Applying abroad


I'm finishing a masters at a uni in N. Ireland that I also did my undergrad at. I love the place but am interested in getting out and studying in Europe where I'd benefit from the linguistic/cultural education of acclimatising to a new environment as well as studying for a phD in composition (music).

Does anyone have any experience of doing this? A lot of the music I study originated in France, so I'd prefer to go there to study.

For anyone who has studied abroad, how did you fund your PhD? From what I can see you have to be studying in the UK to be eligible for AHRC funding. How much of a problem was the language barrier?



i can't comment on funding etc, but i did a year abroad (in Paris) as part of my undergrad degree, and I have to say it was the best thing I have ever done! to be perfectly honest, the language barrier was pretty horrendous to start with (even though I have an A level in French), but it got easier and easier as I went along and I felt almost fluent by the time I came back. The French are generally extremely helpful to anyone wanting to learn their language, and they forgive most of your linguistic mistakes and almost everyone I met tried to help me in terms of correcting grammar/pronunciation (even people in shops, banks etc). Obviously it very different from living in England, and their lax approach to paperwork/admin in academia is incredibly infuriating, but it was a wonderful experience to study in such a different environment, and you pick up the language incredibly quickly once you are thrown in at the deep end!


That sounds great!

Actually the dept I'm in at the minute is quite lax with administration so that'd suit me down to the ground. Submitting paperwork in French would probably be a real struggle all the same. I have only GCSE French but I'm hoping that I'll pick it up fairly quickly like you say. There's only so much that watching French films and Cosmocats (that's Thundercats to you and me!) can do!

Funding is the big issue though. I know PhD's cost a lot less to do in France but I'm not sure where I stand with living expenses?


when i was over there, i met an english guy who only had a D in French at GCSE, and he managed pretty well and was just as fluent as the rest of us by the end, so it can be done!

living costs when i was there (which was 2003) were pretty cheap compared to the UK, but unfortunately now with the exchange rate being so poor it won't seem so much of a bargain! but they cater well for their students at universities, and if you were lucky enough to get a place in halls you would save a fortune. i stayed in halls on campus and had a very basic room with a shared bathroom/kitchen, but it only cost about £30 a week so i wasn't about to complain! they also heavily subsidise meals on campus in the canteens so a good lunch was only about £2. obviously this will vary from uni to uni, but i think in general students in France get a much better deal than we do!

however, the downside to this is that the universities ae fairly poorly equipped compared to over here, so I would make sure you do your research, and maybe even visit the university if at all possible before committing to anything. i was at universite de paris-sud studying biochemistry, and the science labs were terribly basic and old-fashioned. again, this will probably vary from uni to uni, but paris-sud is world famous for its science so i would think it is probably fairly representative. so i would highly recommend visiting first, and check out things like the library as well, as the one at paris-sud was shocking!


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I've been considering studying abroad: I've seen an advert for a PhD in Orsay (near Paris) that seems very interesting to me! Luckily, they seem to want the applicant to be an English speaker so as far as I can see it, the language barrier will be related to every day stuff rather than study itself. It may be worth learning at least some of the language to get by, and you will pick it up as you go along: also I have a feeling that some Universities will offer intensive language courses before you start?