Worldwide, over 4 million students choose to study abroad each year. Europe plays an important role in the international mobility of students, especially since the Bologna system agreement. Due to the fact that EU and EEA students can easily travel inside the EU without a visa, this made it all very simple for students to simply apply to a foreign university, wait for the acceptance letter and then come to their new study destination.
Find out which are the most popular study destinations in Europe, judging by the number of international students and discover why they are so attractive.
The globalisation effect on higher education
In the last decades, globalisation became an important aspect of almost every business. This dramatic change did not only affect the business but also the education market. In the last years, it became more and more important to learn foreign languages and gain intercultural understanding in order to be prepared for an international research- and working environment.
Certainly, the best way to gain those abilities is by studying abroad, or at least at a university with an international environment.
Most popular study abroad locations within Europe
According to latest OECD research and statistics, the five most popular European countries for international students are the following:
1. Study abroad in the UK
English is nowadays the by far most important language in a globalised business life as well as in international research. This might explain the high popularity of the UK, the top English-speaking destination for studies abroad. Counting around 10% of all international students worldwide, the UK is also famous for its excellent universities, always leading the first positions in top university rankings and guaranteeing quality education.
Additionally, the United Kingdom is known to provide a high multicultural environment and graduates from British universities are highly valued on the international job market.
More reasons on why you should consider studying in the UK.
Top 3 best universities in the UK according to The Times Higher Education Ranking 2017:
Check the student life in these UK cities:
2. Study abroad in France
France accommodates nearly 7% of all international students and this share is getting bigger and bigger from year to year! French universities are well-known for their quality and competitiveness in many fields, such as business, design, social and political sciences. However, it is still very important to know or to learn French before studying there. For this reason, France is particularly popular with students from countries with French as first or second language such as many African countries for example.
However, more than 350 Master programmes are already available in English so France is glad to also welcome students that dont handle French language very well.
Top 3 best universities in France according to The Times Higher Education Ranking 2017:
Check the student life in these French cities:
3. Study abroad in Germany
Germany has not only Europes biggest economy, but it is also well-known for its high-class education especially in the field of engineering. Nowadays, 7% of all international students are studying in Germany.
More than 600 Master programmes are currently taught in English, and this number increases every year. Additionally, all international students (including EU and non-EU) benefit from free-tuition and living costs in Germany are quite affordable, compared to other European countries. All these make Germany sound pretty interesting when it comes to enrolling in an international university.
Top 3 best universities in Germany according to The Times Higher Education Ranking 2017:
Check the student life in these German cities:
4. Study abroad in the Netherlands
Dutch universities offer mostly English-taught programmes and they charge some of the lowest tuition fees in Europe. And thats not the best part; Dutch universities are competing with some of the best universities in the U.S. and the UK, as many of them have been ranked in top 100 of the leading university rankings.
Teaching style in universities in Netherlands is pretty straightforward, based on problem-based learning and many study programmes have a large focus on research.
Top 3 best universities in Netherlands according to The Times Higher Education Ranking 2017:
Check the student life in these Dutch cities:
5. Study abroad in Spain
Spain is mainly popular for Erasmus students, but many internationals study a full-degree here as well. Although Spanish universities dont provide numerous English-taught programmes, students who apply to Spanish universities are particularly interested in improving their Spanish language skills.
Apart from the Spanish language, Spain draws students due to its lovely Mediterranean weather, relaxed lifestyle and fantastic touristic attractions.
Additionally, some of the worlds leading business schools are located in Spain.
Top 3 best universities in Spain according to The Times Higher Education Ranking 2017:
Check the student life in these Spanish cities:
The increase in the number of foreign students worldwide
From 2000, the number of international students in the Europe raised by over 82%. That is considerably more than for example in the U.S., where the growth was just around 49%. More and more students within, but also outside of Europe choose to study abroad there.
Distance learning courses - a real alternative to studying abroad
You don't have to go abroad to study a degree from a highly regarded international university. Many have started providing an increasing amount of online Bachelors, Masters, and plenty of free online courses. Many modern free online short courses also provide academic credits, while offering meaningful training on specific topics and help you start applying what you learned as soon as you complete the course.
EdX is a great example of such a free online course provider, cooperating with esteemed universities such as MIT, Rochester Institute of Technology, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, UC San Diego, UT Austin, and many more. Many successful tech companies also share online courses on edX including Microsoft, Catalyst, Red Hat, IEEE, and others. You get a free concentrated online programme that you can complete at your own pace, in a matter of a few months. You can also get a completion certificate and credits for a fixed fee.
You'll find a wide range of subjects in line with classic academic subjects such as: project management, information technology, engineering sciences, business administration, marketing, environmental science and others. You can even find English exam preparation courses for the IELTS and TOEFL exams, as well as other language learning courses.
Does language matter?
Short answer: YES. Language is an important aspect for students when deciding where to study abroad. This explains why most enrolled international students choose an English-taught degree.
Many European countries have been offering English programmes in order to attract foreign students and overcome the disadvantages towards English-speaking countries.
If youre interested in studying abroad in Europe, dont limit your search to these popular locations, as your dream study programme might be available in a different country.
So start looking, carefully weigh your options and have no fear to engage in your life changing study experience.