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For students all over the world, the idea of going to study in Europe is truly exhilarating. Plus, the sheer variety and vastness of the region mean that almost every student can find their perfect fit if they decide to study in Europe.
Equally, the wide array of offerings and considerable variety can make it hard to get a detailed understanding of what it’s really like to study in Europe.
That’s where this guide is here to help. We’ll start with an overview of the key characteristics that attract students to Europe, so you and your students can identify whether it’s an ideal destination for them.
You’ll hear from some of our partner universities (including students!) to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to live and study at some of Europe’s most sought-after institutions.
Not only will this help your students locate the best-fit institutions for them, but the nuggets of insider wisdom will also help them tailor their university applications to suit the European universities they’d like to apply to.
Why study in Europe?
In many ways, Europe is the cradle of Western civilization. Its diverse histories, cultures, languages, cuisines and climates mean that international undergraduates are spoilt for choice.
So what are some of the biggest factors drawing students to Europe for higher education?
1) Study in Europe for cultural diversity
Many European countries play host to international students from around the world. It’s hardly surprising, given all the benefits we’ll cover in the post – and many more that we don’t have space to get into (like postgraduate residency pathways, popular exchange programmes and scholarship opportunities)!
As a result, European study destinations often provide a welcoming, dynamic atmosphere for incoming students.
For example, in the Netherlands around 10% of the student population is from abroad!
“Studying in the Netherlands, let alone at Hotelschool the Hague, has been the best decision I’ve made. The international atmosphere, helped by the fact that so many students and locals speak English, made it really easy for me to settle in and feel at home.”Manuel: Student at Hotelschool, the Hague
2) Student life in Europe is vibrant and dynamic
Of course, the melange of international students only adds to the exciting student life across many of these European destinations.
Almost across the board, students will be well within reach of bustling, cosmopolitan cities and mind-expanding museums; centuries-old historical sites and brand new entertainment experiences; high-end fashion boutiques and local farmers’ markets… In short, they’ll all find infinite opportunities for exploration and variety.
Plus, because so many students are coming to a brand new place – often where they don’t know anybody – institutions themselves do a great deal to provide even more activities and foster a strong sense of community.
For example, HotelSchool in the Hague has its “Skotel” in which all students stay for their first academic year. That gives them ample time to meet new friends, settle in and explore the area. Plus, they get two meals a day included in their rent!
There are also dedicated organisations to help students integrate into their new homes. ICN Business School in France, for example, works with Globe&Co to do just that. They also organise Integration Weekends to make students feel welcome right from the get-go.
3) Studying in Europe can provide an accessible world-class education
Many European countries have top-ranked higher education institutions, which are well known for their innovation and research. But at the same time, their barriers of entry are often much lower than rivals around the world.
For example, while the University of Amsterdam and the University of Bristol are pretty much on par according to most rankings, the grades they require from applicants are vastly different. The former asks for just CCC in A Levels, while the latter needs three As.
Aside from being more academically accessible while retaining excellence and rigour, European universities are often also full of skilled instructors and thought-out curricula. Combined, they impart in-depth understanding as well as key hard skills.
For example, at ICN students are first given a firm theoretical basis of the subject they’re studying, followed by more practical teaching. This then progresses into real-world, immersive experiences through competitive and enriching projects.
Which brings us to another key aspect of studying in Europe. Many of its higher education systems – like Germany’s and the Netherlands’s – have a reputation for high quality academic and vocational pathways, meaning students who are eager for a more hands-on approach can also find some of the world’s best courses within Europe.
“The faculty relationship with students is very family-like… The professors are very friendly and willing to answer your academic, professional or even personal matters.”Maria Viannet: International Promotion Officer, ICN Business School
4) Study in Europe for excellent career prospects
Because people who study in Europe often receive a world-class education, their chances of securing a great job are logically very high.
But it’s not just the stellar quality of education at so many European universities that boosts employability. In fact, many have strong bonds with top employers and arrange valuable industry placements, internships and other opportunities for their students.
For example, Hotelschool organises two in-depth placements lasting 6 months as part of their programmes. And that’s on top of practical teaching in its on-site hotels, restaurants and bars, as well as within the classroom.
There’s also ICN in France, which views professional and international experience as integral to its students’ education. Not only does the institution have a dedicated and active career centre, but its curricula even have professional development baked in, with allocated periods for internships and exchanges in both the Bachelor’s and Master’s timetables.
“There is a very helpful career service that constantly initiates career-oriented workshops to enhance your CV, better pitch your skills, or pass the job interview.”Maria Viannet: International Promotion Officer, ICN Business School
5) Tuition fees are often lower in Europe
We know that the cost of tuition is a significant consideration for many of the students we work with around the world. In fact, for some of your students, the cost of studying at university in another country might be a huge obstacle.
This is another reason why European countries are popular with international school students – they are increasingly affordable compared to popular destinations like the USA and the UK. And in some places (like most of Germany, as well as Sweden for EU students) studying in Europe is totally free of charge!
And in places that do still have tuition fees (which, again, are typically far lower than other popular destinations), there are often a wealth of scholarship opportunities available for international students – which are much harder to find in countries like the USA and the UK.
6) Many European degrees are taught in English
For some of your students, another perceived barrier to studying at university in Europe could be the fear that they can’t speak the native language.
But many courses are actually taught in English. Plus, because general English proficiency is so high in lots of these countries, your students should have an easy time conversing with locals.
This not only makes getting into programmes easier, it also has a whole host of benefits during and after students’ studies!
After all, studying in English in a country where that isn’t the national language means students get to perfect two languages, becoming all the more multilingual. And we all know how valued that is by employers!
It also affords extra job opportunities, with many tourist and hospitality sectors desperate for English speakers. Students whose visa/residency status allows might even look into language tutoring for some extra cash while they study!
7) It’s easy to travel between European countries
Many European countries are part of the Schengen Area, and a student visa from within that Area grants international undergraduates the opportunity to travel to any of its 26 countries.
And travel isn’t just simple in terms of legality – most European countries are well-connected by relatively inexpensive trains, buses and flights.
Of course, it’s not just students with the travel bug who can benefit from these more open borders. They also open up opportunities which can help students boost their employability and build their CVs before and after graduation.
From being more globally-minded or culturally aware, to speaking multiple languages, all the way to exchange and work placement opportunities in other countries, there are countless ways that making the most of the Schengen Area could brighten students’ future prospects.
Help your students study in Europe on their best-fit courses
Studying in Europe is doubtless an exciting prospect. But while its variety may exhilarate students – and means everyone can find their ideal academic home – it can also make university research and decision-making all the more daunting!
Students (and often their counsellors…) will have to dedicate plenty of thought, time and research as they weigh up European education options.
But there is a way to make it easier for you and for them: the free BridgeU platform! Its intelligent matching tools take into account students’ academic and personal preferences, aptitudes and needs to suggest the universities and programmes where they’re sure to thrive.
Students are also free to explore and compare their options with data on over 28,000 universities around the world, as well as tailored, exclusive videos, articles, and events where they’ll learn about everything from creating applications to signing up for student societies.
Make drawing comparisons and coming to informed decisions easy for your students. Get set up with your free account today!
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