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‘The survey shows that international experience makes students more employable after they graduate. Almost two-thirds of respondents believe that their international experience has given them an edge in finding a good job in their chosen career. The survey also shows that respondents with international experience are more likely to be employed within six months of graduation than those without, and are much more likely to have international elements to their work.’

Kaplan survey: Going Global: Are graduates prepared for a global workforce?

Working Abroad/UK

This guide has been produced to advise you on the options available to you under the placement year programme in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies. The programme involves adding the module SSI3020 to your degree programme which will add “with employment experience abroad”  or "with employment experience" to your degree title, on successful completion of the module. The module is open to student on single or combined honours programmes in Politics, Sociology, Philosophy, Anthropology, International Relations, Criminology and PPE, where the home College is Social Sciences and International Studies.

There are a wide variety of benefits that come from doing a work placement year, both professionally and personally.  

In today’s competitive jobs market, employers are increasingly looking for candidates with a global perspective. Having work experience abroad is an excellent way of demonstrating your global acumen to a potential employer. You will strengthen your communication skills by working with a wider variety of people and overcoming language barriers. Multinational companies are looking for graduates who have ‘a global mindset, global knowledge, cultural agility, adaptability, flexibility and resilience’ and above all ‘an ability to work collaboratively with teams of people from a range of backgrounds and countries[1]’.

Even if your work placement is not related to your field of study (which it does not have to be), the graduate level attributes you gain will demonstrate your initiative, adaptability and resilience when faced with new challenges.

Discovering a different culture - Undertaking a work placement gives you the opportunity to develop friendships with people who may have a very difference background to you. As you begin to understand your working environment, you will develop global acumen and see how cultural awareness and commercial awareness are closely linked.

Seeing your own country and culture from a new perspective - comparing your own society with others abroad helps you to question and examine assumptions, and to take an original approach to situations.

Developing self-reliance - it can be tough setting up a new life far away from friends and family. However, learning the skills to do this can be very rewarding and give you a greater sense of independence.

Taking time out – doing a placement year can give you the opportunity to take a break from your studies while picking up valuable skills and experience.

When considering undertaking a Placement Year, you may want to think about your objectives for doing it:

  • Why do you want to do a placement year?
  • What do you hope to gain from the experience?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • What do you want to do – something related to your field of study or completely different?
  • How would you like to benefit both personally and in terms of your career?

There are also practical issues to consider:

  • The level of language required – this might be lower in a large multinational organisation, but you will need to ensure you have an appropriate knowledge of the local language
  • What are the costs of your trip? You need to ensure that your salary covers all your expected costs and if not, plan for how you are going to meet the shortfall

Is my degree programme eligible?

If you are studying Politics, International Relations, PPE, Sociology, Philosophy, Criminology or Anthropology then you are able to take the Employment Experience Abroad/UK module option. This module is not o‌pen to Law students who should instead take the LAW3701 module.

When do I apply?

The current process is that you can apply for the Employment Experience Abroad/UK option in your second year with a view to going on placement in your third year. Briefings start in October and you will be asked to register your interest in taking the module by late December. Full details and a timeline will be provided at the briefings.

How do I find a work placement?

You are responsible for finding your own work placement, but we are here to guide and support you. There is lots of information available about how to source a placement, and there are also placements advertised on Handshake.

What help is available?

You can contact the college employability team via with any questions that you have about the Work Placement Year. You can also find lots of information on working abroad through the Global Employability website.

Where can I go?

In theory you can go anywhere – however you will find restrictions in some countries. EU nationals have the right to work in any other EU member state. If you are undertaking your Work Placement Year overseas, then you may be eligible for Turing scheme funding. If you are going to a country for which you need a working visa, you will need to check the conditions and apply in plenty of time. Please also note that the University does not permit travel to countries or regions that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommend not travelling to.

Watch the recording and read the slides from the Employment Experience Abroad/UK Information Briefings (29/09/21):

SSI3020 Info Session 2021 Slides

SSI3020 Info Session 2021 Recording

SSIS Employability Placements ELE Page

Students should register their interest for the module via the Handshake survey in their 1st or 2nd year. The survey can be found here: . Once students have confirmed a placement, they can change their programme to add 'with Employment Experience Abroad' or 'with Employment Experience'. For any placement year queries, please contact:

Tel: +44 (0)1392 723336

Student profiles

Peter Beevski - IBM (Germany)

Marina Kosowski - International Alliance of Women (Athens), National Institute for Security Studies (Tel Aviv), Israel Public Policy Institute (Tel Aviv)

Phoebe Chubb - Labforward (Berlin)


Contact Us

For additional information on taking a work placement year in SSIS, please contact or view our resources ELE page here:

You can also book a 1:1 appointment with the Politics and SPA Employability and Placements Adviser, Ciaran Stoker, via Handshake.