Study and Work Away Service

Linguistic requirements

Students can study in English at most of our non-European partner universities but for study at many European institutions, competence in the native language will be required.

Going abroad is a perfect opportunity to build your language skills or even start a new language from scratch. Even if you'll be studying in English, knowing at least a few words and phrases in the local language can really help with small things like getting the bus or doing the food shop! The more you learn, the easier it will be to get around, and the more fun you will have!

Studying in a foreign language

If you will be studying in a language other than English, remember you will be expected to follow lectures, write essays, and take exams in the native language of instruction.  Studying your subject, presenting and producing work at 3rd year level in a foreign language is no mean feat! 

You will be required to pass the courses you take while abroad in order to obtain credit for your year or semester abroad so it is important that your language level is sufficient to enable you to achieve this.

For this reason, all applicants who will be studying in a language that is not their native language must evidence a recent qualification demonstrating a minimum of level B2 (according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). 

Even if you do not plan to take a full course load in your non-native language, we still require that you meet the minimum B2 level. 

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

Improve your language skills

Taking a language as an extra subject in your first and/or second years at Edinburgh is recommended as a means of ensuring that you are equipped, linguistically, for a year abroad. 

There are other opportunities for improving your language skills whilst at the University of Edinburgh:

Learn a Language

Your host institution may offer subsidised or even free language courses either during term time, or as an intensive course before the start of your exchange. These can also be a good way to meet potential flatmates and settle in before the start of your exchange.   

Many hosts also offer a buddy programme to help you meet local students and get a chance to practise your language skills.  Information about any courses on offer should be available on your host institution's website.

Local student societies are also a great way to meet like-minded students and get you speaking in no time! Many universities will also have societies and student organisations to support exchange students.

Find out more below about language requirements for students going on exchange: