Want to know what life is like for international students who are studying in Europe?
We interviewed 20 students from around the world who are studying at a university in Europe. For full details of their experiences click on their name below.
Full details of the students' experiences
Aphius from Namibia, studying for a Veterinary Medicine Bachelor’s degree in Croatia
“I felt welcomed the moment I got to the university and it seemed as if they were expecting me.”
Studying in Europe has been a good experience so far. Students and lecturers are sociable and communicative. One wouldn’t feel isolated in their company, I felt welcomed the moment I got to the university and it seemed as if they were expecting me. Whenever you need a helping hand, somebody is always there to assist you, whether it’s related to the university or personal life. Since I have little or no knowledge of what kind of system other universities use, it would be unfair to generalise about what makes European universities different. My university, which is all I know about, is different in the sense that professors continuously evaluate students in classes where students participate in the topic in question.
When it comes to final exams, students are double-checked on the knowledge they acquired throughout the course of the class; students have to sit a written exam and then an oral exam. Small group exercises seem to be best at my university, because they help professors to interact more with students. More educational facilities for students are available, making it easier for students to study. One has to look at the exam pass mark: for a student to pass the class, he or she should obtain a minimum of 60%. To other students worldwide who are considering studying in Europe, I would say that it’s a good idea to study on another continent; it helps to exchange knowledge. Education in Europe is of a high standard and you will learn different languages and cultures, as there’s freedom of movement between European countries. Each university has an exchange programme whereby students are attached to another university for a certain period of time.
Issa from Brazil, studying for a Sports and Leisure Management Bachelor’s degree in Finland
“Make the best of the study time and be open to new challenges, to find out what your special interest is and where it can lead you.”
I’m a third-year student doing a Bachelor’s degree in Sports and Leisure Management. I have found that the studies here have given me broad skills and competences which I will need when I’m working as a Sports Instructor after graduation. Also, the business and project management courses included with the degree are useful for working life, because nowadays all work contains business thinking and projects. What I appreciate the most about the studies at a university of applied sciences is the practical way of learning. Studies are oriented to the working life, including the theoretical basic studies of the first year like Anatomy and Nutrition. Also, we were already instructing real clients in the second semester of studies. I had five of my own clients to give personal training. An essential part of the studies is five months of practical training, which is included in the studies.
On the subject of studying in Europe, I’ve been astonished by the quality of teaching methods. The Finnish people are really organised. Everything is clean, comfortable and well structured here. Things simply work, which isn’t always the case in Brazil. It’s also really safe in Finland, people don’t need to build fences around the houses. In addition, I can recommend the Friend Family programme to fellow international students. I joined the programme organised by my university’s International Services and I got more familiar with the Finnish way of life. I have been spending a lot of time with my Finnish family and their five children. They have invited me to family gatherings, to their cottage, sauna, fishing, swimming and other activities. The children don’t speak English so I’ve learned lot of Finnish from them. For others thinking about coming to Europe and doing a degree, my advice is “Go for it!” Make the best of the study time and be open to new challenges, to find out what your special interest is and where it can lead you.
Kafil from Bangladesh, studying for an International Business and Logistics Bachelor’s degree and a Strategic Finance and Business Analytics Master’s degree in Finland
“Travelling is one of my hobbies and being in Europe gave me a tremendous opportunity to fulfil my hobby.”
Studying in Finland is a great experience for me. I am not a Finn but I got all the support and facilities like a Finn. I chose to study in Finland because of no tuition fees. Finnish people are very nice, kind, honest and always helpful if you are lost. Finland’s education system is one of the world’s best. Among the 14 Finnish universities some of them are already world-ranking. What is different about European universities is that they offer high-quality academic programmes and internationally recognised degrees with improved career prospects. They collaborate with partner universities across the world, which makes studying more diverse. Furthermore, there is always a chance to learn new languages. As I discovered during my time studying here: Europe is diverse.
Alongside studies, there are a lot of opportunities for learning new competencies. Travelling is one of my hobbies and being in Europe gave me a tremendous opportunity to fulfil my hobby. You learn from your everyday life in Europe and that’s the best part of studying here. There is one suggestion that I would like to share. After studies, job opportunities should be created more for international students. Currently, job opportunities for international students are limited. However, there are other benefits to studying in Europe. EU educational institutions are offering higher quality, diversity and opportunity. An EU degree is very much in demand in Africa as well as Asia. Also, EU institutions are offering scholarships for students with excellent academic results. So why not study in Europe?
Nadya from Indonesia, studying for a Law Bachelor’s degree in France and Turkey
“Remembering the advantages of studying in Europe and the even bigger chances after your studies, you will never regret it.”
The best thing about studying in Europe is that there are a lot of international students who come to study there and it’s a great opportunity to widen the network for future professional life. Furthermore, the high-quality education, internationally recognised libraries and museums, easy and relatively decent public transportation in the European cities, Schengen visas to go to another European country: what else do we need? In terms of studying, my overall experience has been positive. A lot of European universities, especially those who have Erasmus+ programmes, are known for their international experiences, open-minded students and professional teachers. Students have easy access to attend conferences that invite professors from another country, experts, professionals, etc. The ECTS system is also an advantage because it will help students who want to apply for an exchange programme or a university from a different European country more easily.
Many students from outside Europe tend to have a stereotype that studying in Europe is difficult because of the high level of competition and because it’s really expensive. Personally, I wouldn’t fully deny that. But, remembering the advantages of studying in Europe and the even bigger chances after your studies, you will never regret it. Try looking for scholarships on the internet, work harder than any other students from the country you’re going to and you’ll be fine. It’s understandable that a lot of students are scared to go abroad, especially in Europe, because it’s too far and you’ll be alone in European countries without your family or friends. My advice: worry less, google more. A lot of information about the preparations required to study abroad, European universities, international students associations or emigration is on the internet. Just take your time in front of your laptop and voilà.
It takes a lot of effort to study in Europe, especially if your maternal language isn’t the same as the one used by the country you’re going to. I would consider myself lucky that I already learned English and French a few years before I arrived in France for my Bachelor’s degree. Now I’m learning Turkish during my Erasmus programme at a Turkish university. Meeting people from different countries, learning new cultures, traditions and lifestyles, studying at great universities with internationally experienced professors, those are just a few of the thousand advantages of studying in Europe. I sincerely think that all the effort is worth it!
Addamms from Kenya, studying for a Media (Film) PhD/doctorate in Germany
“You can achieve your dreams here… so far as I know, nowhere else is better than here.”
My first attempt to come to Europe to study was in 2003. I couldn’t get money. I tried again in 2006; still I didn’t succeed to get sponsorship. I tried again in 2014. Now I am here. Eleven long sad years of waiting and trying… is that trying enough to achieve the dream? What I really want to get across is the idea of resilience and pay-off. I do not know who is going to read these words, or where they will be. I want to tell you a secret: do not give up on your dreams. Try, try and keep trying. Europe is a good place to study. And there are many opportunities too. With hard work, and of course goodwill, you can reach your dreams here… so far as I know, nowhere else is better than here. The systems are quite open here, so if you’ve got what it takes, you’ve got it. No shortcuts, no discrimination. Apply and be free to share your ideas no matter how wild they feel; there is a professor somewhere waiting to welcome you and to guide you towards a really exciting academic voyage.
It is one of the best experiences in the world. That means it is both exciting and extremely challenging. The humbling kindness with which the general European populace greets strangers is really amazing. Even with my slim language skills, everyone is so supportive, from the random friends in the streets and the government administrators to the university community. I am really becoming reconfigured. Something else very important about studying in Europe is that the efficiency with which tasks are undertaken is totally excellent. I have learnt so much from the German culture of efficiency. Time now means a different thing than it meant before; I have deep respect for it.
I would say my European experience has tangibly enhanced my personal mentality and perspectives about life. I think the culture of openness is a very good one too. Germans will say a thing as it is. This eliminates all misunderstanding and helps to ensure communication is effective. Again, it links to the idea of respecting time and resources. Finally, respect, kindness and honesty. Europeans, at least the ones I have met so far, have this big heart and a deep sense of humaneness and discipline. Respecting even the smallest law makes the society very organised and liveable. Doing what is right is a mantra that really works well here. So I think, at a personal level, a student gets to learn more even from the culture besides the research. The European culture enhances the general outlook of life in a positive and optimistic way. Of course, I am yet to meet a lazy European who doesn’t take work seriously. So I will go back to my work and take it seriously too.
Good things about Europe include the culture, the systems, the infrastructure, the people, the climate and the opportunities. There are so many positive sides of studying here. The personal growth is really immense. The qualifications are also of really high quality. You cannot fake your way into a research award here. You have to do the work yourself and work really hard. This is a very important point in self-growth, mental actualisation and, of course, in serving humanity. In the end, you become more than your degree certificate, you become a scholar, a researcher, a helper of humanity in understanding notions of life. I also like the practice-oriented research here. There is a dynamic aspect of university life which reflects the advancement of knowledge, and hence development - unlike in many developing countries, where antiquated knowledge is still being circulated decades after it became obsolete.
What I like most is the atmosphere of the honest pursuit of academic growth. Everywhere I go, I get happy smiles of people willing to make my study experience better. My supervisor is a person with a sharp mind, yet moulds my intellect with gentleness (and this is one thing I will never forget). It is like growing up in a loving family, with everyone doing their best for each other. Somewhere in my history, I know of academic imperialists who don’t really want their students to progress. Maybe they should have been schooled in Europe too? It might have helped to inculcate a spirit of humbleness and humaneness in them. The active participation of students in the learning process is also a very exciting thing. Here, professors compel students to explore their minds and enrich their academic intellect fully. I like it that I can think independently and share my thoughts with my supervisor, who then gives honest feedback (I already mentioned how good this openness really is). This means that I actually generate meaningful knowledge without being coerced to fit in an archaic research tunnel. So, the adventurous student will have an academic freeway to race with his thoughts and ambitions. I am yet to see speed bumps on this journey; all you get is more and more cheering squads and anything you can possibly need to win - in the race to your dream.
Elim from Indonesia, studying for a Theology Master’s degree in Germany
“European universities have a welcoming culture for students from all over the world.”
European study systems are in many ways good examples for other countries in the world. Offering diverse scholarships to help others get educated; perfect infrastructure management (I would say); good condition of nature where the air can be tasted free of pollution; the clean environment and the green nature, which to me really have a role in stimulating the good mood to study (besides keeping people healthier and happier). But if I have to choose one best thing about studying in Europe, then I would say that it would be the “welcoming culture” which makes people from all over the world feel like home; they are welcomed to be part of society in Europe, integrated in their cultures and daily life, and share things together. In addition, as far as I have experienced, professors are nice to all students and grade them supportively and fairly.
As far as I know, many universities in Europe are operated without charging any tuition fees from the students. In this case, students only need to fund their own lives and, of course, public transportation. However, for this issue of public transportation, many universities implement “semester tickets” as a multifunctional card which students can use on campus and as a ticket for the regional transportation as well (free of charge). With these facts of studying in Europe, I would say that the governments - in cooperation with the universities - have implemented very wise and generous policies. In short, their sustaining policies should be seen as their desire of seeing all people get educated. This would not be the same in some other countries, as it is not that easy to apply such policies. The other thing is, most European universities have a so-called “welcoming culture” for students from all over the world, so sometimes I can see the “mini-world” here in Europe; at least, as I have seen in Germany. Furthermore, how European universities implement this so-called “welcoming culture” is by offering various scholarships for students, so it is really helpful for those who have a desire of pursuing higher education in Europe. On the other hand, it is also a way how European universities/institutions try to appreciate the good academic achievements of both EU and non-EU students.
I have been experiencing my life as a student in Europe (Germany) for one year, and I would say that the overall impression generally might be the same as with other students’ lives wherever they are, in the sense of “good times and bad times”. I mean, in fact, all students have to study hard and for many times have to struggle or sometimes have to be willing to be under the pressure of many activities and assignments. But what makes it different in Germany (and I think it is quite similar with the other neighbouring countries in Europe) is that things related to education are all well organised, such as public transportation to and from universities, the fast response and good services of universities’ staff members, the library facility and the book stores which can be found around campus, the well-ordered timetables of each semester (that, as far as I remember, have never been changed arbitrarily by the respective professors). Next, I would also never underestimate the magical role of the green nature and the clean environment in increasing students’ interest in studying (at least from my own experience, when I compare it with the dirty one dominated by pollution).
In the classroom, I see how all professors stimulate students to be active, encourage them to at least contribute even only small things according to each person’s perspective; the point is, all students are given a chance to improve themselves, so that they can be more brave and confident and - the most important thing - to make them feel treated fairly. And, last but not least - even one of the most important points - is that being given an opportunity to study in Germany, I meet classmates from various countries in the world. That means we really have time to encounter intercultural relationships, learn from one another and exchange thoughts (no better thing than that when one is talking about student life, I guess).
I would describe it this way: the truth is European countries are in many ways better compared to other countries, especially when compared with developing countries. I will use my case as a student from Indonesia. I do not know exactly the situation in some other countries, but I would say: knowing that most of the European countries have a good infrastructure and good education systems, and the government really puts their concern first in the welfare of society (and even for all people), it is then very reasonable when people from developing countries come studying here. Yet, I would expect that all students worldwide who are considering studying in Europe - and have that opportunity to study in Europe - go back to their own home countries after completing their studies. Why? Because they should go restore and rebuild their countries for a better situation, using the good quality of education they have obtained in Europe. That is how the cycle of the “European study system” should work.
Last but not least, I would also say that student life is never easy. Wherever one may do it, a student remains a student who has to strive. No one deserves good achievement without any significant endeavour, and therefore students have to be ready to go out of their comfort zone. But the good news is: good people and bad people can be found everywhere in this world, including in Europe, including in Germany. So when you students are in trouble, do not hesitate to seek help; because when you are asking sincerely, you might be lucky to find good people who offer you help.
Argine from Armenia, studying for a Dentistry/Prosthodontics Master’s degree in Greece
“A huge life experience and unforgettable happy days.”
To me, European universities are different in that they have a high level of development and they provide a contemporary module system of study. I especially appreciate the wide range of offered modules. Many of the modules offered are unique for me, because there is no equivalent at my home university. To describe my overall experience, it is a great opportunity for me to study in Europe. I am sure it will strongly enrich my future studies, my knowledge and help me in my prospective career. Moreover, I consider this programme as a great opportunity to get in touch with the culture and education system of Greece. I am very curious about different approaches to dentistry. I would like to advise all students who may in future want to spend time in Europe to definitely participate in the Erasmus programme. The best part of the programme is that your study and life experience come together while you’re here. It will increase your professional level, give you a huge life experience and unforgettable happy days.
Juliana from Colombia, studying for an Electrical Engineering Bachelor’s degree in Greece
“I can explore through these classes what specific field I would like to focus on in the future.”
Before filing my application, a friend told me once, "we only regret the chances we don't take". I didn't pay much attention to it, but being here makes me realise that it is true and I wouldn't like to miss these opportunities. Now, I want to share my experiences with others.
My time as a student in Europe has been absolutely amazing; for me in particular, this has been my first time in Europe, so I have got the chance to get to know the people, the culture and so many other different things. At the beginning, it can be a little overwhelming, without mentioning the language difference with Greek - I have received so much help through the whole process. After adjusting to the new student life and life in general, I managed to travel to some really well-known places in Greece; I have to mention that the ESN network has contributed a lot to it. And about student life, I have learned how to manage my time. I really like the classes I'm taking right now; I had the chance to choose some classes that my home university doesn't offer but that I can validate as credits.
What is different about European universities is first the size, and second the opportunities they offer; by this I mean each one has a different environment and signature. To me, my European university is extremely big and I have easy access to all kinds of labs and great lessons I would not be able to take in Colombia; as an electrical engineering student, I can explore more openly through these classes what specific field I would like to focus on in the future, which - I think - is the best part of studying here.
There are many more things to enjoy about Europe when you are studying. The opportunity to see things from a different perspective, a second point of view, the European point of view for the same topics I talk about at the other side of the world, the great opportunities that Europe provides. The opportunity to travel so easily. And also to meet people from all over the world who are studying with you, to learn from them and show them what it is like where you come from.
If anyone reading this is still debating whether or not to study in Europe, I believe that studying for a term abroad is the best decision I have taken; my eyes and my mind more open, I have learned and experienced so many things, and I am only halfway through my term. Europe is a great place to be, to travel and also to study; the opportunities are there to take and you either take them now or don't take them at all.
Nguyen from Vietnam, studying for a Linguistic Sciences Master’s degree in Italy
“It is easy to find people from all over the world and to have enriching cultural exchanges.”
Before I start describing my European study experience, I have to say that this is not my first time in Italy. I am very happy to return to this beautiful country. The city where I’m studying is full of historical sites, monuments, and rich history and culture like many of the other cities of Italy. More than that, my university is one of the best universities in Italy and I’m doing my best study experience there. Everything is well organised. The professors are very kind and helpful. My Italian friends are friendly and help me whenever I need. It’s quite easy to look for the books you want, because university libraries are full of interesting books. The thing that impresses me very much is that here, all the classrooms are new and well equipped. I think that I made a good choice to study in Europe in general, in Italy in particular.
What makes European universities different is that they are attractive and well organised. They provide a huge range of courses and lots of them are top of many world rankings. In European universities, it is easy to find people from all over the world and to have with them enriching cultural exchanges. Personally, I love the cultural heritage of Europe: studying is the right opportunity to know more about European history, art, traditions and customs, food and people. The teaching methods of European universities make the difference: you are free to express your opinions and to decide how to organise your study course. Moreover, all European universities have the same credits system, so you can easily take a Bachelor’s degree in one country and continue with a Master’s in another.
If you decide to do your studies in Europe, do take note of the following recommendation. Prepare in time all the necessary documents to come and study in Europe and pay attention to the deadlines. My most important piece of advice to other students is: If you have a chance, go and study in Europe. You will be more open-minded and know how to appreciate your life. The best thing about this choice is that it can change your life!
Sjie from China, studying for a Political Science and International Relations Bachelor’s degree and a European and International Policies Master’s degree in Italy
“After four years, I am more self-confident and more and more fond of my studies.”
Never give up! That is what I would suggest to students who consider coming to Europe. My European experience of study at the very beginning has been difficult because of the new language. Studying in Italy was hard until I decided to share an apartment with some native speakers. And now, after four years, I am able to understand 95% of what the professors say, I am more self-confident and more and more fond of my studies.
European universities are different because they are not confined to a certain area but are composed of small buildings spread all over the city, so you are free to discover it while going to the library or a class. Another important difference that relates to my specific situation is that I am studying at a Catholic university, which has several courses about Christian religion. I think that this is what makes a big difference from Chinese universities.
What I truly appreciate about my studies in Europe is the freedom in studying, participating in lectures and so on, because in China it is quite different. I appreciate the European method of study that is varied and well articulated. During my career, it has happened to me many times to work in groups, read many books related to the topic of the course and do research to enrich my knowledge.
Studying abroad is a big challenge because of the new language and different culture, but it is an adventure to be undertaken, no matter how many difficulties you can encounter along your path. The way I would describe it, an experience like that will make you autonomous, curious and open to new points of view on the world. I am fully satisfied with this experience.
One last thing: do not be scared. Everything works as in your country, the only difference is that I could not understand a word, so daily life became difficult. Do not be shy. Try to make as many local friends, so you can get to know the language and discover the new context in which you are. Do your best and you will get great results.
Anna from Georgia, studying for an Architecture and Urban Planning Bachelor’s degree in Lithuania and Finland
“Somehow, you find time to enjoy your life and also to do your best in your studies.”
In terms of the overall impression that Europe has made, my study experience has been very interesting and I believe I gained a lot within this last year and a half. Studying architecture is hard. Studying architecture and urban planning is harder. But when you can go to a different country, meet people with the same background from all over the world and work in teams with them, this is what makes this hard way of studying fun. We try different things, we go on trips to explore new buildings we admire so much, we have late nights in studios together, we make models together, we break models together, we burn the entire work with laser cuts by mistake together... But in the end, it’s the memories we have; it does not matter if they felt good, bad, humiliating, funny or scary at the time - what matters at the end of the semester is what makes all of us smile.
When I started to think more about what makes European universities different, I came to a conclusion about architectural education - there is no clear definition of teaching in a right or wrong manner when it comes to architecture, because it is not only science but also art. There is just a huge diversity in the approach to architectural education, not only in different countries but also at different universities from the same country. The more you see and experience, the more you gain. That is the main reason why I try to use every opportunity to have as many study experiences as possible. And from my point of view, the connections European universities have is the biggest advantage for students to use. The connections and the attitude to a student as a young professional is what I appreciate the most in European universities.
What I definitely like the most about my time as a European student is the university atmosphere. Student life is a lot of studying and a lot of fun. Somehow, you find time to enjoy your life and also to do your best in your studies. If you are a student with Europe on your mind, let me share with you the best information that you will ever hear: You should definitely do it! The experiences you will have are nothing like all the others from the past. The people you will meet and make friends with will stay as really good friends for life. The memories you will have will make you want to try all kinds of new stuff. It is not for nothing that we have the saying among exchange students: Once Erasmus, always Erasmus!
Joshua from Nigeria, studying for a Management PhD/doctorate in Lithuania
“The motivation and tools to excel and be a really good student are everywhere.”
Studying in Europe has been loaded with interesting experiences and opportunities, many of which I would never have imagined possible before I embarked on my journey from home. I have found the culture, tradition and history of the continent to be as diverse as that of the continent I come from. The languages also provide another avenue to explore, as for instance I have come to understand and appreciate better the importance of language in building national identity, while observing with interest the dynamics that exists between the need to open up societies and become more receptive to foreign ideas while strongly maintaining the sense of nationhood.
I came to Europe as an economist with the hope of finding more interesting ideas around innovation and entrepreneurship, and I have not been disappointed as so far I have enjoyed really interesting studies and most recently found PhD research to be all I hoped for and even more. It is no wonder that I have been successful so far considering the opportunities available for students, researchers and entrepreneurs to develop their own ideas and pursue their dreams within the continent. I have also found the commitment of my professors and colleagues towards excellence rather refreshing.
European universities have a really engaging study curriculum, which is much different from what I had back home. The motivation and tools to excel and be a really good student are everywhere, in the classrooms, libraries, computer labs, and even within social and student organisations. There is also a high level of organisation joined with good synchronisation between student groups and university management. And clearly, it is easy to see improvements in curriculum and environment, which is a product of continuous discussions and interaction between students and policymakers. The number of incentives such as scholarships and grants available to every student is actually unrivalled anywhere in the world.
The best thing about studying in Europe is most definitely the number of incentives available across a wide range of countries and universities. Grants are not too difficult to access for the purpose of academic improvement and I also have found this opportunity to be entirely non-discriminatory, as the selection criteria have mostly been academic excellence and a high level of motivation.
Europe is a great place to develop an academic career, but as I know that many aspiring students seek to travel for more than that reason - including the desire to find work and earn extra money while studying - I would advise them to research properly the labour conditions in your country of interest, as the conditions across the continent are as diverse as the inherent cultures and languages. This of course is due to the diverse and unequal economic situations of European Member States. It is therefore prudent to do some research and find out what opportunities fit your long-term plans.
Studies in Europe are full of opportunities for both educational and cultural development. With loads of social activities to choose from, it would certainly complement your workload for studies and allow you to have a balanced life. However, prepare a bit for some cultural shock. It might help to begin learning about the people, culture and language long before you actually travel to your country of destination. In any case, there is a good possibility to travel around Europe and enjoy the freedom of visiting most of the continent on a single visa, so there is no better offer for an explorative and inquisitive mind.
Rodrigo from Brazil, studying for an Engineering Bachelor’s degree in Norway
“An exchange is not a year of your life, it is a life in one year!”
The best thing for me about studying in Europe was the fact that I became more of a self-learner; I had lots of stuff to read and I needed to study on my own because the professors wanted me to be more independent, so I was seeking knowledge instead of the professor trying to put it all in my head. There is also the opportunity to get to know people from different parts of the world, which is fantastic. I got to know people from several countries when in Norway, and this melting pot is amazing mainly for the different languages and cultures. Another reason for me to say that Europe is the best continent to study is because you will have the opportunity to travel around this amazing continent. Travelling around Europe might not be very expensive, considering that the continent has a very good transport system; planes, trains or even cars are possible to travel with. Therefore, I had the opportunity of going to 15 countries during my 10-month exchange programme.
The very first thing that was very surprising for me in the beginning was the fact that the university did not require a minimum attendance to the lectures of the courses in order to pass. In my home university, I must be there for at least 75% of the lectures, otherwise I will fail the course. The university provided me a card with which I could enter the university at any time of the day; with that card, I was able to print 250 photocopies for free in a semester at the university – I was really surprised by this. I think it is necessary, because we do print a lot of stuff throughout the semester. The university also had a great infrastructure, including the laboratories with good computers, the library with the main books of the courses, the bookstore inside the university, and so on. Another point worth mentioning is that the professors were very well qualified; most of them were PhDs with lots of professional experience. I cannot forget to mention the amazing view from our university here; that is probably the most beautiful one in Norway or maybe in the world.
If anyone else wants to make the leap and study here, I strongly recommend them to go. Europe is certainly the best continent to study abroad. The most difficult part is to choose a country where you want to go; however, this depends on what type of study programme you are going to take, whether it is an exchange or a complete degree programme. In case of a complete degree programme, there are some countries in which education is totally free; for those who are going on an exchange, it is good to check the living costs and the country in itself. So, research, research and research.
I was once told the following quote: “Wherever you go, make the difference”. Therefore, I would strongly recommend prospective students in Europe to get involved in social activities. It does not matter whether you volunteer at the university, church or even in a local non-governmental organisation - what really matters is that you are making a good impact where you are; it is also an opportunity for you to know more people, learn about the culture and also get more connected to where you are. In my case, I became a member of Erasmus Student Network (ESN), which completely changed my time in Norway. ESN is the biggest student association in Europe; working at ESN, I got to know Norwegians and people from other countries, participated in events in other cities and got some experience.
An exchange is not a year of your life, it is a life in one year!
Nisha from Trinidad & Tobago, studying for a Medicine PhD/doctorate in Poland
“Schools in Europe are a lot more cost-effective than universities in other parts of the world.”
Overall, studying in Europe for me has been both a pleasant and a surprising experience. Pleasant because other than dealing with immigration at the beginning of my move, my interactions with people in Poland both in and out of school have been fun and enjoyable. For the first 2 ½ years, I lived in the university’s dormitories and my floor consisted of students predominantly from the Polish Division, who were always knocking on my door to invite me to their parties or initiating conversation in the study room or hallways. It is always easier to feel more comfortable in your new surroundings when the people around you are polite. I still greet these people if I see them around, whether on campus or somewhere randomly in town, despite the fact that I am now currently living in a new place.
I previously studied in the United States in South Carolina, where I acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. I wanted a change of scenery when I graduated and randomly took the plunge to move to Europe. I was expecting my university experience to be somewhat different, especially as I am now on a different continent; but to my surprise, it is quite similar. The university has the same challenges of organisation and the same characters within the student body I found while studying in the USA; I can still find those exact same characters at my current university. But it also makes it better; as I am more mature, I foresee and therefore avoid certain situations, and I also now have the tools to better deal with challenges both familiar and new that I may encounter while continuing my studies in Europe.
There are many schools in Europe that are a lot more cost-effective for studying compared to universities in North America, the UK and other parts of the world. In terms of my experience, Poland is a lot cheaper than my country. Other than not needing to pay for rent if I was studying at home (Trinidad & Tobago) and the cost of gas (my country produces its own), almost everything here is cheaper for me, such as food/clothes/transport. Therefore, if students are interested in avoiding a huge loan to repay at the end of their study, I would suggest taking the opportunity to study in Europe. Also on holidays, it is easy to get a cheap flight or take a train or bus and within a few hours, one can be in a different country that has a completely different language, customs traditions, etc.
Choosing to study in Europe has been definitely worth the experience. Europe is home to some of the oldest academic establishments found in the world. Therefore, European schools are well equipped to provide an environment where teaching/learning exchanges are provided at high standards.
Bousbaine from Algeria, studying for a Romanian studies and languages Master’s degree in Romania
“My studies that I do here are full of opportunities to succeed in my career.”
The best thing about studying in Europe is the lightness of studies and intelligent allotment time. However, my overall experience with European studies is that it is more difficult than in my country; my studies that I do here are full of opportunities to succeed in my career, giving me all the necessary teaching aids, and I noticed that students gained competence in several areas. I sincerely feel that European universities are different in the importance they give to the development of future generations. If there are other young people who may have plans to study in Europe, I invite those who want to develop their skills to take the opportunity to study in one of the European universities.
Miranda from Georgia, studying for a Political Sciences and Journalism Bachelor’s degree in Romania
“I would say that studying in Europe is one of the biggest achievements in my life.”
Studying in Europe was always on my mind since my early childhood; then I realised that I had to take action to achieve my goal and today I’m here, studying at a European university and getting lifetime experience. Even though I’ve spent just two months here, if someone asked me to describe it in one word, I would say “great”, “amazing”, “cool”, “best”. After the two months I’ve spent in Europe, I’ve realised that it’s the best place for both professional and personal development, as Michael Stohl says: “Studying abroad is simply the most exciting and rewarding opportunity to learn about yourself, your culture and society, and the world, while experiencing the opportunity of a lifetime in pursuing your communication degree”.
My experience is that students here get familiar with European values, culture and lifestyle. It is the place where different cultures meet - cross-cultural dialogue is a good chance for students to become more tolerant and familiar with different cultures. After these two months, I see very big progress in my personality. As a result of meeting people from different countries, I am more focused on global problems; discussing and sharing my ideas with them helps me (hopefully us) to find ways of solving them. Besides university activities, I try to participate in social activities, I always attend conferences, I am a member of several cultural centres, and so on. For my professional development, studying at a European university has been one of the biggest advantages; here, we do not only study theory, we also try to check them in reality and to gain practical skills and knowledge.
I would say that studying in Europe is one of the biggest achievements in my life. I have been planning studying in Europe for some years, and I have realised all the advantages studying in Europe has. First, one very important thing a European university has is its studying methodology, which includes the combination of theoretical knowledge and practical experience. Very often, theoretical knowledge means nothing without practical experience; European universities give the opportunity to their students to deepen theoretical knowledge in practice. Another important thing for me is how they see the studying process here; studying is not something stressful, it is a satisfying process. There is very useful discussion during the seminars and lectures; not only the professor’s ideas are dominant, but everyone is equal and can freely express his/her ideas. This feeling of equality leads students to get pleasure from the studying process.
For me, it is also very important how students see the process of studying; they have realised the importance of being educated and qualified. They have realised what Antonio Olinto says: “Study hard... so that you can be someone in this life”. European universities make students flexible and suitable for the working environment; as a result of their knowledge and experience gained at university, they are ready for every challenge and problem while working. European universities make students think globally; I mean the fact that they are not focused only on local problems and issues, but they always analyse local issues in a global context. For me, because of these and several other reasons, studying in Europe is a process which - I am sure - will lead me to get theoretical knowledge and practical skills, which will help me to do something important for developing my country.
Studying in Europe has several advantages and it is really difficult to speak about one of them, because even if one wants to make a critical analysis of it, it is somehow impossible to find more negative than positive aspects. For me, beside my personal and professional development, it is very important that studying in Europe changes our values in a way that - after coming back home - students start thinking about developing their countries and somehow changing reality; they try to manage some community development projects (I have already planned a project, which will have very serious consequences and will positively change the lives of many people), they are more confident and believe that they are the ones who can change the future.
Here, you have a good chance to break stereotypes about other nations, because we meet and make friends with people from all over the world and it helps us to get familiar with different cultures; this fact is especially important because we are the future leaders (so ambitious, but still...) of our countries, and our cross-cultural exchange and communication are very important for future perspectives. I think that the consequences of our cross-cultural dialogue will be more visible in the future and it will be one important step towards avoiding conflicts and wars. “Education is a very important weapon to change the future”, and I strongly believe that such a kind of educational and exchange programme will have very serious consequences and will change the lives of people in every part of the world.
Being an exchange student will completely change your values and form global citizens out of you; you will start thinking about changing your communities and developing your countries. After graduating from a European university, you will see big progress in your personality. While studying in Europe, you have to be ready for both teaching and learning, accept every challenge and use every opportunity. Never be afraid of challenges; do not forget that you have to work very hard to become successful. I strongly believe that “the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary”. You will get great experience in Europe, which will lead your successful future and the development of your countries, because I see you as potential leaders of your countries who can change the future. So go ahead, everything good in your lives is up to you!
Angelina from Singapore, studying for a Textile Management Master’s degree in Sweden
“Recycling and more sustainable living are now part and parcel of my daily life.”
One of my best experiences about studying in Europe is not just about getting a quality education, but more importantly, it is about experiencing Europe - learning new cultures, travelling, meeting people from all over the world. It changes me, gives me new perspectives, broadens my knowledge. Coming from Asia, everything is so different in Europe - the climate, food, culture and the list goes on - but this is exactly what makes studying in Europe exciting and amazing!
Although my studies are nowadays centred in Europe, my classmates come from all over the world and it has been a great experience to study in a very international and diverse environment. Most essentially, learning and experiencing new and different cultures every day have been really amazing and a real eye-opener. Recycling and more sustainable living are now part and parcel of my daily life, an aspect in which studying in Europe has changed me. This is the aspect of my overall experience which has been the most unforgettable part.
European universities are very different from what I had been used to. My Master’s programme has equal focus on academic and outside “industrial” perspectives where external speakers are invited to conduct workshops, presentations and lectures. This makes my studies very relevant and applicable to my future career. European universities, in general, encourage teamwork and group discussion as well as being an independent individual. These aspects highly stimulate today’s working environment. It is a good way for students to practise and get used to working in teams as well as having open discussions in an efficient manner.
If you feel like you need more information about studying in Europe, it can be useful to talk to your friends or students who have experienced that. Check out the Study in Europe website and see what the possibilities are or visit education fairs to learn more. However, the most important thing that I can think of is: Go for it! I know the mixed feelings - curiosity, excitement – and sometimes it can be scary to get out of your comfort zone, but take a step forward and you will realise how time passes so quickly during your studies in Europe, wishing you could pause and enjoy every moment.
Gimmy from Canada, studying for an Automotive Engineering Master’s degree in Sweden
“Honestly, I wish I did my Bachelor’s degree here too!”
I would describe my overall experience of European study as challenging, yet satisfying. The courses are tougher than I anticipated. The assignments and group projects demand high computer program aptitude and time management skills. Thankfully, the professors, teaching assistants as well as the students are very helpful. During the eight-week study period, there are never-ending deadlines. The tasks in the assignments are typically very open-ended, so you have the possibility to dive deep into each question. Whenever you finish an assignment, you feel more confident towards becoming a “real-world” engineer.
Unlike the North American universities where I come from, here the two-year (120-credit) Master’s degree is made up of 90 credits of courses and 30 credits of thesis work. The courses are very tailored towards the industry needs and the thesis work gives you a taste of research. The programme opens doors to both industry employment as well as research opportunities after graduation. This structure is opposite to North American universities, where the Master’s programme gears you more towards PhD research.
My main objective is to work in the automotive industry in Sweden after graduation. However, the courses are so interesting, such that I am also considering doing a PhD in the Vehicle Dynamics department. Honestly, I wish I did my Bachelor’s degree here too! What is the most enjoyable aspect of my time here is the colourful cultural experience. Outside your studies, you have endless possibilities to travel extensively throughout the continent, enriching yourself with the long European history and culture.
For other students deliberating a move to Europe, I only have these four words written on a picture postcard: Wish you were here!
Haytham from Palestine, studying for a Management of Projects PhD/doctorate in the UK
“The great minds I am working with add significantly to my thinking style and research skills.”
It is an amazing experience that lasts forever. That is all I can say about my time spent studying in Europe. Everything is special: the diversity of my classmates and the students of the university and the city. The more diverse the students/researchers, the more creative an environment you have. The quality of research produced and the great minds I am working with, add significantly to my thinking style and research skills.
European universities have high rankings and very diverse students, which is not always the same with other universities around the world. Also, the joint programme they offer, conferences and collaboration give students access to wider and broader sources for state-of-the-art knowledge, theory and practice. In this sense, European universities are without equal.
The knowledge and skills you get are paramount, but the benefits from studying in Europe are much more than a degree. It is about culture, different perspectives of the world and building long-lasting friendships with various people from all around the world. If you are a student thinking about applying to a European university, heed my advice: Do not think, just apply.
Lordina from Ghana, studying for an Educational Leadership Master’s degree in the UK
“Who knows, you may be fortunate to meet your life partner just as I did!”
The best things about studying in Europe are the life-long friends you make, along with getting tutored and mentored by some of the best and leading academics and researchers in the world, as well as getting unlimited access to a wealth of academic resources. You will make your study very memorable if you give yourself the opportunity to be open-minded and creative. Make the most out of such rare educational opportunities by linking up with members of your university’s international community and its counselling and career guidance unit.
For me, what makes studying in Europe - particularly the UK - unique is the opportunity I got to pursue quality further studies in the record time of one year. I also got the opportunity to develop my English speaking skills - something I found very valuable, although I did a combined major degree in English at the undergraduate level. Then again, if issues about security and stability matter to you - which I am confident they do - then Europe should be your preferred study destination.
Students who are still having doubts about coming to Europe do not need to hesitate, you have nothing to lose. You will realise that deciding to further your education in Europe is one of the best decisions you will ever make in your life. For instance, I have come to realise that some of the fulfilling job roles I have occupied including the current one are a result of the course I pursued in the UK. I got the chance to pursue a programme tailored directly to my interest in education. I can guarantee not all universities worldwide have such tailor-made courses.
Being in Europe was indeed a home away from home, in that I was in the UK but never ran short of stores to purchase local ingredients for making some of my favourite indigenous Ghanaian meals. At the same time, I got to eat some of the best British meals from my domiciled college. Remarkably, I also learnt new skills such as cycling and took on job opportunities that directly enhanced my career trajectory in education, while making decent money. This combination of working and private life has made the experience especially worthwhile.
To say the least of my European study experience, it was eclectic and enlightening. All the educational resources I needed to excel in my course, in addition to efficient, friendly library staff to assist me, were at my disposal. I also made lifelong friends - who knows, you may be fortunate to meet your life partner just as I did!
Disclaimer: the content is published with the consent of the person(s) concerned