Europe makes one think of jaw-dropping architecture; grand history; intoxicating languages; mouth-watering cuisine…the list goes on. For someone who has lived in just one place for a long time – perhaps somewhere with little sense of history or culture – Europe can seem like a haven full of new possibilities. Plus it’s very easy to travel through the continent and see a lot in a small space of time.
And it’s not just the perks outside the classroom which make Europe a desirable destination for students. European countries also boast some of the most revered education systems in the world which means that at the end of your studies you come away with a respected qualification in addition to a lifetime of experiences and memories. In fact a summer or year abroad in Europe is already a popular option for many students from countries like America.
But why should you study a whole degree in Europe?
Quality of education
Europe boasts some of the strongest education systems in the entire world. Universities ranks the top higher education systems in the world each year. In 2014, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom all made the top 10. Meanwhile Finland, the UK, the Netherlands, Ireland and Poland all feature in the top 10 overall education systems in the world according to Pearson.
Continent of innovation
When you think of the word ‘innovation’, you might immediately think of Asia or America because of their strong ties to technology. However did you know that Sweden is the home of technology and software which you use every day? Skype, Spotify, Candy Crush, Minecraft and Angry Birds all come from Europe, specifically Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Finland.
Europe has history
Europe has far more history than some other continents like America which was only discovered in the 15th century. Therefore Europe’s further-reaching origins often appeal to individuals who don’t quite have the same sense of history back home. You’ll be completely taken aback by the jaw-dropping architecture and remains of yesterday. Plus, if you’re a history student, these adventures may inform your studies too.
See a lot, close together
Europe is made up of approximately 50 countries and they all vary in terms of customs, lifestyle, language, sights etc. So you won’t run out of things to do and you don’t necessarily have to jump on a plane or move across oceans to find them. It’s relatively easy to move through Europe, especially if you are European yourself. “InterRail-ing” via train is a popular method used by both current students, those on a gap year and travellers, allowing smooth passage across borders. If you come from somewhere far away like Asia or America, make the most of being in Europe and see everything you can – you probably won’t be here forever.
Are you put off by the tuition fees or living costs which come with studying in America? It’s worth doing your research to find what specific countries in Europe can offer. Many want to grow the reputation of their higher education sectors; so they will offer scholarships, bursaries and subsidised tuition fees to entice more international students to their shores. For example, you may not know that Sweden has no tuition fees to EU students!
Learn a new language
What better time to learn a new language than when you’re young and able to fully immerse yourself in a city where it’s spoken all the time? Knowing more than one language can really add to your CV, opening up the opportunities where you can work (and thus live) in the future. Plus once you learn one language, it can often be easier to acquire new ones over time as they often share similar patterns or vocabulary.
And if you’re studying a languages course, actually learning it in the country where it is widely spoken is a while other experience which you shouldn’t miss out on.
Many – if not all – large international businesses will have a European headquarters in addition to those whose roots are in Europe. This means you can find ample graduate opportunities, especially as businesses expand into new markets. Related to the point above, studying in Europe can really benefit you when you begin to search for that first career step. Language skills, adaptability in new locations, knowledge of different cultures and markets…these can all contribute to finding that dream job in Europe.
Europe has a reputation for having a rather relaxed way of life; words like ‘loose’, ‘bohemian’ or ‘liberal’ get thrown around quite a bit. This is true to a certain extent; while some preconceptions about Europeans may be true, experiencing European life first hand is the best way to understand this for yourself. This doesn’t mean that individuals in these countries don’t know the meaning of hard work or that the higher education systems here are lacking (the opposite in fact). Instead this relaxed attitude is evident in a wide range of circumstances and areas of European life, such as relationships, alcohol or drug consumption, work days, socialising etc.