The School of American Studies at the University of East Anglia, UK, is committed to ensuring that its students get everything that they possibly can out of their degree with us. In addition to studying American literature, culture, history, and politics in an intellectually stimulating environment, the majority of our students spend their third year on a study abroad programme at one of the Higher Education Institutions with which we have relations. Currently, we have links with universities across the United States (including Alaska), Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong and our students have the choice between spending a full year in North America or a year split between North America, Australia, or Hong Kong.
The skills that students learn and hone in their Year Abroad cannot be underestimated and it is well recognised that the Year Abroad experience adds a significant amount to students’ graduate profile – the identity that they forge throughout their university experience. The aim of this project is to maximise the potential of this unique experience and help our students to develop the tools to fully engage with the ways in which their experience of studying abroad enhances their graduate identity. The project has been designed to be multilayered, creating a structured programme that extends from the second level of study, through the Year Abroad, and into the final year. The Second Level students take part in a series of workshops delivered by AMS faculty, Careers, and returned Fourth Level students. In addition to delivering workshops, the Fourth Level students have the opportunity to be trained as mentors for the outgoing Second Level students. Through AMS Connect: AMS Alumni-Student Network all students will have the opportunity to be mentored by AMS alumni who are there to support and enhance the Year Abroad student experience for those about to leave, those on their Year Abroad, and for those returning in their Fourth year of study with AMS. The matching of AMS alumni to AMS students recognises the unique experience of Year Abroad study and the impact this experience can have on individual career choices and a graduate’s employability profile.
If you are an AMS / EAS Alumnus or alumna and would like to become a remote mentor for our Year Abroad students, please contact us via the Contact Page. We look forward to hearing from you!
Adrienne Jolly, Careers Advisor, Careers and Employability Centre, UEA.
Dr Wendy McMahon, Lecturer in American Studies, AMS, UEA.