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5 Ways to Decide Where to Study in Europe

5 Ways to Decide Where to Study in Europe main image

Deciding where to study is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. Understandably, many would-be students are worried about making the right decision. After all, this will take a significant amount of your commitment, time and resources.

A lot of students dream of studying abroad. The reasons vary – from getting the best education available and improving professional potential, to exploring the world and being immersed in new cultures and experiences. The choices are endless, and studying abroad is definitely an irreplaceable experience that I could personally recommend to anyone.

Perhaps you have set your sights on studying abroad in what many consider the most attractive study destination: Europe. The mesmerizing beauty, rich cultural heritage and competitive educational systems across this continent have drawn students from all over the world to its shores. If you are one of those who dream of studying abroad in Europe but have not quite figured out where to get started, here are some practical considerations to help you out.

Research conducted by Copenhagen-based company SurveyBee made an interesting comparison of popular European study destinations based on key factors that can guide you towards making a wise decision. Below are some these factors, which provide five ways to decide where to study in Europe.

1.  Percentage of international students in the country

Hobsons’ 2014 report, Beyond the Data: Influencing International Student Decision-Making, shows that a country’s attitude towards international students is a top influencing factor on where students choose to study abroad. If the percentage of foreign students is an indicator of whether newcomers can expect a warm welcome, then Austria tops the list among the countries considered, with 32% international students, followed by the UK and the Netherlands at 18.1% and 18.3% respectively. This is an important factor to consider, as denser international networks can influence your confidence and sense of belonging during your study abroad experience.

2.  Top ranking universities

Many students put the quality of education as a top priority, as they hope the education they will get from studying abroad is better than if they stayed at home. When it comes to first-class academic reputation, the UK leads the way, well ahead of its European counterparts. In the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15, four of the world’s top 10 universities are on British soil: the University of Cambridge, Imperial College of London, the University of Oxford and UCL.

3.  Tuition fees and living expenses

It goes without saying that all aspects of studying abroad should be considered, including cost implications. It is important to know how much money you are comfortable spending and if your chosen destination is reasonably practical for your financial situation and loan eligibility. Among Europe’s top study destinations, the UK is the most expensive country to study in, with an estimated annual living cost and tuition fees of US$35,045. If cost is a major factor, you might want to explore opportunities in Germany, where living costs are relatively lower and tuition is free, regardless of whether you are an EU citizen or not. Remember, however, that your costs will also vary depending on the institution, city/town, and your own lifestyle choices.

4.  Subject strengths

Business, economics, medicine and law remain the most popular courses across most countries. Germany and the Netherlands, however, have built particularly good reputations for training engineers, while the UK and France’s focus leans towards nursing and pharmacology specializations. If you want to be more specific in your search, you could check out the QS World University Rankings by Subject, to identify the world’s leading universities in your own subject.

5.  Career opportunities

For some, career opportunities after graduation are the primary deciding factor on where to study abroad. A report by Payscale lists Denmark as the country where new grads can expect the highest salary: US$42,000 within their first year of experience, a little ahead of Sweden and Germany. As for your chances of getting a job soon after graduation, the best odds are in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden. These countries are enjoying an excellent 90% employment rate among its graduates. If being hired as soon as possible is your motivation for wanting to study in Europe, then students from the UK, Netherlands and Sweden are more likely to be employed just within the first three months after graduation.

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Written by Sherylyn Oben
Sherylyn Oben is a content creator for SurveyBee, a survey aggregator company based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She earned her bachelor's degree in international communication and multimedia at Aarhus University. She shares her passion for travel and photography via her blog.

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