Study and work abroad

Updated 04 May 2021

Travel permission

The University has adopted a risk-based approach to supporting international travel for:

  • Study Abroad
  • Overseas work placements
  • UK-based work placements

Travel permissions are subject to change in line with Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice.

There are currently four conditions that need to be met to enable a student to undertake study or work placements overseas. These are:

  1. FCDO advice permits travel (identified as exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ travel)
  2. The host country is accepting students
  3. The host institution/employer is accepting students
  4. The University approves travel

As with all permitted travel, please be aware that you must adhere to the rules and regulations of both the country of departure and that of the destination. Travel restrictions and guidance can change with little or no advance notice.

In the first instance of securing an opportunity overseas, for study placements, please contact the Study Abroad Office, and for work placements, contact your Faculty Employability Team.

Exceptional permission to travel

The exceptional permission process exists for students to apply for permission to travel to a number of destinations where the FCDO currently advise against all but essential travel.

This list of countries will be reviewed on 1 June 2021. The following destinations are open for applications: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

As with all permitted travel, please be aware that you must adhere to the rules and regulations of both the country of departure and that of the destination. Travel restrictions and guidance can change with little or no advance notice.

Exceptional permission to travel has been established to ensure student safety and wellbeing is prioritised and that destination-based risk factors are taken into account and regularly reviewed.

For further information, including how to apply for exceptional permission to travel, please contact the Study Abroad Office for study placements and your Faculty Employability Team for work placements. They will outline the next steps.

Information for students planning a study abroad placement which is not a compulsory part of the degree

We’ve emailed all students who are planning an optional study abroad placement to explain what needs to happen next. You can view the email here. This information can also be found in the Study Abroad area of the Minerva VLE.

Here are some answers to the key questions you might have:

What if I decide on the “continue” option but it is unsafe for me to travel?

Unfortunately there is no guarantee that you will be able to travel to your study placement. The ability to travel is dependent on a range of factors outside of our control. In this instance we will liaise with your host university and teaching school at Leeds to understand what provision will be available.

My host university is not offering online teaching for the upcoming semester but is continuing with in-person teaching. Can I still choose the ‘Continue’ option’?

The FCDO is still advising against all non-essential travel for British nationals, exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. Many countries continue to restrict entry for non-citizens. In the event that in-person teaching is offered by your host, your study placement with be contingent on the lifting of all travel restrictions, the approval of your host university, and a risk assessment to be authorised by the University.

There is a likelihood that teaching arrangements at partner universities may change and we would recommend that you also have a back-up option in the event you are unable to travel.

My host university is not offering online teaching, can I apply for a study placement to a different university?

We are unable to reallocate study places for students on the optional year abroad programme due to the continued uncertainty and limited number of places online teaching is available. Many partner Universities are still preparing contingency arrangements for next semester and it is still unclear which institutions are offering online teaching provision.

If I choose the “Invert” option, will I be able to go to the destination I was originally allocated?

Due to the way study abroad exchanges are organised the number of places available on exchange vary every year. In 2022 we are likely to have unprecedented demand for study abroad and we cannot guarantee a place. We will endeavour to find a suitable destination through a revised application process but we are unable to guarantee the university or country destination place that you have been offered. We also can’t guarantee that international travel and pandemic control will enable widespread global travel in 2022/23.

What if none of the options are academically possible?

If you wish to continue on the current programme, and it is not academically possible to invert studies, your School will be aware of this, and you are advised to discuss your position with your School. 

I have decided to withdraw from Study Abroad, are other international opportunities available?

The study abroad team are working with our partners to expand the number of summer school and other short-term opportunities available in summer 2021. This information can also be found in the Study Abroad area of the Minerva VLE.

Students currently on a work placement  abroad or study abroad placement

The University’s advice to students in line with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The FCDO has now advised against all non-essential travel internationally, exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. This list of countries is regularly updated and can change at short notice. The ongoing risk of immediate travel bans restricting opportunities to return home remains. You are advised to remain in contact with your Study Abroad or Work Placement Tutor during your time abroad. You must also follow the FCDO guidance as well as the local and national guidance in your host country.

Latest UK Government advice on travel and study abroad

What happens if I am unable to study in 2021/22?

If you are unable to study in 2021/22 due to health or personal circumstances, the University will consider applications for temporary leave from your studies in discussion with your school.

I am planning to Study Abroad in 2022/23, where can I find the latest advice and guidance?

The latest information for all students planning to study abroad in 2022/23 can be found in the Study Abroad area of Minerva.