Today Europe is one of the most popular destinations for higher education. The UK, Netherlands, France, Switzerland and other countries serve to students from all over the world. But why does everybody want to spend their study time and gain the diploma here?
One of the main reasons is that Europe owns some the oldest and the highest ranked universities in the world. However, there are a number of other causes why this continent attracts international student as a magnet.
First of all, you have a freedom to move between 28 states of the European Union if the student from abroad has a Schengen visa. With the exception of the UK and Ireland that are not in the Schengen zone, students can travel anywhere. Moreover, 19 EU countries have adopted the Euro, so no need to care about a currency exchange. The ability to travel without visa conditions or long queues is most very attractive to young people.
Studying in Europe also means that you will be surrounded by old-world cultures and many different languages. Students will be able to gain a significant insight of the development of Europe with its history, religious and ideological contexts that have impacted the whole world.
Talking about the higher education system itself, there are two types of universities in Europe – public and private. Many public universities offer programs at very low fees and some even give courses for free while private higher education institutions usually ask you to pay a full price of tuition fees. In some universities bursaries and scholarships are available but students need to cover their living costs.
Another useful aspect of the higher education system in Europe is the European Credit System (ECTS) which ensure the recognition of degrees at all levels. This includes Bachelor’s, Master’s studies and all kind of PhDs in the EU and other countries.
Moreover, most European universities allow their students to study some time or some courses in another country at all levels, including research. It means that you can move, for example, from France to Finland to study one year or semester, also for internships or various kinds of projects.
Europe is also very keen to host students from around the world. They recognise the need of skills for the future and have a favourable policy through its higher education institutions to attract the right talents.
Many public funded universities offer programs at very low fees or even for free. It is only necessary to cover living expenses that can be quite high in some countries (For example, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, etc.). If you are able to afford private education, you can also choose one of a very competitive high ranked universities or colleges equipped by newest technologies, great level of teaching and other facilities for superior student life.
If you are thinking about supporting yourself during studies, a large number of the EU countries allow students to work during staying time. Some of them are more liberal on this question than others. For example, it is totally unrestricted in Sweden, while England offers 20 weekly hours, and Netherlands let to work only 10 hours per week. Most of them allow full time during the holidays.
The possibility to work in one of the European countries can depend on your study area. There are a large number of countries that welcome students to join their workforce in Healthcare, Natural Science, Engineering and IT – in all these areas there is a shortage of talents. Many countries offer students the opportunity to work for a period of 1 and 2 years after their graduation, including France, Germany and Netherlands while it is forbidden in Belgium.
To sum up, studies in Europe is still one of the most popular between overseas students because of the opportunities to open one's mind to other cultures, learn new languages and to experience differences in teaching. However, the policy for international students is different in every European country and even university. Therefore, before packing your luggage and buying flight tickets, it is important to consider your options very well and choose the most suitable country & university for you.