The Insider’s Guide to the Year Abroad is an online, peer support resource supporting the year abroad. Developed in 2015, the project is the result of a collaboration between the College of Arts and Law Student Experience team and final year students from across the college who have been on a year abroad. Across the past two years the CAL Student Experience team have been working with our Year Abroad Ambassadors to create a site where students can post advice, information, guidance etc. that is based in real life experience of the year abroad process.
The Insider’s Guide provides interactive support for students whilst they are preparing for their year abroad (UK section) and signposts to university resources, as well as providing detailed information, advice and guidance on 38 regions across the globe created by our final year IGYA ambassadors. The content included within each section – that includes written, video and interactive content - provides useful general tips for things such as dealing with homesickness, managing money and making friends etc., whilst also providing information on accommodation, travel and cultural difference specific to the region and based in each ambassadors own experience of their year abroad. The Insider’s Guide also provides support for final year students with the transition back to life in the UK and at the University of Birmingham, as well as numerous opportunities to connect with other students through interactive resources like our Google Map, which allows second year students to connect with their year abroad peers before they leave.
We have regions from France and Spain, to Martinique and Israel, with each section including written content, video content and photo content created by our ambassadors, overseen by the CAL Student Experience Team. As of the beginning of 2017 this resource has now been rolled out to all students within the University to widen the year abroad support network and to enhance and promote the variety of opportunities for student mobility.
This is a university wide resource
The average monthly page view for 2016/17 is 3,000 views per month, which often rises to 5,000 at key points in the year abroad calendar
Total views for 2016/17 total 24,323
This resource aims to provide invaluable support for students at all points in the year abroad process. Peer support is at the heart of the project, to encourage students to take charge in making key decisions and preparing for the year abroad and to provide a space for students to be advised and learn from the experiences of their peers. It provides content that is useful and relatable in an accessible and interactive way and fosters a year abroad community across the university that transcends discipline and year group, creating a more global student body in all sense of the word.