Going abroad

Living and studying abroad is highly recommended for all students. Not only will it boost your confidence in speaking English, but it will also be an exciting, enriching and maturing experience. Whether you participate in an exchange program, work as a language assistant or attend a summer course, your stay will be a great opportunity to discover a new culture, make new friends and have a great time.

1) A Language Stay Abroad

The Language Stay Abroad is an option in Block 2 of the Study Plan - Students are required to take an advanced language course at an English-speaking university. The conditions of the course must be approved in advance by the Institute director. At the end of the course, students must provide a certificate of completion, certifying that they have fulfilled all course requirements. A stay including a total of 150 hours of work is required (= 6 ECTS), i.e. the equivalent of four to six weeks, and corresponding to a level >=B2. - Students cannot validate two language stays. 

Bachelor students following English as their secondary branch (Pilier Secondaire) or primary branch (Pilier Principal) and who choose to study advanced English language courses in an English-speaking country, either directly before university or during their summer vacation, can receive 6 ECTS  toward the completion of Block 2. Students who study abroad in a literature or linguistics summer programme, through ERASMUS, or who enroll in the LAP program (see below) can also receive credits.

Note: In order to receive credits, the language stay should include a total of 150 hours of study, equivalent to a stay of 4 to 6 weeks. This can be fulfilled in a single stay, or else during the course of two or more summers. We strongly recommend that students who wish to receive credit take advanced language courses at an English-speaking university, NOT at a private language school. They must also have their language stay abroad pre-approved by the Institute director. Please also read p. 7 in the Plan d'études du BA for additional information and conditions.

Example of a language stay abroad programme that we accept:



2) A Summer Course in English Literature or Linguistics.

A language-stay option for more advanced students, many British and American universities also offer intensive summer courses in English linguistics or literature (eg. Cambridge University literature courses). BA students who follow a course can receive 6 ECTS toward the completion of Block 2. Conditions need to be pre-approved by the Institute director.

3) French Language Assistant Program (LAP)

-Alternatively, students can spend nine months in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland as a French Language Assistant  (LAP). The Application deadline for LAP is 17 January. Students enrolled in LAP can count 6 ECTS or 12 ECTS (Language Stay Abroad Requirement and Professional Internship) towards Block 2.

Here is what some of our students have had to say about the LAP exchange:

Jean-Frédéric Martin writes:

The LAP is very well organised and I encourage students to try it. I was in England (Farnborough, Hampshire, roughly 1 hour by train from London) for 6 or 7 weeks and I really enjoyed my time in the UK. The college (Sixth Form College) where I worked is gorgeous and the job was very rewarding. I had plenty of clever students (especially at level A2) and I liked to listen to them when they spoke French. My colleagues were very friendly and helpful and if I had any problems I could easily speak to them. I taught 14 hours per week, which is reasonable. I tried to study the rest of the time but I particularly like travelling. Indeed, I travelled every weekend. I usually took the train as I had a discount card with South West Trains. As I was quite close to London, I went there six times at least, but there still are a lot of sites to visit there. I also went to Salisbury, Stonehenge, Winchester, a small medieval village called Farnham, and Hampton Court Palace. But there are so many interesting places in England that it is hard to find time to see them all in one year. I intend to go to Lichfield, Lincoln, Bath, Exeter, Dover, Windsor, York, and so on, as I am keen on castle, cathedrals, monasteries, ruins... well, any kind of historic "stones".

I have a very good opinion of England now that I have lived there. I did not imagine the country to be so lovely; indeed, most of the stereotypes I heard before moving to England are unfair and untrue. For example, I ate very well, the weather is not that bad (it rains less often than in my region in Switzerland), and people are very friendly and polite, etc.  Besides, England is full of intersting places to visit and I really enjoyed myself. I would advise anyone to go to England to see for themselves because it is really worth it.

 4) Study Abroad (ERASMUS and other student exchanges)

Unlike the Language Stay Abroad, Study Abroad allows qualified students the opportunity to follow regular university courses at  a foreign university, for which they receive an equivalent number of credits at their home institution. For students wishing to study abroad, the University of Neuchâtel currently maintains student exchange agreements with Sheffield Hallam University , the University of Sheffield , the University of Kent at Canterbury, Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (USA), University of Alaska, Fairbanks (USA), and the University of Technology Sydney (Australia). To obtain more information on these exchange programs or to apply, please contact the Bureau de mobilité. Watch out for application deadlines, most of which are in early spring. 

Students who plan to study English literature, linguistics or medieval studies at a foreign university need to get their courses pre-approved by the  responsable de pilier  in order to receive credit at their home institution. Students will only be given the equivalent number of credits if they do all the work required for the course, including all essays and in-class tests, and they must pass the course. Please note that British, American and Australian universities do not award credits according to the Bologna ECTS system, meaning that we cannot award students the exact equivalent in ECTS credit hours. The usual credit equivalence that we award is the following:

-British universities: 1 module (usually a lecture and discussion sections with two writing assignments) is the equivalent of 12 ECTS 

-American and Australian universities: 1 course (lecture or seminar, normally with writing requirements) is the equivalent of 6 ECTS 

5) Scholarships to pursue your studies abroad

A number of fellowships are available to help students pursue their studies (MA or PhD) abroad in an English-speaking university. You can check what is available with your local civic associations (Lion's Club, etc). Some fellowships are also available in Switzerland on a competitve basis. These include:

-The Fulbright Foreign Student Program
The Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world. Partial grants of up to US$ 20,000 each sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and private sponsors to be used toward the cost of tuition, fees, and other academic expenses. The grants are 10 months in length and are not renewable. 8 grants are available each year in Switzerland to pursue an MA or PhD degree in a US university. Ideally your subject of study will focus on the United States (http://foreign.fulbrightonline.org)

-The Berrow Fellowship: A Fellowship to pursue a doctorate at Lincoln College, Oxford. Berrow Foundation Scholars may follow any course of study within the University leading to the award of a higher degree.  Candidates must be n ationals of, and domiciled in, either Switzerland or Liechtenstein.  They should currently be members of one of the following universities: Berne, Fribourg, Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchatel or the Ecole Polytechnique Federale of Lausanne, or should not be more than five years beyond graduation from a first degree at one of these institutions.  http://www.berrow-society.org/the-berrow-foundation-scholarships.html 

We encourage you to speak to the institute director if you are interested in applying to either of these in order to help prepare your application.

This is what some of our students have had to say about their study abroad experiences:

Camille Boillat (Sheffield Hallam U.) writes:

My stay in Sheffield iwill soon be over. I had great time here. I live in a house with 25 students. They are all English and that ihas really helped me to improve my English, even if the expressions they taught me cannot be used at university! I also tried to avoid other foreign students in order to improve my English! The city is lovely and interesting and a lot of young people live here due to the two universities. I would like to visit more English cities but the cost of travel is very expensive here. Concerning my studies, my courses at Hallam University are really interesting.

Pauline Henry (University of Kent) writes:

To the English Institute, teachers and students:
I am now nearly at the end of my stay at the University of Kent, Canterbury. I am just writing to give everybody my impression about this Erasmus exchange. I had a great time here. I improved my English quite a lot, especially my understanding of spoken English and, moreover, I learnt some slang words (thanks to my English friends!) which is useful as much as interesting! I met a lot of people, from everywhere in the world (Japan, Germany, USA, Finland, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, etc), and some of them have become true friends.
I encourage every student in English who still hesitates concerning the destination of his/her Erasmus exchange to choose Canterbury. It is indeed a really pleasant town, and the campus is great: it is lively, has got a club, a cinema, shops, cafeterias, and a huge library! Moreover, Canterbury is near everything: the big city of London, the North Sea, and the country if you like walking...
So: friendships, good time, sunshine (the "England = bad weather" myth is broken, we had beautiful weather during the 6 months I was in the UK!), happiness, and, of course, improved knowledge in the language and in literature... What else could we ask for???
Best wishes to everybody, and see you all soon!
Pauline Henry

Alina Oppikofer (Sheffield Hallam University) writes:

Best wishes from Sheffield!
P.S. Best wishes could be replaced with the local "cheers, love" and please do not be offended (as I was during my first days here) - it is simply a different point of view. Welcome to Sheffield!
P.P.S: Curiosite oblige- it seems there is also "cheers, duck" as you go south - valid alternative, however much less flattering for the human ego!
With scones, flapjacks and a cup of tea
We greet your majesty,
Alina Oppikofer

Laure-Anne Pessina (Sheffield Hallam University) writes:

I have been living in Sheffield for one month, and I find it great and nice. The courses are very interesting and I hope I am going to improve my English.

Marta Carvalho (University of Kent) writes:

Just a few words to let you know how things are going on here in Kent. Until now, everything has been all right. Living on a campus is an interesting, enriching and lively experience. With certain advantages, of course, but also with a few inconvenients...I have got nice housemates but unfortunately, we don't meet very often. Moreover, only one of them is "purely" an English native speaker. In a sense I am somewhat disappointed.The seminars and lectures that I registered in are fascinating. Although, the quantity of reading is absolutely amazing ! After a meeting with my Academic Adviser during my first week here, I seriously had to think about the choice of my modules and reconsider my timetable. Indeed, it was too busy and I finally decided to five up some of my modules. Otherwise, everything is going fine. I registered at the Sports Centre and also in some other societies, which gives opportunity to meet people and to practice the language. I also go quite often to the cinema or to the theatre and I have even planned to go to the Circus next week ! I have got very busy weeks. How time flies ! Being away from home is not that easy but everyone is so lovely here that it definitely makes the situation softer. Thank you for saying a big hello to all the staff at the Institute. I will go home for Christmas on 16th December and I will surely go to Neuchâtel before the break. I look forward to it. Best wishes, Marta

Emilie Bardet (University of Utah, USA) writes:

I wanted to let you know that I am doing fine here. I have a lot of work to do but I enjoy it. It is actually very interesting. I am doing very well in my exams and I still have time to enjoy travelling (I have been to many national parks, to Yellowstone, to Las Vegas, and next week-end I am going to Denver). I bought my car to travel it is easier.