Summer 2016 has come to a close, which means summer 2017 is just around the corner. It’s time to start investigating summer study abroad programs. If you’ve had your eye on Europe but just cannot decide on which country to go to, we’ve narrowed it down so that you don’t have to. Here are the three best and most affordable European countries to study abroad in where you’ll get bang for your buck.
Germany is special, above all, for the fact that students can now study for free at public universities. It’s an encouraging step forward for Europe as a whole, especially when compared with the ongoing student debt crisis in the United States.
Thanks to the German government’s efforts to empower its students, you can now study and live in one of the most advanced and innovative nations in the world. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy some of the world’s finest beer while chatting with locals. You’ll see the world from a new perspective, all while receiving a stellar education.
Private universities will typically cost around €1,000 (approximately $1,100 USD) per term, and the education tends to be of a higher quality. That said, the highest ranked university in the country, LMU Munich, is a public institution. International university ranking company Times Higher Education ranked LMU Munich in the top 40 in the world. And just to add to the appeal, Munich, along with Berlin, is among the most cosmopolitan cities in the country.
The only setback is the cost of living. But if you plan to live on a budget, you have plenty more options in less touristy cities. There are a total of 109 public universities throughout the country of Germany, and they’re all free and waiting for you to apply.
Bear in mind, however, that this new free tuition policy is not without its flaws. The Guardian reported that many public universities are finding ways to tack on hidden fees to compensate for the lack of tuition income. So keep an eye out for administration costs and other such charges.
The French take their higher education very seriously, which means that if you choose France as your destination, you can rest assured that you’ll be in good hands. You’ll have upwards of forty different cities to choose from, all of which have higher education institutions with study abroad programs.
And as far as costs go, France rivals Germany. Forget a summer term. A bachelor’s degree in France will cost you no more than €200 EUR (about $225 USD) per year! A master’s will only cost about €260 a year. Specialized degrees like medicine can be a bit higher, but are still not even comparable to what a medical student must go through in the US. Of course, that is assuming that you are accepted. Particularly in the case of specialized schooling, admissions are extremely competitive. Let that act as incentive for you to get down to studying.
If you do manage to get in, you will see some of the most historic regions, art and architecture in the world. And, by default, you quite possibly will pick up a bit of French. Especially if you are living in Paris, you may notice that the French don’t always mix so nicely with Americans. But as is the case with the German elders, the more French you speak, the easier time you’ll have breaking that cultural barrier.
In January of this year, U.S. News voted Italy the best country for studying abroad. It’s dripping with history and culture. And it embraces a far more relaxed, party lifestyle to a much further extent than the other two countries on this list. And while on the topic of history, Italy is home to the single oldest still operating university in the world.
Tuition is unlikely to exceed €1,000 EUR per year, although it varies by institution. Regardless of which university you choose, a summer program will be more than reasonable.
Additionally, of the three countries in this list, Italy is the most affordable in terms of cost of living. Everything from food and drinks to rent in cities like Florence or Rome will run you less than what you would be paying in Paris or Munich.
If you’re careful with your money, you shouldn’t have to spend any more than €1,000 per month for everything, including entertainment and the obligatory living expenses, even in cities like Rome. For less known cities you can cut it down to even less.
Perhaps the greatest strength and simultaneously the greatest weakness of Italy is the language barrier. Some students in the past have expressed frustration over the fact that professors are sometimes less than fluent in English. This can limit communication, which is especially frustrating in cases where students are seeking extra help.
The education itself is solid. But without a basic to intermediate level of Italian, you may encounter some undesirable obstacles in your academic experience. In any case, language skills are as sought after of a professional skill as ever, so you would ultimately benefit from the challenge if you were to embrace it as such.
Studying abroad is your first opportunity to truly escape from the bubble you were raised in. It’s an opportunity to see the world through a new set of eyes. Take this opportunity in stride. From Abroad101, we sincerely hope you found this helpful. Did you agree with our list? Let us know in the comments section below.
Matt Dancis writes for Language Trainers, a language tutoring company that teaches any language, anytime, anywhere. It has native speaking instructors throughout the world who give customizable private or small group classes either in person or on Skype. Take one of their free language level tests. Matt is from Philadelphia and has spent the past several years living in Argentina and Colombia, splitting his time between writing and teaching English. To contact Matt with any questions, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.