly be deemed ‘essential’, and it is also legally permissible. As always, your decision to travel to your Year Abroad destination is taken and approved within the framework of the University’s policy on risk assessment. Provided that you have indicated, through submission of your risk assessment, your awareness of the potential risks involved in travel to your destination, the Year Abroad Director will normally approve your trip.