Study abroad threat

December 25, 1998

Jim Coleman has drawn attention to the Sorbonne declaration, signed by the UK, that commits its signatories to encouraging students to spend a part of their course studying in another country ("Make the most of study abroad", THES, 11 December).

No doubt everyone would say Amen to that. However, residence abroad, which has been a part of most language degree courses in the United Kingdom for many years, is under particular scrutiny, partly because of the threat to it from financial cuts and student fees and partly because it is only relatively recently that serious attention has been paid to essential aspects such as assessment, accreditation and proper integration with the rest of the course.

There is an urgent need for all those who have an interest in ensuring the success of residence abroad (and that includes students) to get involved in the debate about what it is for, how it is best organised and how its value can be properly recognised.

The three Higher Education Funding Council For England-funded projects mentioned in the article, based at Lancaster, Oxford Brookes and Portsmouth, are working on different aspects of the residence abroad experience and would like to hear from those who can contribute in any way.Contact details can be found on: http://lang.fdtl.ac.uk

Mark Bannister

Director

Learning and Residence Abroad Project

Oxford Brookes University

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