Global Citizenship

college in EuropeWhen I visit schools in Europe, I try to meet with international students to get an idea of their experiences at the school. These conversations are great, but are generally very school specific. I’ve been having different types of discussions for the student panel presentations that are part of our virtual college fairs. I had one call with three American students studying at various European universities and I recently had a call with three students from the MENA region who are also studying in Europe. These calls were more about the overall experience of being an international student. It was fascinating to hear the commonalities of these students from different parts of the world, studying in different parts of Europe.

I talk a lot about some of the tangible benefits around studying in Europe, like cost and tuition. Certainly cost factored into these students’ decisions to study in Europe, but that was a very small part of the conversation. The benefits these students talked about seriously gave me goosebumps and made me so excited for the experiences my kids and your kids can have!

Global Citizenship

Though this was not the word they used, every single student said that one of the best things about their experience is having classmates and friends from all around the world. They enjoy getting to know about different cultures (including food!) and gaining insight from perspectives of friends who have had very different life experiences. One student talked about how his mindset has changed around cultural differences. He doesn’t think of these differences as better or worse than his own norms, just different. Another student told me-and this is one I have been thinking about a lot-about how he has learned to work with others who he would have otherwise avoided. He is from Egypt and has a lot of classes with a student from Israel. The emphasis on group work and class discussion has required them to learn to put aside their political differences in order to work together. The current state of the world can only benefit from kids who have these perspectives, insights and values.

Confidence

I asked each of the students about the biggest challenges they have faced as international students. Most of them really struggled with this question! They talked about things that were initially difficult (figuring out the local public transportation, residence permit logistics) but didn’t define them as challenges. My theory is that by navigating those difficulties successfully, they then view them as just part of life-instead of a “challenge”. It also gave them the confidence to deal with future unfamiliar or difficult situations. These kids know that things aren’t always going to be easy and comfortable and don’t shy away from challenges. This is a trait that will help them succeed in so many areas of life!

The World Is Accessible

One student talked about how initially, going to college in Europe felt like a really big deal to her. After just over a year of study, she said that “the world feels accessible”. This is one of those quotes I keep thinking about! She has had successful experiences navigating her life outside of her home country which has led to this belief. She has figured out how to get around Prague, she has travelled around Europe with friends, she is going to Asia to study for a semester. The exposure to living outside of her home country has not only cultivated her interest in the world, but she has proven to herself that she has the skills to do so.

Yes, I’m relieved that we are going to save incredible amounts of money with college in Europe. Yes, I love that the application process was simple and that we got Sam’s acceptance in just three weeks. Even if the price were comparable to the US, or the admissions process were not so transparent, these options would be worth exploring for these less tangible benefits. I want my kids to feel invested in the problems around the world. I want them to experience and value diversity. I want them to know how to work with others-even when there are differences. I want them to know that they can manage unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations. I want them to know that the world is within their reach. I’m confident that attending college in Europe will lead to these traits.

Podcast: 529 Plans and the Ins & Outs of Financial Aid

college in europeShow Notes

Title: 529 Plans and the Ins and Outs of US Federal Student Loans for College in Europe

Description

Jenn talks with Mark Kantrowitz, a leading expert on financing a student’s college education.  Mark is currently Publisher of PrivateStudentLoans.guru, a web site that provides students with smart borrowing tips about private student loans. Mark has served previously as publisher of the Cappex.com, Edvisors, Fastweb and FinAid web sites. He has previously been employed at Just Research, the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Bitstream Inc. and the Planning Research Corporation.

Mark is President of Cerebly, Inc. (formerly MK Consulting, Inc.), a consulting firm focused on computer science, artificial intelligence, and statistical and policy analysis.

Guest: Mark Kantrowitz

Notes

Private College Loans on Nerd Wallet

College Abroad Can Be a Bargain

Mark Kantrowitz on Private Student Loans

Podcast: What’s My Major?

college in europeShow Notes

Title: The What’s My Major List

Description

One difference between college in the US and Europe is that in Europe incoming students must apply to a specific program, so they must know what they want to study. For students who don’t know what they want to study, this aspect can lead to worry. In this podcast, Jenn announces the availability of our “What’s My Major?” offering that helps students determine their field of study.

Notes

Recommended Podcast: The Europeans

Best Fit List Offering

Database Tour Webinar

Podcast: Why Not to Go to College in Europe

Beyond the States Podcast Show Notes

college in europe

Title

Why Not to Study in Europe

Episode Summary

After reading a blog post from a college counsellor that declared that the US post secondary education system was globally superior, Jenn felt compelled to respond. Here are her answers to the naysayers.

Resources

Beyond the States Blog Link

What’s Your Threshold blog

Malcolm Gladwell Podcast

Employers Hire Interns

Harvard Business Review Study

Employability Blog

Best Fit List

Podcast: Study Abroad and Erasmus

Beyond the States Podcast Show Notes

college in europe

Title Study Abroad & Erasmus Student Network 

Episode Summary

In this episode, Jenn talks about the prospect of studying abroad when you’re already an international student. She interviews João Pinto from the Erasmus Student Network. Interesting fact: students who study abroad are three times more likely to vote when they return home.

Guest

João Pinto, President of the International Board of Erasmus Student Network

 

Resources

Study Abroad blogs from Beyond the States

Erasmus Student Network

Erasmus Impact Study

Fun Quiz: What is Your Perfect Erasmus Destination?

Podcast: Fostering Student Independence

college in europe

 

Title Fostering Student Independence

 

Episode Summary

Parents are often concerned that students will struggle when faced with the new environment of college. In this episode, Jenn focuses on the importance of building independence in your student. She also talks about how she’s building these skills in her own children.

Resources

Admissions podcast

Atlantic Article: Let Your Kids Ride Public Transportation Alone

Rotary Youth Exchange

NSLI Languages Programs

Projects Abroad

CIEE Study Abroad Programs

Where There Be Dragons

Podcast: Parent’s Guide to College in Europe

college in europeTitle

Parent’s Guide to College in Europe

Episode Summary

In this episode, Jenn talks about threshold model of collective behavior first introduced to us in Malcolm Gladwell’s amazing podcast, Revisionist History. This theory describes how some people within a group are more comfortable than others when acting against group norms. If you’re at all interested in college in Europe, I encourage you to listen to Gladwell’s podcast episode, The Big Man Can’t Shoot, which explains an academic concept using an accessible sports motif.

Jenn’s guest for this episode is one of our members, Laura, whose daughter, Liza, is attending Anglo American University in Prague, Czech Republic.

Guest

Laura, Liza’s mother & Beyond the States member

Resources

Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast: Revisionist History

BTS Blog: What’s Your Threshold?

Sociologist Mark Granovetter’s 1978 paper on threshold model of collective behavior

Anglo American University

BTS Blog on Prague

Colleges that Change Lives

BTS Blog: Do You Have What It Takes?

Full Episodes of House Hunters International

 

 

Applied Learning and Fun in The Hague

college in europeShow Notes

Title: Student Social Scene and Universities of Applied Sciences

Description

In this episode, Jenn looks are two questions: What is the social life like for international students? And what is a University of Applied Sciences? Universities of Applied Sciences focus on getting students ready to enter the workforce as opposed to the purely theoretical approach one would find at a research university. In some countries, UASs are viewed as inferior, while in the Netherlands, they’re viewed as simply different. In this episode, Jenn interviews Hannah Remo. Originally from a small town in New Jersey, Hannah is currently studying European Studies at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and will graduate with zero student debt. It is less expensive for Hannah to attend college in the Netherlands than it would have been to study in-state!

Guest: Hannah Remo

Resources

CNN Money article featuring Hannah

Projects Abroad

Universities of Applied Sciences on Study in Holland site

The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Ten Fun Things to Do in The Hague

Six Ways the Dutch are Nailing Student Life

Duo Student Housing Organization

Affordable College in Estonia

Episode 6: Affordable College in Estonia

Show Notes

Description

In this episode, Jenn interviews Crystal LaGrone about her experience attending the Master’s program in e-Governance Technologies at Tallinn University of Technology in Tallinn, Estonia. Crystal’s tuition and living expenses were quite reasonable, especially since this program was exactly what she wanted to study.

Affordable college in Estonia

Resources

Best fit list

Estonia wiki page

Is Estonia the Next Silicon Valley? 

Firsthand: Estonia

Tallinn University of Tech sample page

House Hunters International episode on Estonia

What is Cyber hygiene?

E-government

Documentary: The Singing Revolution

NATO cyber security center in Tallinn

Freedom Square

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.