by Alexandru Giurca
Consisting of more than 30 countries, Europe is very diverse and it would be a tremendous task to cover all of them individually in this article. Especially when it comes to comparing prices and living costs, it is therefore pretty common that people break Europe into an Eastern and a Western half which share some common characteristics.
When referring to Eastern Europe some of the following countries might be included: Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania etc. Western European countries include: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, U.K, Ireland, Sweden etc. It is a general trend that western European countries are wealthier than the eastern ones, with higher standard of living and of course greater costs. In fact, some of the most costly cities in the world can be found in Europe, according to Citymayors for example in countries like Italy, France, Austria etc.
But dont get scared by such rankings. Wherever you choose to study in Europe, East or West, expensive or less expensive, students benefit from discounts and different priorities to ensure that their studying is as pleasant as possible. All countries offer discounts for students and by simply owning a student card from your university you will immediately benefit from discounts for public transportation, museums and cultural events and even for having lunch at the university canteen.
Depending on the program you chose for your studies and the host university in Europe you will have to consider tuition fees which stand for: a certain amount of money charged for educational instruction during higher education. These vary with each country. Finland, Sweden, Greece for example do not charge any tuition fees! A good overview can be found at: http://www.studyineurope.eu/tuition-fees.
EU or non EU
Usually students who are nationals of a member state of the EU enjoy lower tuition fees than non-EU students and have access to a greater variety of programs that offer scholarships for their studies.
If you are non-EU student you need to consider costs that might include visa, resident permit and health insurance.
A place to stay
Accommodation is always a worrying issue that usually takes the greatest amount of cash from your budget. It is generally true that rents can be pretty costly, especially in bigger cities from Western European countries. Usually there are private companies who deal with providing the students with suitable accommodation and in most of the cases prices are acceptable.
Some universities even offer their private accommodation services which tend to be a little bit cheaper. Usually prices range from 180 to 400 Euros but again, this depends very much of the city you live in and the countrys standards of living. If you choose to study in an Eastern European country you will be surprised to find that a rent can cost as little as 40-50 Euros in shared dorms offered by the university. Also a good and cheap alternative is to share an apartment with other students.
Food and shopping
Buying food can cost between 100 to 250 Euros a month, again depending on the country you live in. Usually students find out pretty quickly where the cheaper supermarkets are and choosing the right place to do your shopping will save you a lot of money. Student cantinas are also a cheap alternative for having a cheap lunch, with prices a little as 2 Euros for a meal.
Students are known for finding different inventive ways of having a cheap lifestyle. Whether it is riding their bike to university, buying trendy clothes from the second hand shops or scouting for the cheapest supermarkets, students all over Europe usually manage to come across, create their own original lifestyle after their own standards of living and at the same time have a great time during their studies.