Just behind pursuing higher education, making the decision to study abroad is the smartest career-oriented decision you can make. Every industry is globalized and international and they require employees that can operate as easily in Europe, Asia or Africa as they do in America.
Do you know which students make up the smallest portion of the international students in America? European students. If you added up all international students from Europe, they’re a smaller group than Canadians studying in America. This isn’t a coincidence. Europe provides excellent programs at a fraction of the cost of American universities.
Beyond the degree program itself, studying in Europe provides significant personal and professional benefits. Here are 10 career-magnifying benefits of getting your bachelor’s or master’s degree in Europe:
1 – Build a Unique Resume That Stands Out
When you graduate from school, you’re competing against thousands of other graduates which makes standing out difficult. Your resume would likely look many other students with the obvious odd jobs and whatever internships or extracurriculars. However, by choosing to study in European countries, you increase your chance of employment by 25%! Employers are looking for personnel with international experience…and you have it!
Of the people that studied abroad, 73% discussed their time abroad in their interviews and 50% believe their international experience resulted in a job offer. The stories and soft skills you acquire through studying and living abroad simply can’t be replicated in a traditional American university experience, even if you attend the best universities.
Your experiences overseas provide an added boost in the interview process as well. Instead of the same droll answers to standard interview questions, your international experience provides you with an added depth. You’ll be more engaged because you genuinely want to share your experience with them, not just because you’re interviewing.
Simply including all the countries you’ve traveled to, while volunteering, working, studying or exploring, will not only set you apart from other candidates, but provide potential connection points with the interviewer. Perhaps, they’ve traveled or want to travel and that shared interest immediately makes you more memorable than other candidates.
2 – Establishing a Global Network
When you study at European universities, your network, personal and professional, grows. The value of connection with people from completely different paths is difficult to quantify. By studying (and living) in a foreign country, you have the opportunity to experience a wider array of opinions, cultures, philosophies, and humans. You become more open-minded.
As your network grows, you will understand your chosen field on a global-level. This is invaluable to your professional growth and career. Instead of reading the same articles on Bloomberg or Reuters, you have the ability to reach out and get real opinions from people within the industry. Talk about real career benefits.
As you travel and connect, you will develop a greater sense of empathy than if you stayed in your hometown. Wisdom comes from experience. By studying abroad, you refine your ability to connect and understand people from other countries and cultures. Universities don’t teach you that, but it’s a critical skill in the ever connected, globalized business world.
3 – Become a Master Communicator
While you might do a lot of writing in college, many graduates don’t learn to communicate. Some of the most common workplace communication problems are heavy use of jargon, emotional barriers and taboos, physical barriers to non-verbal communication, expectations and prejudices, cultural differences, and information overload.
By studying at European universities, you’re prepared for those common problems. Living abroad, your communication needs to be adaptable, flexible, and evolving. If you don’t speak the local language (yet), you will quickly learn to read body language while avoiding jargon or slang that isn’t useful. Also, your direct communication will improve because you will learn to choose your words carefully and with maximum impact.
English is a complex language and it’s easy for your new friends, co-workers or peers to be overwhelmed, just like you might feel when they speak in their first language. However, this will sharpen your direct communication, adding another valuable bullet to your burgeoning resume!
According to Forbes, “hiring managers and executives consistently rank good communication as one of the most important skills for employees to have.” Luckily, you chose to study abroad and have been refining your communication internationally for several years.
4 – Add a Second (or Third) Language to Your Arsenal
Immersion is still the best way to learn a new language. Even with all the apps and courses available online, the best way is living abroad where you’re required to communicate in a new language. By immersing yourself in a new culture and language, you can reach conversational proficiency within several weeks, according to experts from the Foreign Service Institute.
When you choose to attend European universities, full immersion in a new language is an added benefit, instead of another series of academic courses you need to pass. This saves you time and money while learning the nuances of the language from native speakers. Like all languages, there are important cultural components that can’t be properly learned in a classroom, but require interacting with the population.
When you study abroad, you become conversationally fluent in another language, so you can add another big bullet to your resume. The need for bilingual employees in the United States has doubled in the last five years. Even if your profession doesn’t require a second language, bilingual people are known to be more adaptable thinkers.
While it’s possible to learn a language while studying in America, your chance for success is exponentially higher by studying abroad and fully immersing yourself within a new culture. After completing your degree over several years, the old adage “if you don’t use it, you lose it” will no longer apply to you!
5 – Boost Your Cultural Sensitivity
With globalism’s rise over the last several decades in partnership with the high speed internet, every business is a global business. There’s no guarantee your customer base will be in the same region or country. Once the digital world eclipsed the physical world, borders, in terms of business, ceased to exist. With these digital borderless landscapes, the need for increased cultural understanding is paramount.
The era of cultural sensitivity as an afterthought is over. Any cultural missteps by a company or their employees garners worldwide social media attention and all the consequences that come with that. With migrations and the mixing of cultures from all over the world, businesses need employees that are capable of recognizing cultural differences in the company and customer base.
By studying abroad and living in a different culture, you’re boosting your cultural sensitivity which better positions you for future employment everywhere. The world is not homogenous, but a lot of American universities are. If you stay in the United States, you will meet some international students, but you’ll live in your comfort zone, in your culture. You may be challenged academically, but not holistically.
While other students are studying different cultures from a book in a lecture hall, you’re living in a different culture, soaking up the details, building relationships, asking questions, and building a robust resume of a global citizen. Cultural sensitivity is not making assumptions about other people and their cultures.
Simply ask yourself, who’s more likely to enhance their cultural sensitivity: a student studying a curriculum and passing a test or a person that integrates into a new culture on a daily basis?
It’s pretty obvious who an employer would be more interested in hiring.
6 – Sew the Seeds for Success
Michelle Obama said, “Your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.” Listen to Michelle Obama.
Studying abroad will strengthen your confidence and fortitude. This is the ultimate experience to build resiliency, another intangible, and highly sought, skill by employers. Believing in yourself and throwing your personal comfort aside is a signal to employers that you don’t fear a challenge and are self-confident regarding your success.
While you’re acquiring higher education and skills, the confidence gained from living abroad will help your technical skills shine in an interview. Confidence during interviews is critical and recruiters will determine your suitability based on your confidence or lack thereof. If you aren’t confident, they’re likely to underestimate your technical skills and interests.
7 – Get a Waterfall of Career Opportunities
Gaining international exposure while studying abroad opens up more career opportunities because your search isn’t limited to the United States. Also, your time abroad signals potential employers that you’re adaptable and willing to travel to get the job done.
Other job opportunities open up for bilingual applicants which gives you even more chances for employment. A second language and international experience attract more employers because that combination translates into intangibles, like leadership, independence, and intrinsic motivation.
Studies have shown that travel has been associated with cognitive flexibility and depth of thought along with direct links to independent creativity. While attaining the technical skills through your program of study is good, studying abroad adds a lengthy list of soft skills that employers want and American university counterparts are less likely to develop.
8 – Expedite Your Professional Growth
The list of professional skills you develop living/studying/working abroad is lengthy. Beyond the skills already covered, like communication, adaptability, empathy, and creativity, you can add critical thinking, teamwork, decision-making, initiative, problem solving, stress management, and leadership.
Unlike college, your career doesn’t have a syllabus or outline. Your employer will expect you to think on your feet, manage your time and resources, and perform under pressure. 93% of employers say soft skills play a critical role in who they want to hire. The most in-demand soft skills are identical to the skills you develop from studying abroad.
In terms of professional growth, studying abroad is equivalent to earning two degrees for the price of one (and far more financially affordable than just one degree in America.)
9 – Experience Transformational Personal Growth
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
The immortal words of Mark Twain are the siren song of personal growth. Studying abroad isn’t solely about growing professionally and your future career. This is the opportunity to learn, fail, succeed, and discover parts of yourself. Maturity develops from testing your mental and emotional limits and striking out on your own, thousands of miles away will insure your development. While there may or may not be a safety net, it’s not right around the corner. Unlike counterparts studying while living at home, you’ll need to make decisions and learn to take the results in stride.
Also, leaving your home nation for a new one shines a bright spotlight on your independence. Throughout history, in almost every culture, there’s a rite of passage a young person encounters when crossing from adolescent to adult. Our modern society doesn’t force the issue anymore, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t value in the action. Independence demonstrates grit and courage, two more intangibles companies value.
Authenticity comes from personal growth. Being authentic will help establish stronger relationships, improve communication, and produce your best work. No one ever thought being a nameless, faceless drone in a sea of cubicles was a good idea, right? Of course not! Businesses are strengthened by their diversity which means they want you to be the best version of yourself, for their sake and yours!
When you challenge yourself by studying and living abroad, you’re on the superhighway of personal growth. Don’t look back 20 years from now and wish you had, be courageous and explore everything the world has to offer!
10 – Enhance Your Life Experiences
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller
Humans are storytellers. It’s in our genetics. Since the beginning of language, we’ve sat and told stories. It’s how we originally passed wisdom from generation-to-generation and entertained each other. Storytelling is a very powerful tool, especially in our hyperconnected world. But, what stories do you have to tell?
As much now as ever, we want to be unique. We want to have unique experiences that make our life exhilarating. In America, we’ve created a linear path, an assembly line if you like, that sends people from high school to college onto a career with a family and a white picket fence… the American dream. The most interesting people took the road less traveled, a surreptitious journey which confounded the general public, family or friends. However, they dared to live an adventurous life. History is filled with people that seemed obscure, but we know their names centuries later.
This final benefit is for you. Listen to the great adventurer inside you. Throw caution to the wind, pack a bag, and set out for the great unknown. Forge a path worthy of your favorite hero or novel. David Bowie said, “Nevermind the stares” and he’s an icon for life experience. Life is meant to be experienced. Life is meant to be lived and not through the screen of your smartphone. Don’t wait for experience, go out after it!
There are no facts or figures to present. This is a call to action, a dare to be wild which I will sum up in the resplendent words of the great American poet, Robert Frost:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
How to go to a university in Europe as an American:
European degrees are renowned for their quality and are highly sought after across the globe. Best of all, they’re insanely affordable and easy to get into. Here’s how to get it done:
1 – First, realize the savings you’ll get by studying in Europe.
Costs vary depending on where you choose to study, but in general, it’s much cheaper to study in Europe than it is to study in the US. Even when you factor in the cost of travel, gaining an entire college degree in Europe as an American student is often cheaper than one year of tuition fees at a state college in the US.
According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost of tuition fees for a student in 2022 living on campus at a public 4-year in-state institution is $25,707 per year or $102,828 over 4 years. Out-of-state students pay $43,421 per year or $173,684 in tuition fees over 4 years. Private, nonprofit university students pay $54,501 per year or $218,004 over 4 years. But these amounts don’t take into account transportation costs, daily living expenses, or student loan interest.
Keep in mind that although 4 years is the duration we normally assume for a bachelor’s degree in the US, only 38.9% of bachelor’s degree-seeking students graduate in 4 years time. Most confirmed bachelor’s degree earners report graduating within 6 years; leaving the cost of tuition fees to $213,306.
The average tuition fee of all the 100% English-taught, accredited bachelor’s programs in Europe is just $7,390 per year for international students, and even lower for European students.
Further, the duration of many bachelor’s programs in Europe is 3-3.5 years, vs 4+ years in the states, making the entire degree even that more comparatively affordable.
The cost savings extend to master’s degrees as well, as the average tuition fee of a master’s degree in Europe is just $9,050 per year. The typical duration for grad school is only 1.76 years in Europe, and so the average cost of getting a master’s is just $15,928 for American students.
2 – Learn how to get into Europe’s top universities.
When you also factor in the many problems with US higher education, it is imprudent not to consider other possibilities. It is true there are many excellent schools in the United States—I don’t think anyone would argue that. There are some that have managed to look at applicants as people, and not just a checklist of achievements. Some even have reasonable rates, and/or professors that actively teach and have highly engaged students. Despite this, I have yet to find a school in the United States that addresses all of these issues: allows students to opt out of the rat race the admissions process has become, have reasonable tuition, AND have positive results around the educational experience and post-graduation outcomes. Not every school in Europe provides all this either, but the schools listed in our database do. All you need to do is follow the transparent and objective admissions process.
3 – Find the best universities that teach in English.
Finding these programs can be burdensome, difficult, and confusing, especially with institutional websites in foreign languages. We know that making the decision to study abroad can be difficult, so we want to make it easy for you. We scoured the continent for vetted programs and made them available to thousands of families looking to leave the US and find a better life in Europe. We found over 11,000 degrees and 870 universities that teach in English, so you can choose any city out of 550 options in 32 countries. Keep in mind, we don’t include UK universities due to their the financial barriers and difficult admissions process. Nonetheless, European countries offers an impressive range of educational opportunities, and you’re bound to find your ideal school!
We have gathered all of the information you need to know about finding your school and studying in Europe – from the different types of colleges in Europe available to how to get housing and everything in between. Our database helps you find these programs quickly and easily, helping you contextualize the many benefits and options around higher education in Europe. You will be able to find programs and courses that suit your interests and budget, all taught in English by experienced and international professors, often in state-of-the-art facilities.
Free resources to get you started with a transformational career.
All in all, studying abroad in Europe is a great way to gain new experiences, meet new people, and get a taste of what it means to live overseas as a student. If you’re thinking about going to a university in Europe yourself, we recommend you explore a membership with Beyond the States. You’ll quickly find over 11,200 accredited English-taught programs.
For additional context, you should explore the new method of ranking schools in Europe:
Squashing the old, outdated, and unreliable lists, our rankings reflect many years of on-the-ground research, vetting, and experience by ourselves and our members, and speaks directly to what really matters to US students pursuing an English-taught university in continental Europe and Ireland.
To learn more about the admissions process, you can also take our course, giving you helpful information to hack your way into the school of your choice.
You can also explore our ultimate guides, containing everything you need to get started with your journey to Europe:
Europe offers some of the best higher education opportunities around the globe. And while you might think it makes sense to go abroad to further your studies, there are plenty of reasons why studying in Europe could be just as good – or even better – than a typical study abroad program. With options like the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Spain, France, and more, our database will help you find your best fit quickly and easily. Parents and their children will want to start this process early.
In addition to being one of the most popular places to live in the world, Europe boasts some of the most vibrant and diverse cultures anywhere. Studying abroad in Europe gives students access to a wealth of different languages, a thriving community, giving you a competitive advantage over others who don’t speak foreign tongues.