Study and work abroad

Updated 17 June 2020 4.15pm

Information for students planning a study abroad placement in 2020/21 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 in semester 2 as well?

Unfortunately there is no guarantee that you will be able to travel for semester 2. 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 FCO is still advising against all non-essential travel for British nationals, and 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 2021 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 2021/22.

When will I graduate if I choose to invert?

If you choose to “invert” then you will graduate following the completion of your year abroad. Your graduation date is dependent on the host university’s term dates and their assessment processes. It is likely that you will graduate in the winter rather than the summer.

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. 

Can I do a work placement instead?

Yes, you can switch to the industrial variant of your degree by sourcing a suitable work placement.
Each school’s placement module details the required tenure and hours, normally these range from a minimum of 9 months to 12 months. For the 2020-2021 academic year only, the shortest placement period possible is 6 months, this can be a combination of two placements. Please speak to your Employability Team and / or your Placement Tutor to discuss.

Am I able to combine a Work Placement and Study Abroad placement?

With the exception of students on the existing combined year programme in the Faculty of Biological Sciences the optional study abroad provision does not allow for combining work and study placements.

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. We will provide more information in autumn 2020 on the VLE and run information events during semester 1.

If I withdraw will I have to pay the Study Abroad withdrawal fee?

No. The withdrawal fee will not be charged this year.

Do I need to tell my host university?

No. We will liaise with our partner university to inform them of your decision.

What are my accommodation options now that I’m coming back to Leeds for my final year?

You may wish to make your own arrangements to stay with friends in Leeds or elsewhere or you might want to look for private accommodation in Leeds. There’s a wide range of accommodation on offer in the City. Unipol Student Homes can give you advice and help with your house search and if you need any advice from LUU they can be contacted by email.

Alternatively, if you think you’d like to apply to live in a University Residence then please apply using this link. Please apply before 1st July and definitely no later than 17th July if we are to assist you. From 1st July, all applications will be acknowledged and we to confirm/guarantee that we will be able to assist you. Residential Services will allocate accommodation by the end of August and that is when you will be asked to enter into an accommodation agreement in respect of your offer.

Students currently on a work placement  abroad or study abroad placement

The University’s advice to students in line with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The FCO has now advised against all non-essential travel internationally and the ongoing risk of immediate travel bans restricting opportunities to return home. As such you will have now been contacted by the University to request that you make arrangements to travel back to your home country. This communication will have come from and the team are on hand to support you.

Latest UK Government advice on travel and study abroad

What do I do to prepare to return home?

If you already have a flight booked, please contact your airline or travel agent to bring the date of the flight forward.

If you do not have a flight booked, and the advice is to leave the country immediately, please book this as soon as possible.

What should I do when I return to the UK?

Please read the information the UK Government has released which specifically relates to travellers returning to the UK, available on the Government website

What if return to a country other than the UK?

We recommend that you check the local country and area guidance.

Am I covered by insurance to return home early?

All University students on a work placement year are insured. Insurance claims are considered on a case by case basis so it will be dependent upon the circumstances. We suggest that you keep a record of your expenditure as you may be able to reclaim any reasonable and additional costs incurred. For reference,  read the University’s full insurance policy

Will my placement year be affected?

There is an established process for extraordinary circumstances such as these.  We will calculate module marks on the basis of assessments that take place, and where necessary, we will make use of our Special Cases procedures to ensure that students are not disadvantaged and are able to progress.

Will I be able to go back?

Due to the rapidly evolving situation regarding the coronavirus, the University of Leeds as a general rule is now no longer permitting any international travel for students or staff, and this policy will only be reviewed at the end of June. The FCO is advising in the same manner. As such, it is highly unlikely you will be able to return to your placements once you have returned to your home country, so please plan as though you will not be returning and take all of your belongings home with you.

Will my funding be affected?

Read the latest advice from the Student Loans Company. If you have any other questions please contact the Funding team, email

Will my Erasmus funding be affected if I must leave my placement earlier than planned?

If you have been asked to leave your placement due to unforeseen circumstances then you will definitely be able to keep the Erasmus funding until the date of your departure of your study or work placement.

Find out more on the For Students website about Erasmus+ funding and what you need to do.

What if I don’t want to return home?

If you are thinking about staying at your destination we need to arrange an online meeting with you to go through a formal risk assessment process.

If you are a student currently on a work placement abroad, please contact the work placement team:

If you are a student currently on a student abroad placement, please contact the Study Abroad Office at

If you’re due to start a work placement in 2020/21

We are aware of some organisations making contact with students as well, if you are concerned about your placement being postponed, or terminated, please speak with your Placement Tutor. There are still opportunities being advertised on MyCareer so please do refer to these if your placement has unfortunately been terminated.

Please be assured that we are closely monitoring the situation and are working with your academic school at Leeds to assess all the options available in the event compulsory placements are disrupted, and we will continue to provide updates.

What happens if I am unable to study in 2020/21?

If you are unable to study in 2020/21 due to health or personal circumstances, the University will  consider applications for temporary leave from your studies in discussion with your school.