Newcastle University has finally informed year abroad students about next year

Students have waited three months for a decision

Newcastle University has informed prospective year abroad students of what their options are regarding their studies in the 2020/21 academic year.

Having waited on guidance for three months, the email provides students with their three possible courses of action to allow them to prepare for the forthcoming year. The options are as follows:

  1. Aim to continue with the year abroad, however, given the current global situation caused by COVID-19, this could entail online teaching from a foreign university and/or result in students being unable to physically go abroad for placements,
  2. Take a year out and aim to go abroad in 2021/22, however, study placements may not be available at this time due to the need to accommodate prospective year abroad students currently in their first year of study, or
  3. Go straight in to final year in September 2020, meaning that students would not have a year abroad and consequently that their degree would be cut to three years. (Note that this option is not available to those studying an East Asian language.)

The University are not asking for a final decision yet – they are simply asking students to fill out a questionnaire as to what their preferences may be. While other UK universities, such as Edinburgh, have cancelled study abroad, Newcastle remains hopeful that some activities in semester two will go ahead as normal.

Second-year foreign language students had largely been in the dark as to what would happen regarding their year abroad, with many in particular voicing concerns about the difficulty of planning accommodation given the unpredictability of COVID-19. The update from the Year Abroad Team has provided some welcome guidance however, for many, it is still a difficult decision as to whether they should attempt to go ahead with their year abroad with the risk of having to undertake their studies online or whether they should return to Newcastle in September.

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