Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Europe Right for You?

Did you pass up study abroad opportunities during undergrad or did you study abroad and are eager to go overseas again? If this is you, I have great news: getting a graduate degree in Europe is a great way to improve your career prospects while seeing the world.

More and more, US graduates are supplementing their college education with a master’s degree. Why? “Many entry level jobs today now require a master’s and virtually all senior management and senior professional positions require a master’s,” says Brian D. Kelley, chief information officer at Portage County Information Technology Services. Also, having a master’s degree will allow you to increase your annual income to a greater degree than just a bachelor’s. Plus, if a master’s degree isn’t a requirement for your current position, it will likely be for the next position you want. Having a master’s degree will qualify you to apply for positions in management that your bachelor’s degree and experience alone won’t.

So is this is starting to sound like a good idea? A lot of students would love to get a master’s but are concerned about taking on lots of additional debt and that’s a real concern. The average tuition for US graduate schools starts at $30,000 per year (public universities) and goes up from there. Great news! Education costs are much lower in Europe than the US. There are over 5,000 masters programs with an average tuition of under $8,800/yr. More than 700 are tuition free – even for international students.

Did we mention that you really don’t need a second language to attend grad school in Europe? The over 5,000 masters programs we mentioned above are all taught 100% in English. English as a second language is quite high in Europe, so while you learn to speak like a local, you’ll be able to get by in most places.  Here’s a site that shows English proficiency by country.

Another consideration is the cost of living. There’s a perception that living in Europe is much more expensive than the US, but the reality is different. According to the Independent, here are the 10 most affordable countries to be a student. You can see for yourself. Sites like Expatistan allow you to compare the cost of living in your current city with other cities around the world. For instance, it’s 43% cheaper to live in Tallinn, Estonia than Denver, Colorado.

Here’s another big advantage of going to Europe for grad school: the one-year master’s degree. In many instances, you can get a master’s degree in just a year which can be half the time it would take elsewhere. In the Beyond the States database, there are 952 master’s programs that are one year in duration. A truly frugal person would do well to focus the 176 one year programs that offer tuition between 0 and $5,000, then begin looking at places with a low cost of living for students.

Getting a degree overseas will build skills that are desired by employers and help you to stand out in the job market. Today, employers are looking to hire people with the soft skills who can excel in cross-functional teams with people from different backgrounds. The emphasis on group work at schools in Europe provides experience in working with different perspectives.  The graduates are often flexible, adaptable, and experienced navigating unfamiliar circumstances  – all of which lead to success in the workplace.

Ready to explore your master’s degree options in Europe? When we began researching college in Europe two years ago, we quickly realized there was no single source of objective information, so we decided to create one with Beyond the States. We say objective because we don’t accept advertising money from schools. We also don’t get any monetary compensation from a school if a student we work with goes there versus another school.

We’ve compiled an online database with 5,278 accredited, English-taught master’s programs for you to search. Our searchable database has information like program descriptions, qualifications, country-by-country visa requirements and more. We also have a section called “Jenn Says” with Jenn’s firsthand observations from school visits and expert’s insight. To learn more, visit our master’s membership page.

2016 Year in Review

As the year comes to a close, it’s natural to look back at where we’ve come from. 2016 was Beyond the States’ first full year and it was an amazing one. We launched our database in March.  Jennifer visited schools in Germany, France, and the Netherlands. She visited schools and presented to groups in Illinois, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. We sent out 39 newsletters and posted 32 entries on our blog. Right now, Over 1,300 people receive our weekly newsletter and we have over 1,100 Likes on Facebook. As a way to look back, here are the seven blog posts of 2016 that you may have missed.

Why I started Beyond the States

Here’s the Beyond the States’ origin story.

Why I Started Beyond the States

Is College in Europe Safe?

We believe going to college in Europe is as safe as going to college in the US. We examine that topic in this blog post.

Is College in Europe Safe?

Why We Don’t List Schools in the UK

When most Americans think of college in Europe, they automatically think of England, Scotland or Ireland. We don’t list these schools in our database. Here’s where we explain why…

Why We Don’t List UK Schools

How to Pay for College in Europe

We talk about 529 College Savings plans, scholarships and other ways to make college in Europe as affordable as possible.

How to Pay for College in Europe?

College in Europe Cost Comparison

We examine the actual costs of going to college in Europe versus a public and a private university in this case study of Jared.

College in Europe Cost Comparison

College in Europe: Good or Bad for Job Prospects?

Will having a degree from a European college be an advantage or a hindrance? Click below to find out what Jenn found out on this topic.

College in Europe: Good or Bad for Job Prospects?

What’s Your Threshold?

Did you ever wonder what makes one person excited about college in Europe when most peers are going the conventional route? The answer may just lie in the individual’s threshold for collective behavior that we learned about from Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent podcast, Revisionist History.

What’s Your Threshold?

 

 

Nursing Study Abroad: Get Your BSN without Going Broke

nursing study abroadWhen the instructor asked the class on the first day of nursing school “Why do you want to become a nurse?” Hannah’s answer was different from her classmates. The other students talked about caring for the sick, helping to deliver babies, and saving lives. While those aspects also mattered to Hannah, she said she needed a career where she could find a job easily, one that would pay well upon graduation and would support her wherever she went. Hannah’s answers were different from her classmates because she had seen her own family struggle since her father’s computer programming job was sent offshore.

For a person with the right temperament, nursing is an excellent career choice.

  1. You’ll always be able to find a job. There has been an ongoing nursing shortage for decades. It is expected to worsen, due to the increasing incidence of chronic diseases, aging of the “baby boomer” generation and the constrained output of nursing schools. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 1,052,000 additional nurses are needed by 2022 to meet the demand, a 19% increase over today.
  2. Nursing is a high paying field. According to the same BLS study, nurses have the second highest median income at $65,470 (2012). Did you know nurses make more than accountants?
  3. Positive long-term prospects: The current nursing workforce is nearing retirement age. The average age of a nurse increased from to 44.7 in 2010 from 40.2 in 2000. As these older nurses retire over the next 1-2 decades, opportunities for advancement will continue to open up. Wages will remain high, since the demand will exceed the supply. Additionally, nurses will find opportunities in other areas of the hospital like IT and management, as well as with vendors.

How does one become a Registered Nurse (RN)?

  1. Education: obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) Note: While you can become a registered nursehc-tabletpc with an Associate’s degree, a BSN is the preferred credential. It will improve earning power over your career.
  2. Exam: Pass the standardized test for nursing, the NCLEX-RN
  3. License: Complete the licensing requirements for your state. Each state (and DC) has state board of nursing. License requirements vary, so you’ll have to research this.

How much does Nursing school cost in the US?

There are a number of options for nursing school depending on your goals and current education level. Let’s look at schools in Pennsylvania. University of Pennsylvania is one of the top nursing schools in the country (Others top schools are Duke, Johns Hopkins, and UCSF.). Each program below is 4 years in duration.

Tuition at University of Pennsylvania (UPenn): $51,464

Tuition at University of Pittsburgh: $23,270-$37,642 (in-state/out of state)

Tuition at Temple University: $19,130-$31,610 (in-state/out of state)

Nursing school in the US seems to be pretty expensive. Are there any other nursing study abroad options?

Yes! The good news is you don’t have to fork over $80,000-$200,000 in tuition over 4 years to get a BSN degree if you get your degree overseas. In addition to 1,500 other programs, the Beyond the States database contains 14 English-taught, BSN programs ranging in cost from $2,500 per year to $12,000 per year. One program even takes just 3 years, but most are 3.5 to 4 years in duration. The total program tuition costs (tuition x duration) range from $10,800 to $43,632. Assuming cost of living is comparable (in some Eastern European countries it’s a lot lower) and a $2,000 annual travel budget, getting a nursing degree can be 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of getting a BSN in the US and you’ll get to see the world!

Courses take place in specially equipped labs where students practice nursing procedures in simulated conditions. The skills are then transferred to real-life situations during work placements in various healthcare institutions. In Finland in order to complete the work placements, you’ll learn Finnish during your course of study.

Special Note about Finland:

Half of these nursing programs are in Finland. In 2016, the Finns began phasing in tuition fees to international students for the first time. As part of the transition, schools are offering extremely generous benefits. One school is offering a 50% tuition discount for year one. While at another, if you graduate in three years, the third year is free.

Are these non-US degrees readily accepted?

Yes! Due to the ongoing nursing shortage, nurses have been hired from outside the US for years, so non-US degrees are a lot more common in nursing than in other fields. The three major qualifications employers use to screen candidates with international degrees are:

  1. Accreditation: Does the BSN come from an accredited institution? Beyond the States only lists schools that are accredited.
  2. English proficiency
  3. Ability to Get a Work Visa: a non-issue for US citizens

Fast forward to today, Hannah manages an operating room at a hospital in Philadelphia. Given the ongoing demand for nurses, the positive outlook, and the ability to help others, nursing is one best career paths for today’s students to explore and getting a BSN via nursing study abroad is a great place to start!

Podcast: Create Your Own Rankings

How useful are college rankings actually? What do they measure? Do the factors that rankings measure map to the undergrad experience? Are there excellent schools that aren’t ranked? How can one determine whether a school would be a good fit if it is not ranked? Jenn talks with Miwa Kitmura, Head of External Relations from Vesalius College in Brussels to answer these questions and more in this episode of the Beyond the States podcast. They also talk about the areas students should investigate to determine school quality.

 

Guest: Miwa Kitmura, Head of External Relations, Vesalius College, Brussels

Resources

US News College Rankings

How U.S. News college rankings promote economic inequality on campus

The US News rankings are terrible for students. Why don’t colleges stop them?

Inside Higher Ed: Ranking Diversity

Where You Go is Not Who You’ll Be

Crazy U

Forget College Rankings: Look For ‘Nessie’ Instead

2015 ETS study comparing US millennials with other students around the world

Fail U

Association of American Colleges & Universities Study

How  US News Ranks College and Universities

Jenn’s blog on her visit to Vesalius College

Vesalius combines practical focus with theory

Employability: 80% of Vesalius students go on to graduate school. After that, 95% find a job or start their own venture.

Vesalius Internship Program

At Vesalius, students are assigned a faculty advisor who is a professor.

Factors to look at beyond rankings:

  • What is the faculty background?
  • Do their research areas interest you?
  • What businesses do they partner with?
  • How many English-taught programs does the school have?

Study Abroad and the Secret of Direct Enrollment

I was speaking with the parent of a college student recently explaining the mission of Beyond the States, when she said, “Oh yes, [my college student] is going to do study abroad.” Study abroad programs, like many aspects of the US college experience, such as overpriced textbooks and crazy housing costs, tend to be unnecessarily expensive when compared with direct enrollment in a European school.

The extreme cost of these study abroad programs often stems from the fact that students generally must pay full tuition to their home school, even while they’re studying abroad. Additionally, US tuition is too high and continuing to increase. I guess someone has to pay to keep the lights on back on campus.

Let’s look at some examples:

$38,794 Georgetown’s Italian semester abroad program is at Villa Le Blaze. Villa Le Balze is georgetowns-fiesole-study-abroad-residence-italyGeorgetown’s study center in Florence. Until 1979, the villa was the property of the Marquesa Rockefeller, granddaughter of Nelson D. She donated it to Georgetown with the stipulation that it be used as a place of learning. The villa provides students with a unique study abroad experience that includes classes on site, a comprehensive academic program, intensive Italian language classes, and ample time to travel throughout Italy. Georgetown estimates tuition, room and board to be $33,894 plus another $4,900 for personal expenses such as travel and books for a grand total of $38,794 for a single semester. That’s nuts!

Compare: The average cost of all the Italian programs in the Beyond the States database is $3,250 per semester, which means you could get a 4-year degree in Italy for the cost of a semester in the Georgetown program, but I’m sure their villa is quite nice.

Hamburg UAS study abroad $24,014 (Out of State/$12,889 In State) According to the UW study abroad site, University of Wisconsin’s Engineering School offers a semester abroad at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany. HAUS is a large university that specializes in engineering, IT, renewable energy, and life sciences. UW Study Abroad notes 4th semester German is required.

Contrast: Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, like all German public universities of applied sciences charges zero tuition to international students. It even has an IT engineering degree program entirely taught in English.

$23,464 Dartmouth’s Foreign Study program in Greece is “…loosely based in Athens, consists for the marathon study abroadmost part of extensive field trips…to various parts of the ancient Greek world including Crete and the Aegean islands”, which is to say, student stay in hotels and ride from historic site to historic site in a bus. Enrollment is limited to 15 students for the quarter. Dartmouth is on a quarter system, so this is 1/3 of the year’s costs.

Compare: The average tuition cost per semester of the English-taught programs in Greece is $4,694, which would leave a lot leftover for sightseeing.

                        Why Study Abroad for Just One Semester?

Instead of making study abroad the highlight of your college experience, why not make it the center? US students can enroll directly as international students in Europe. Going to college in Europe is less expensive, you can finish a year sooner and you’ll have great travel opportunities. At Beyond the States, we’ve researched these schools and programs for you.

 Other Benefits:

Finish Sooner: Most of the programs in Europe are designed to be finished in 3 years. The difference is that there are fewer general education requirements than in the US.

Gain Perspective: When you’re an international student at a European university, you’ll be in classes with students from many other countries, rather than being in classes with only Americans as in many US study abroad programs.

Study Abroad in the US at Low European Tuition When you go to college in Europe, you have the option of studying abroad. That could back in the US or elsewhere. Some schools, like France’s Sciences Po, even require a study abroad year. As a study abroad student, you’d pay the lower European tuition.

Control Your Own Destiny: Most study abroad programs at US schools are governed by restrictions around grades, program sponsors and arrangements the schools have with their international partners. These may not be apparent to students when selecting their US college and they may also change during the student’s tenure. When you’re a direct student, you’re in the driver’s seat and there are no middle-men to satisfy.

Choice: At Beyond the States, we’ve built a database with over 1,500 English-taught programs, many more than the US schools have in their study abroad systems.

About Beyond the States

You’ve decided to go to college overseas. Or maybe you’re just checking out your options. Either way, you need a trusted advisor to help you understand how to get from here to there. That’s where Beyond the States comes in. We help students and parents find the right college for them outside the US. For more information, contact us at info@beyondthestates.com

 

Theo’s Cost Comparison

We’ve already written one cost comparison post showing a college in Europe with low tuition is much more affordable than a public university or venice a private university in the US. This caused us to ask another question: does it still make financial sense when the tuition is not the incredibly low €1000 per year that Jared will be paying? We think the answer is “Yes” for a number of reasons, but let’s look at the numbers.

Theo is a strong student from a good high school in Venice, California. His grades and 6 AP classes were more than enough to get him into a good school of his choosing in the US or in Europe. He’d wanted to go to college in Europe since middle school.  When it was time to get serious about applying, he didn’t know where to start.

After finding Beyond the States, he applied to a number of university colleges in the Netherlands. Theo chose the liberal arts program at Leiden University College in The Hague. Let’s see how Theo’s costs compare to a public university and a private university in his home state of California.

Cost Comparison-Theo

 Leiden University CollegeUCLA Occidental College
Total$81,531$136,248$286,368
Tuition $11,674$12,816$50,492
Housing$7,471$15,069 (with Board)$14,460 (with Board)
Living Expenses (incl. food)$3,945$1,677 ("Personal")$1,628 ("Personal")
Books$667$1,635$1,250
Health Insurance$500$2,265$2,150
Fees$2,7200$578
Travel & Transportation$2,000$600$1,034
Annual Total$27,177$34,062$71,592
Years to Complete344

Sources: Leiden University College  UCLA  Occidental

The cost of living is 13% less in Leiden than it is in Los Angeles where both other schools are located, according to Expatistan. Food, housing and entertainment costs are all significantly less in The Hague.

img_3685Housing at Leiden University College is upscale and unique. Students are required to live on campus the first two years of study, so housing is guaranteed.  The students live in studio apartments on the upper floors of the 21 story LUC building, which is just five years old and in great condition. Most units are large single rooms with their own kitchenette and bathroom and large floor to ceiling windows with wonderful views of The HaLUCgue. Each floor has a shared lounge/eating area, quiet areas for study and resident assistant. The building also contains 15 classrooms, along with an auditorium for 200 students, self-study areas, a grand café and a student lounge with performing arts room, a student-run bar and office space for LUC’s student association. The highest standard of nature friendly materials were used for the interior, expressing the importance of sustainability to all and echoed by the large vertical garden behind the reception desk. For more about housing, visit this link.

When all is said and done, Leiden University College is $6,885 less per year than UCLA, which equates to a total savings of $54,717 over Theo’s college career. Further, just one year at Occidental isn’t much less than all three years at Leiden University College!

The real bottom line though takes into account the experience and fit. When Theo sat in on a class at LUC, he noted that the class was how he imagined college should be – students engaging in interesting, intelligent discussions with a teacher facilitating discussion without dominating it. He felt like he’d found his place. For Theo, being able to get his degree at Leiden University College doesn’t just make financial sense, it’s the fulfillment of a dream.

 

 

 

College in Europe Cost Comparison

I often encounter disbelief when I tell parents about the savings opportunities by sending their student to Europe for college. I think a lot of Americans think that Europe will be much more expensive because they associate Europe with expensive vacations, designer clothes, etc. The reality is different, though. To be sure, cities like London, Zurich, and Tokyo are among the world’s most expensive, but they’re right up there with New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco. I found an interesting list at Expatistan which shows the cost of living for different cities around the world. Did you know that it costs more to live in Boston than in Paris or Stockholm? Or that the cost of living in Dallas was greater than in Munich or Milan? Overall, how does the cost of college in Europe really compare to well known schools in the US?

jaredLet’s preform a real-world comparison. Let’s look at one of our clients, Jared D. When we met with him, he was a high school senior from Chapel Hill, NC. He did well in high school (4 AP courses, strong SATs, a weighted GPA of 4.3), but wasn’t sure of his direction afterwards. After a consultation with Beyond the States, he will attend KU Leuven in Brussels, Belgium. This school is rated the 44th best global university by US News. He was accepted into their Business Administration program, which is conducted entirely in English, and is 3 years in duration.

Jared looked at other colleges, but for the sake of this discussion, let’s compare two nationally known schools. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University in Durham, NC. Most of the costs are clear. For the Leuven example, I’ve given him a very generous $4,000 annual travel budget to fly home twice and to travel on his breaks.

College Cost Comparison

 KU LeuvenUNC Chapel HillDuke University
Total$44,820$90,560$283,608
Tuition$1,000$8,834$51,510
Room$4,050$6,292$8,286
Living Expenses (incl. food)$4,050$4,926$6,830
Books$560$1,442$2,466
Health Insurance$130$1,088$1000
Fees$150$58included in tuition
Travel$4,000$0$0
Annual Total$14,940$22,640$70,902
Years to Complete344

Sources: KU Leuven, UNC, Duke

Big Take-Away

If he would have chosen one of the US schools and graduates in 4 years (which less than 50% of students do) then his total cost at the public university would be $90,560 and $283,608 at the private university. The difference is staggering – his entire cost at the end of his Bachelor’s in Belgium will be less than the cost for 1 year at Duke and less than 2 years at UNC!

Other Take-Aways

Health insurance in Belgium is much less than the US and the national health plan in Belgium is among Europe’s best

According to Expatistan, the cost of living is about the same between Durham where Duke is and Brussels.

We’ve left financial aid out of this equation, because it varies from family to family, based on income.

 

 

Six College Related Travel Experiences

Someone close to you may think this “college in Europe” stuff is a pretty frivolous idea – that it’s all just an excuse for you to take selfies at the castles from Game of http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jun/24/queen-tours-notorious-belfast-prison-crumlin-roadThrones or to attend Europe’s best summer music festivals. Here are six other travel experiences connected to school that you’re probably not aware of yet (and don’t involve Finnish hipsters, organic food trucks or Massive Attack).

1. College visits

Once you’ve decided on a school or narrowed your choices to a very short list, you’ll naturally start thinking of visits. The great news is that we’ve already visited a lot of these schools for you. Here’s an example of Jennifer’s visit to Copenhagen Business School. In addition, some schools have virtual tours on their websites. You can also find videos on YouTube, such as this one from Finnish student Whity. If an in-person visit is within your budget, we can help you plan the optimal trip through our Consulting services.

2. Internships and study abroad

At some scSciencesPo-Paris-Campushools, internships and/or study abroad are mandatory elements of the program. For example, SciencesPo in France requires every student complete a study abroad year during their three year program. Internships can offer a huge aid in getting a job after college and are a key experiential aspect to completing many programs, such as business, engineering and communications.

3. Be a guest for the weekend

International students are often housed together, why not try to wrangle an invitation to your Italian friend’s home for the weekend to experience another culture?

4. Take advantage of great deals

Is your weekend suddenly free after a big academic crunch? Europe is so compact with extensive train networks that taking day or weekend trips is very doable. Lots of cheap flights are available, too, on airlines like Ryannair, Spirit and most recently Iceland’s WOW Air. Be wary, though, the cheap airfares may carry add on fees that make them less attractive.

5. Club trips

Schools have many clubs to suit different interests. Many clubs organize trips for students as activities. For example, the Stockholm University Student Union traveled to Lapland, which is above the Arctic Circle. Activities on this trip included driving a sled dog team, visiting a famous ice hotel and learning about the Sami, the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia. For a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, they traveled in an overnight ferry between the cities. Students could have a refreshment, take a sauna or show their moves on the dance floor! The next morning students woke up in a new city ready to explore the next destination.

6. National holidays

There are different national holidays in Europe than the US. For instance, in the Netherlands, Kingsday 2007 boatEdwin van Eisthe birthday of the king is a cause for celebration called King’s Day. Celebrated on April 27th, this event combines a nationwide flea market and many concerts and special events in public spaces, particularly in Amsterdam. Don’t forget to wear orange, if you want to fit in.

Ready to learn more?

Beyond the States helps students and parents find the right college for them outside the US. We offer personalized recommendations for students who are considering studying abroad and our online guide to the thousands of English-taught bachelor’s programs in Europe is unique. We can also help you work through the sometimes complicated process of applying to college, finalizing your paperwork and moving abroad. Contact us to take the next ste