Europe has long been a classic destination for study abroad students. From studying French in Paris to business in London, Europe is home to several of the world's most popular (and best) study abroad countries.
Europe also gets a reputation of being expensive. Though true that some nations, like Switzerland and Norway, aren't exactly student-budget friendly, places like Germany, Malta, Spain, and Portugal are surprisingly cheap -- not to mention all the student discounts offered throughout the EU and the UK!
No matter what your major, budget, or study abroad goal is, you're sure to find a program that suits you in diverse, little Europe.
The most popular study abroad destinations in Europe include:
However, some of the more overlooked European study abroad destinations also happen to be a bit more affordable (and off the beaten path!). If you want to expand your options beyond the above, you could also consider:
- Sweden: which has affordable full-degree programs (though not a very affordable cost of living).
- Malta: whose one university (the University of Malta) conducts courses in English.
- The Netherlands: which also have a few English-language university options.
- Portugal: Spain's overlooked, budget-friendly neighbor.
- Czech Republic: another budget-friendly option with a unique, non-Western culture.
Cost of Living
The cost of living varies throughout Europe, but fortunately, there are some ways to save -- no matter where you are -- as a student. Take advantage of student discounts (especially on transportation and in museums) or under 26 discounts. Look for student housing rentals (places like UniPlaces and Homestay.com are good places to start) and eat in when possible.
However, there are some expenses that you just can't avoid -- like tuition. But how much will you spend exactly?
Well, that depends on where you go and which program/university you choose. For example, the total price of a semester in England could run you as low as $14,200 if you're super thrifty and score a cheap flight, to $30,000 (especially if you're heading to Cambridge). Most students will fall somewhere in between.
In Italy, on the other hand, students confident enough in Italian to enroll directly at a university, could pay as little as $7,700 for a semester abroad. However, most students are more likely to spend around $17,050 - $32,000 for a single semester (the wide range mostly being due to tuition / program fees).
Oh, and France? Paris, unsurprisingly, will be the most expensive city to live in but smaller cities -- like Montpellier and Lyon -- are far much more reasonable. Regardless, you could spend $5,500 - $8,665 on the low end if you directly enroll in a French university. On the high end, a program with a third party provider could cost as much as $33,215. A more middle range number if going through a program provider is somewhere between $20,000 - $25,000.
Scholarships for Studying Abroad in Europe
Many European universities, study abroad providers, private organizations, and government agencies offer scholarships for students studying in Europe. Some well known scholarship and financial aid providers are the Fulbright scholarships and Gilman scholarships. This helpful website allows you to search a database of offered scholarships by entering your specific needs and information.
Go Overseas also offers a bi-annual $500 study abroad scholarship that can be applied to any program around the world.
Otherwise, try to book your flights at least 5 weeks in advance to get the best deal. You can set price alerts and search for flights on sites like Kayak.
For the most part, health considerations in Europe will be the same as at home. However, you may not be able to drink the water in a few countries (like Europe), so it's always good to ask when you arrive.
One of the biggest safety risks for study abroad students in Europe is petty theft. To avoid this, make sure you don't leave valuables unattended (like on the back of your chair at a cafe) and stay alert in crowded areas.
As terrorism is also a concern for study abroad parents, our best advice there is to keep up to date with the news and register for the State Departments STEP program to get alerts from them as well.
Your best bet for cell phones while you're in Europe -- especially if you're there for longer than 2 weeks -- is to come with an unlocked phone (most phones in the US are unlocked for international usage or, if not, you can easily make this request to your phone carrier) and get a local SIM card and pay as you go plan. For more details, read this guide to cell phones in Europe.