How to choose a European country to study abroad

If you are reading this article that means you are seriously considering the possibility of getting an education somewhere outside your native country, and you are looking at some European country to be precise. But when you actually face the necessity to make a choice it turns out to be very hard to do that. Most of people have no clue even where to start. This particular entry is aimed to provide you with a list of logically lined up steps which you are welcome to take to define your ideal European university.

Step 1. Choosing a country to study abroad by common parameters

Surely, we won’t set in with considering universities themselves. Why? Well, if you already know the particular institution you wish to apply to, good for you. You may close this site and start packing 😉 But if not, let’s make the first step and find the most appropriate country for you. Despite what you might think, the easiest way to begin your search is to rely on parameters which do not seem to be really important at the first sight. Their main purpose is to exclude places which for some reasons you are not ready to go to or sometimes simply unable to get in. So here is the list of conditions:

  • Language
    An official language used in a country should be taken into account while choosing a destination. Note that this specific parameter has nothing to do with a language of instruction provided by a potential university. Going to a foreign country be prepared to learn a language of the chosen land. Mind that you have to communicate with the inhabitants one way or another and it may cause some sort of difficulties, unless you are planning to move around accompanied by a personal translator, of course. There are a lot of situations a foreigner may face where knowing of a language might play a decisive role. So it is better to choose a country the language of which is already familiar to you or you are not against to study it.
  • Number of international students
    Why is that so important? Because if there is a really low quantity of foreign students in some country, there should be a reason. In any case, it is a very revealing parameter making you think twice and conduct deeper research of a place.
  • Religion
    Certainly, the importance of this criterion is relative. It depends on your individual attitude to the question. But the point is to get your attention to the matter. If you are a strong believer it makes sense to figure out if it is not a problem in a chosen place.
  • Getting Visa
    If you need a visa to get access to the country, obviously, you have to check if a chance to get it is not too low. Otherwise, you are risking to spend your time and energy for nothing during the admission process.
  • Climate
    The criterion is mainly based on your personal preferences. Whether you love the cool and hate the heat or vice versa. However, there are cases when there are bad reactions of organism on some specific weather conditions are involved. So be careful with that while choosing a destination.
  • Distance
    A distance between the chosen country and your home. Although it is a very questionable parameter, nevertheless, if you are going to visit your family and friends on holidays or even weekends it is worth to be looked at.

Step 2. Making a choice of a European country by affordability

As soon as you made a selection of countries by common parameters included in the “Step 1”, it is time to check how many of those countries meet your financial expectations and opportunities. When people are looking at a cost of living in some country, they often don’t really know what to look at exactly. Our second step of choosing a European country provides a detailed checklist on the defining of how much affordable a country is.

But before we start talking about prices there is an important question we need to be answered. Any country has its territory. Some of them are small and some are large. Anyway, it is more than just one city that each country has. It doesn’t mean you have to choose a particular place immediately. But, nevertheless, you need to understand clearly what type of a place you prefer.

So what would it be? A big, noisy city where life is boiled and everything is in a movement all the time or a small, peaceful town where it is always quiet and everybody knows each other? It is totally up to your precedence. But in the large cities prices will be higher, though. And sometimes a lot higher. Especially if you are not going to live on campus and your plan is to rent an apartment.

Now as we have figured out your type of terrain it is easier to measure the affordability of your future place of studying. So let’s look more closely at the list of criteria given below:

  • Food
    Of course, it depends on whether you are going to cook, go out to eat in a cafe and fast food restaurants or use a campus canteen. No matter what, you still can check the prices just to be aware of. To calculate more or less correctly, you need to find prices for:

    • 1 kg of meat;
    • 1 liter of milk;
    • 10-12 eggs;
    • 1 kg of tomatoes;
    • 0.5 kg of cheese;
    • 1 kg of apples;
    • 1 kg of potatoes;
    • 1 liter of beer;
    • bread.

    Add the prices received and multiply the result by 8. Surely this monthly sum is approximate but it is the most accurate data that you can get.

  • Housing
    If living on campus is not your style, what you need is to find a monthly rent for furnished accommodation. Plus, monthly expenses for utilities, the internet, and laundry detergent.
  • Clothes
    As for this item of expenditure, simply find and add prices for, for example, 1 pair of sports shoes and 1pair of business shoes. You identify an approximate monthly sum which is enough for buying yourself a new shirt and trousers or a skirt and a blouse.
  • Transportation
    Here you need to know a value of a monthly ticket for public transport and taxi (just in case). Of course, if you want to rent a car it is better to find out how much it costs and the pricing for fuel.
  • Personal care
    Find and add prices for:

    • deodorant;
    • hair shampoo;
    • toilet paper;
    • toothpaste;
    • 1 box of 32 tampons;
    • soap;
    • haircut.

    This is an approximate sum you need to spend for personal hygiene every month.

  • Healthcare
    First of all, find the information about medical insurance. How much does it cost? Does it include free visits to a doctor when there is a necessity? And so on. In addition, you may check prices on cold medicine and antibiotics.
  • Entertainment
    To understand an amount of money needed for entertainment, get to know the cost of movie tickets, dinner in a pub and prices for alcohol and non-alcohol drinks in that pub, and monthly gym membership. Multiply everything, except for the price of the gym, by 2 and here it is your approximate monthly sum for entertainment

Step 3. Looking for a university in Europe to study abroad

So we have got to the very top. To our main object – defining the most suitable European university for you. Since we have already had a few concrete countries and even cities which fit our parameters, it is a piece of a cake to distinguish an educational institution that suits you best. You can make a list right now. Presumably, it is something about 10-20 universities you are looking at. Let’s cross out the inappropriate ones by:

  • Speciality
  • Language of instruction
  • Prestige (if you care)
  • Scholarship
  • Tuition fee
  • Admission requirements (exams and grades)
  • Additional payments (administration fee, books etc).

After “cleaning out” the list, it should have been 5 universities left, six at most. And this is your lucky five. That is where you will submit your documents to. One of these universities is the one where you will spend next few years and get your precious diploma!

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