Studying in Europe
It can be easy to think of Europe as one place, but that’s far from the truth. Each country differs from the next, from application procedures to cost of living and funding opportunities – not to mention lifestyle! It makes sense to focus on a single country and then apply to different programmes within it, as applying to more than one country can be both confusing and time consuming.
When choosing a country, bear in mind that the style of teaching and flexibility of programmes varies across the continent. It is generally accepted that the further north in Europe you are, the more you will be left to your own devices in terms of planning and carrying out your course, while the further south you are, the more traditional and structured the learning. This aspect is often overlooked, potentially leaving you with a nasty shock on arrival.
A real benefit to studying in Europe is that the tuition fees can be a lot lower than in the UK, but specialist or vocational masters programmes can be expensive, particularly those run by management schools. Europe is one of the most ‘bank account-friendly’ destinations for postgraduate study, but the cost of living is roughly the same as the UK, so you may still require funding to see you through. Universities may provide cost-of-living statistics in their prospectuses or websites. These are a useful tool for comparing individual universities or deciding which country to opt for in the first place.
Once you have decided where to apply, you need to consider funding. Some universities offer funding or scholarships to international applicants – look at the prospectus or website for information. Scholarships are also available independent of the institution, depending on the country and course of study.
Application methods and deadlines vary from one country to the next. Some universities ask students to apply directly, while others require you to apply through the British Embassy. Application dates are often earlier for international students, especially if you are applying for scholarships.
Overcoming language barriers
A potential worry when considering studying in Europe may be the language barrier. If you’re fluent or competent in a European language, you might want to study using it, but don’t let a lack of language hold you back. An ever-increasing number of Europe’s higher education institutions offer international study programmes with English as the main language. Many students use their free time to take up a new language while they’re abroad, and you’ll pick it up from daily life anyway. If you are going to apply to a course taught in a language other than English, be prepared to present some kind of proof of ability such as a basic language test. More information will be available from the university.