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Questions about studying and working abroad during your degree.

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How did your ab initio Russian improve by the end of your year abroad?

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I've just created a TYA account just so I could ask this question, so I hope it's okay if I ask it. I'm not at university at the minute, but am 18 and hoping to study Spanish and French from GCSE level all the way up to A2 level, and then take French to degree level, picking Russian up ab initio. My main concern with picking up Russian from scratch is that with it being a Slavic language, it will be much, much harder to learn alongside French, as opposed to Italian or Portuguese. I've been told that there's not a lot of people who speak English in Russia, even in the big cities such as St. Petersburg and Moscow, so you're obviously going to be forced to use your Russian skills, but I'm still not sure as to whether or not I'd actually be able to reach a native standard of Russian, which is my main goal with both of the languages I wish to pursue at uni. Also, slightly unrelated, but still relevant to Russia: Has anyone who is gay spent their year abroad in Russia? I'm not too worried about this for when I get there, because I still get people who I've known for 10 years ask if I'm gay. It's not obvious. So, my two questions are: How much did your Russian improve by the time you got home from Russia? Are attitudes towards homosexuality really as bad as everyone says they are? Thanks, Joe

I want to ship my luggage to my host institution in England, does anyone know what service I should use?

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I will be traveling the two weeks prior to arriving at my host institution and in order to minimize the luggage I take with me I'd like to send my main luggage (one big suitcase) straight to the university from my house located in the US. Upon doing some research I found two companies that provide such service: sendmybag and unibaggage. Questions: - Is anyone familiar with either service and would recommend using it? - Are there any other services I didn't mention?

Where do I apply for an A1 form?

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I receive a State Pension from the uk paying my tax in the UK, I live in Portugal and have an apartment I wish to rent out, I need an A1 form to declare that I am in receipt of the pension in order to exempt me from paying Social Security contributions, where do I apply for this.

Any advice on finding housing/accomodation in Amsterdam?

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I'll be studying abroad next year (2016/17) at VU Amsterdam and am currently trying to find out about accommodation. The halls for VU don't look great and I'm not sure how many Internationals actually stay there. Does anyone have any experience/advice they could offer me about trying to find student accommodation in Amsterdam? Thanks in advance!

Has anyone used STA Travel?

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Has anyone used STA travel as part of their year abroad? Their flight rates look good and so do their tours. They're fully protected, which is a plus, but if anyone has used them, did they have a good experience? I wanted to know about other people using them before I got any quotations. (I'm looking to spend my year abroad in Latin America, so cheaper flights would be very useful!)

How many months do I have to work abroad?

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I am doing a dual major in Spanish/International Politics and I must do a year abroad in a Spanish speaking country as part of my degree. I have chosen to go to Argentina to work independently, but for how long do I have to work there? Is there a set amount of time (several months?) or is it the full academic year?

Do I have to get an A1 form?

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I am a part owner of a house in Portugal which is held in a company. My accountants are saying I must produce an A1 form otherwise the 'Company' will have to pay social security contributions Are they correct and is it because the house is held in a company?.I am a 71 year old pensioner and I have no earned income in either the UK or Portugal. The house is not rented out and I only use it for approx 12 weeks a year broken into separate holiday periods. I have sent the authorities proof of the fact that I receive a pension in the UK .

NSW uni 3rd year starts in dec 2015. How does year 4 back in uni of Birmingham start in Sept 2016?

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Does the NSW year end early in 2016 or does it overlap with birmingham and mean that student has to start a year 5 with increased debts and costs? Will student be ready to start year 4 in September 2016 in uk?