For most UK students, time spent in Europe is restricted to a third year abroad, usually as part of the Erasmus+ scheme or a language assistantship. But a significant number of students are choosing to complete their full degree course in a university on mainland Europe.
While studying on a full degree programme is the less common way to experience another culture during your studies, there are students who are tempted by the lower tuition fees available in Europe, especially in light of the recent fee increases in the UK.
However, the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the Channel. Some European destinations come with a higher cost of living than the UK, which may cancel out the benefits of lower tuition fees. Plus, there is no guarantee of any financial support for overseas students in Europe; there is no student loan to rely on.
There is also the issue of proficiency in the foreign language, especially if a course requires fluency in the language of instruction. For some courses you may be admitted with just basic knowledge of the foreign language – and what better way to improve your knowledge of the language than to become completely immersed in it. In some countries not knowing the language is much less of an issue as many courses are given in English. In this scenario, your native language skills can only put you ahead.
Other than vastly improving your language skills, the benefits of studying abroad include the acquisition of in-depth knowledge of another country and culture, the ability to adapt to different situations and environments and the empathy that comes with looking at the world from an alternative perspective. Studying abroad for a significant length of time can greatly work to your benefit when looking for jobs, not only in terms of the skills and knowledge you will acquire, but also in terms of widening your potential pool of jobs.
Where can I study?
So, where exactly in Europe might a UK student be able to study for a full degree?
Over the next few days, Send My Bag will explore a number of popular destinations for study, looking at the typical admission requirements, how to apply, and the financial implications of living and studying there. First, we take a look at studying in France.
A third year abroad is an excellent opportunity to learn new skills, to meet new people and to travel and experience new places. Yet it also means living away from home and a university environment that you have become familiar with. Homesickness, loneliness and lack of confidence in the local language can leave students feeling isolated during their third year abroad, which means they may not make the most of the experience. Try not to let that happen to you. Have a look at Send My Bag's top tips for a third year abroad to help you maximise on your experience from the outset.