Completing an international work placement is one of the most transformational experiences you can have whilst studying with us at Sheffield Hallam and they have so many benefits, which last longer than the experience itself. This is a rewarding experience that provides the opportunity to develop professionally, academically and personally. Gaining experience abroad shows resilience and adaptability, as well as deepens your understanding of different cultures.
Like all placements, they need to be approved before you start the placement and before you make any travel arrangements. Get your placement approved as soon as you have secured your placement. You will need to have completed the ‘abroad’ section of the Health & Safety: Professional Preparation for your Placement module. You can do this at any time and it’s helpful to guide your research too.
Our Go Global pages have information on the full range of international opportunities, from academic-led visits and study abroad opportunities to work placements, and they have some really great advice on preparing to travel.
Study Abroad & Placement
It is possible to do your study abroad and placement in the same year. If you are doing study abroad and undertaking a placement, you will still need to complete a minimum of 24 weeks on placement in an industry setting in order to pass the placement year. Please be aware any study weeks spent on a semester abroad do not count towards the weeks requirement of a placement year.
If you plan to the study abroad element first, please be aware that your placement must start no later than the end of Semester 1. You will also need to have secured your placement and submitted the details in Handshake for approval before the start of the Academic year, failure to do so will prevent you from enrolling for your placement year and will result in you being transferred to the Full-Time route of your course. This will have a significant impact on applying for and a delay in receiving the correct funding and fees.
If you would like more information about studying abroad, please visit the Study abroad page on the GoGlobal website.
Visas & Immigration
Never assume you can work in a country without checking. You may need to apply for immigration permission for the country where you plan to work. It is your responsibility to apply for the relevant visa for the country you will be working in, and you can find this information on the Embassy website of the country you wish to work in or you can check on our Visa information pages. The University can provide information and guidance about the application process but we cannot provide support with individual applications. Students will need to do this independently.
Internship Agreements / Tripartite Agreements
Some countries require a 3-way agreement between you, the University and your Placement Provider. For example, in Spain and France. If your placement provider requires this, contact the Work Experience Team and they’ll recommend someone who can help.
International Students and your UK Student Visa
If you are an international student and wish to do a placement overseas, Sheffield Hallam will continue to sponsor you. You will need to seek immigration permission from the country where you will work unless it is your home country. You must follow the same guidelines as if you were working in the UK and keep us informed of any changes to your placement. Further information for International Students on Student Visas.
Health, Safety & Welfare
Travelling outside the UK can be exciting and different, if you don’t know about differences you might put yourself at risk. All students going on any type of placement are required to complete the Health & Safety: Professional Preparation for your Placement module. If you’re planning to complete your placement abroad, you will also need to complete the ‘abroad’ section of the training module. After completing the module, you will:
- Understand some of the additional risks associated with overseas travel and working in another country
- Understand the additional research you will need to do to make sure you are ready for a placement abroad
- Understand how COVID-19 affects overseas travel and your ability to undertake placements abroad
- Understand more about the University’s support available to you, e.g. travel insurance
- Understand what to do if your placement becomes unsafe and you need to travel back to the UK
You also have access to the University’s pre-departure module on blackboard, which we also recommend you complete.
Once you have secured an international placement contact the organisation for advice on accommodation. Although this advice will present options, it is likely you will need to arrange this yourself. It's important that you do your research and consider: distance from work, costs, bills and length of contract.
Agencies that provide support with finding accommodation overseas include: HousingAnywhere and Student.com. As well as this, you may need to arrange short-term accommodation upon your return to Sheffield. There are options to do this through weekly contracts. The University’s Accommodation team can provide advice on this.
International placements can be costly, but there are funding opportunities to support you. These include the Turing Scheme and GoGlobal fund. Managing your finances whilst you're abroad may mean opening an overseas account, or checking your restrictions on your current bank (unless your stay is short).
Travel Insurance & restricted countries
Sheffield Hallam can provide you with travel insurance for Immediate/Emergency Medical cover, Repatriation and Cancellation. The details and limitations of this cover will depend on the status of the country at the time of booking, or if it is a country within the Common Travel Area.
Your placement must be approved by the University’s Work Experience Team and during this approval you will need to complete the SHU Travel Insurance Request Form and return to TIRequests@shu.ac.uk. You will receive a copy of the confirmation of cover certificate by email. The travel insurance policy provided by the University does not cover personal possessions, so please ensure that you have adequate insurance for anything you are taking with you. It is advised that you should keep a copy of your insurance policy and passport with you at all times in case of emergency for proof of insurance.
Countries that are not covered and where travel is not permitted:
- North Korea
- North Sudan
Certain regions of the following countries will need to be assessed on an individual basis:
- Hong Kong
This list is subject to change, so whilst every care has been taken to ensure its accuracy, a country’s eligibility may change so it is essential that you submit your Travel Insurance Request Form as soon as possible. Your request will be declined if the country you are travelling too has been deemed too high risk by our provider at the point of your request.
Culture shock is common among travelling placement students. When living in another country, it is completely normal to experience a degree of culture shock. It is recommended to familiarise yourself with your new surroundings as soon as you arrive with an open-minded approach. This could include going on short walks and tasting the local cuisine. Researching the local traditions will also make you feel more at ease in your placement destination. If your placement is being hosted in a country where the language is new to you, it would be beneficial to learn some key phrases to be able to communicate to a certain degree.
It is good to research whether you will need any vaccinations before going on placement as courses of injections may be needed several months prior to departure. You can visit gov.uk for advice and guidance on the country in which your placement is taking place.
Student Health at Hallam provide a variety of vaccinations for students, some are free whereas others do have a cost dependant on if they are funded by the NHS. Check the Student Health at Hallam website to see which vaccinations are offered, and don’t forget to register for the service first before trying to book any appointments.