UNIVERSITY bosses on Wearside have announced they will be waiving the fees for language students during their study abroad year.
The University of Sunderland says the move will help ensure the door to higher education remains firmly open to those young people with talent regardless of background.
Following consultation, the university’s Faculty of Education and Society has agreed that none of its UK/EU students going abroad for a full academic year as part of their degree studies, regardless of destination, will be charged tuition fees.
Under new rules, students nationally are required to pay 15 per cent of their fees for the year, but Sunderland is one of just several institutions which have decided to scrap this fee and cover the costs.
Judith Turner, subject leader for Modern Foreign Languages at the university, said: “We recognise that in an increasingly globally and internationally connected world, a foreign language can help you to stand out to potential employers.
“The value of the year abroad is incredibly important, as students come away with so many transferrable and communications skills.
“The country is desperate for linguists and by not having to pay for that vital study year abroad in the third year of a languages course, we will continue to attract more students to the courses we offer.”
Rebecca Dodds, 22, from Sunderland, has now finished her three-year Spanish and Tourism Degree and describes her final year abroad – paid for by the university – as the best year of her life so far.
She said: “I think it’s important that the university waives the fee for the year abroad because it isn’t a year of university experience – it’s more about the language learning and culture.
“I lived in Tarragona, Spain, for the full academic year, studying at the host university. I became independent, more confident, improved my Spanish language skills, made friends for life who I still meet up with and became a lot closer to those I was already at the University of Sunderland with.”