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Resilience

I recently let Sam go from his job with Beyond the States.  Since Covid limited job opportunities, I had given him a job helping Stefan with our database updates. Though Sam had developed a great work ethic working at a grocery store throughout high school, this didn’t transfer over to working for his mom and there were a series of problems (usually involving me having to call to wake him up to work which really got me riled up….). I gave him many more chances than I should have and after continued issues, I decided enough was enough.

So why am I telling you this? It’s because I’ve been thinking a lot about resilience lately. There will undoubtedly be things in life that knock our kids for a loop. They are also sure to make mistakes in life that will have consequences. I think we all want them to learn from these experiences and apply these lessons to other areas/situations in their life. We want them to develop resilience so that they know how to get back up and back on track when these things happen. I also know that I am sometimes guilty of protecting my kids from situations that would help them develop those traits.

I was recently preparing for a podcast interview with one of our members who attends ESCP. Her program involves studying in three different countries over the course of the three-year program. Having just adjusted to one country, I can’t imagine going through this each year-especially as a young adult!  Anyhow, I was looking at the website before our interview and noted that the brochure said “Studying each year in a different country will allow you to become more independent, self-reliant and resilient. All important skills for future business leaders to have!” I thought this was such an awesome way to look at it. It’s not that you have to BE independent, self-reliant and resilient in order to face challenges, it’s that navigating your way through the challenges and obstacles can LEAD to self-reliance, independence, and resilience.

I sometimes encounter parents who are worried about the level of independence needed for students in Europe.  There aren’t meal plans, so students cook for themselves.  There is much less handholding from the university and many universities will communicate only with the parents, not students. Sam spent a year eating scrambled eggs or noodles before he started to learn how to make a few more things. Some students learn that they like to cook (good to have these as friends…) and others learn that they need to know enough to get by. Either is fine! While I personally would have preferred to see some more leafy greens in his diet, this adjustment didn’t harm him in anyway and taught him a number of skills.

We have one member who started at a university in Prague this past January, right in the height of the pandemic.  Not only is the Czech Republic one of the more difficult issues with visa issues, but the pandemic made everything harder and prevented his parents from traveling and helping him.  His mother posted in the group in our Facebook member group at the end of the semester about the incredible growth she has seen as a result of him having to handle things like getting a bank account in a foreign country, learning public transportation, finding an apartment, dealing with quarantines and lockdowns, learning to plan his meals and grocery shop, seeking medical care, and working with an agency on around visa issues. I can tell you that they are things that were difficult for me as a middle-aged woman with life experiences to help me.  That our kids are navigating their way through these situations is truly amazing! That’s not to say that it’s always easy.  It took Sam SEVEN trips to the US embassy in Amsterdam to get his passport renewed. Some were due to errors on his part, others because the embassy was being particularly difficult. Nonetheless, he got it done and (hopefully) learned some important lessons throughout.

So, back to my unemployed son… I keep reminding myself that since we provide him with money for groceries, rent, and necessities, I don’t need to worry or nag about his progress in looking for a job (he would likely argue that I need to remind myself about the nagging part).  While I don’t like seeing him bummed about how the lack of spending money affects his social plans, I’d rather have him learn the lessons now when the stakes are lower.  Our kids are learning about attention to detail when dealing with bureaucratic nonsense, planning and time management skills when making mistakes on public transportation, a huge range of communication skills when dealing with language barriers or different cultural norms, self-care skills in meal planning and budgeting-to name just a few.  All of these things are frustrating, but none are inherently dangerous. By getting through these without having their parents handle or fix the situations for them, they gain patience, independence, self-reliance, resilience, adaptability, and perseverance. These are the skills that can’t be taught in the classroom and will greatly benefit them all through their lives!

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Why We Are Adding Ireland

As more and more families and students learn about the options for higher education in Europe, Beyond the States membership continues to grow each year. When our membership was smaller, there were more similarities in terms of what families were looking for in Europe. The affordable tuition was a huge factor, and they were eager to explore the options that would provide international experiences for prices comparable to in-state tuition.

Here’s our big news: we’re adding Ireland!

I’m now encountering more and more families who are defining affordable as less than out of state or private tuition, or who are exploring the options due to the other benefits (like transparent admissions, international experiences, and future opportunities). We have a question on the Best Fit List form that asks about budget. It used to be extremely rare to see an answer of over $10k per year. Up to $15k a year is a more common answer now, with some even at $20k+.

When thinking of the varying definitions around “affordable”, I was reminded of a friend who spent a few years living in rural areas of China due to her husband’s job.  Not only did she learn the art of negotiating prices at markets, but she became accustomed to incredibly low prices.  I still laugh at the story of her first trip to the grocery store when she returned to Chicago where she tried to haggle over the price of bananas.

Having been immersed in the continental European tuition rates for so long, I can relate to my friend’s mindset shift as it pertained to affordability. What I needed to remember though, is that this is different from the frame of reference that most Americans have. Further, higher tuition rates may still be more reasonable than in the US for students who plan to study outside of their home state.

I am also meeting a number of students who have academic interests that just don’t have a number of English-taught options in continental Europe. Some of these students are interested in things like Creative Writing, Criminology, Theater, Culinary Arts, or Speech Therapy and have trouble finding a program that really suits their interests. It is not that countries in continental Europe do not have these programs, it’s just that they are much more likely to be taught in the language of the country. Others really want flexibility when it comes to declaring a major, but do not meet the AP requirements of the Dutch university college.

I previously wrote a piece explaining why Beyond the States does not include Irish universities. Cost was the main reason.With the changing needs of our members in mind, and a new perspective on affordability, I jumped back into exploring the options in Ireland and am excited to announce that we will be adding Irish higher education to our offerings next month!

Here is a sneak peek at what I have learned thus far in adding Ireland:

▪ Yes, the tuition is higher than the other countries we list. The average tuition in Ireland is $18380 per year, while the average in continental Europe is around $8000 with the countries with the highest average tuition (Denmark, Sweden, France, and Switzerland) at $13075-13470 per year. Further, tuition rates have a residency requirement so if you live in the US with a EU passport, you will still pay international student rates. However, most of the schools offer international student scholarships and about a third of the schools have FAFSA numbers and work with US student loans. 884 of the 1035 programs take 4 years to complete, 75 take 3 years and 76 have a 3 or 4 year option, with 4 year students doing a year abroad between the third and 4th year.

▪ With the higher tuition rate comes a number of amenities that you won’t find in many other European countries. Many schools own student housing, have beautiful centralized campuses, along with extensive sports facilities.There may also be increased resources around the non-academic needs of the students.I was looking at one school that included a student budgetary advisor as well as peer support leaders assigned to all first-year students. This familiarity, along with fact that it’s an anglophone country, can provide a soft landing for American students who may be nervous about living abroad.

▪ With more than a thousand programs, there are programs in just about any field you can think of! Further, most schools offer programs that are similar to liberal arts. Usually, students choose a certain number of disciplines to take courses around during the first year and then narrow it down to one or two during the second year. Different schools offer different possibilities in terms of courses to choose from and the structure varies slightly between schools as well, with some offering options for a single major, double major, or major and minor.

▪ Like many other European countries, there is a type of university (called technical institutes) that offer full bachelor’s degrees but with more of a practical focus and hands-on approach. These are similar to universities of applied sciences in other countries.

▪ AP scores are not required, but admission for American students is generally based on SAT or ACT scores as well as GPA. Most schools have their programs grouped into categories for admissions, with each category requiring a different minimum GPA and test scores.

We have a team working hard to have everything in the database before the summer session of the On Your Mark class. We will have the bachelor’s programs in the database for all members in June (master’s by the fall) along with a webinar explaining some of the key aspects and differences around Irish higher education.  We are also working on a self paced course (similar to the Netherlands course) which should be ready after my school visits in August.  Since we already have the information and are just polishing it up for the database, Best Fit list purchases now include the option for Irish schools! Remember, the annual membership (discounted through the end of the month) comes with a $100 credit that can be applied to a best fit list. We hope you’re as excited about these new programs as we are!

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College in Europe Masterclass

Is there anyone more honest with a parent than a teenage daughter? If I truly want to know if a pimple is noticeable, how my hair looks, or if the dinner I cooked is good, Ellie is my go-to. Sometimes the “helpful feedback” even comes without solicitation….Therefore, when I had Ellie take the On Your Mark masterclass in January, I braced myself for a non-sugarcoated assessment. While Ellie did-of course- have a number of suggestions, we were both pleased by what she got out of the course.

Especially over the last year, I had made suggestions for programs she should look at. Many times, her response non-committal or she dismissed the program for reasons that I don’t think should be part of her initial criteria. Having her go through the process herself and really identify herself how her interests align with specific European study areas, determine the types of educational approaches that are important to her, and figure out what her own dealbreakers and preferences are as they pertain to location, student life, and academic life was powerful!

She ended the class with a number of programs she is interested in. Some are programs that I had suggested (I tried to keep my I told you sos to myself) and other were programs that hadn’t been on my radar for her. She ended the course invested in the process, with a solid understanding of what she is looking for, and having met a group of kids who are also pursuing these options.

The community aspects is especially key. Students meet each other in our three live calls and are also part of a private instagram group that includes some of our student ambassadors (in case they have questions for current students). We had two students who took the first session of the class and ended up at the same university this fall. Knowing someone from before day one was incredibly helpful, given the circumstances students around the world were coping with this year!

We have other students who learned about us through our member Liza, who has a huge TikTok following. Because she goes to AAU, in Prague, a lot of our students come into the class thinking that’s where they will go. By completing the lessons and assignments, they find other options that are better suited to their own individual needs, qualifications, preferences, and interests.

The On Your Mark Masterclass is a six week course. Each week includes video lessons and exercises to complete around those lessons. We meet as a group (on zoom) alternating Sunday afternoons, where the student get to know each other and can also ask me any questions that have come up through the week. The other three Sundays, students send me their assignments so I can give feedback about other types of programs that are aligned with their interests, suggestions about the schools on their list (ones they might have missed or concerns about ones they have identified), and next steps.

The first week provides the foundation, with lessons pertaining to the differences between college in the US and Europe (admissions, student life, academic life, etc). Week two focuses on choosing their area of study, preferably identifying multidisciplinary types of programs that include more than one of their interest areas. Week three is all about determining the concrete criteria to use for the initial search. Week four is especially fun since it focuses on location!Students set their criteria around what is important to them in a location, to ensure that they don’t miss out on great places they’ve never heard of that do, in fact, meet their criteria. They then narrow the previous week’s program list based on their location dealbreakers. Week five narrows their list even further based on university and program specific criteria they learn how to set. Week six concludes the course with discussion of next steps, be it how to narrow their list down further, create an admissions timeline, and/or cultivate skills needed for success as an international student.

We have been offering this course for two years (three times a year) and the last few sessions have been filled to capacity. Through the end of April, you can take advantage of a $75 savings by using the code earlybird. Members also receive an automatic discount of $150. Click here for more information on dates and registration.

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What Can You Do With a Degree in Sustainability Studies?

“It used to be that I could eavesdrop on a conversation and learn that the two men at the next table were doctors, or that one was a massage therapist and the other sold life insurance for cats.  Now, though, I have no idea what anyone does, especially if the people I’m listening in on are under forty. I hear the words “integration” and “platform” a lot, but not in any recognizable context”

-David Sedaris, from Calypso

I can relate!  There are just so many professions-and fields of study-now that weren’t really a thing when I was in college or entering the work force. Though the career possibilities have grown exponentially since then, many high school students I meet (and their parents) still aren’t aware of them.

As you may know, students in Europe apply to a specific field of study, which is like knowing their major ahead of time. This sometimes scares students, because they see it as choosing a career. This is a misconception though, since many programs are multidisciplinary and/or can lead to a number of different careers. I often advise students to start by looking into the areas of study related to their interests and exploring associated careers from there.

I thought it might be helpful to have a series of posts that explore the careers that are associated with certain fields, starting with Sustainability.  Was this even a term used when I was growing up?  Not one used in the environmental context (which is probably one of the reasons the Earth is in its current condition…). People may have studied earth science or environmental science related topics back in the day, but the multidisciplinary sustainability studies programs just weren’t a thing.

I meet a lot of students who are interested in studying sustainability, but not with the hard core science/engineering focus.  There are a number of programs around this in Europe that appeal to then, but they (and their parents) often wonder what type of job this degree qualifies them for.

I did a bit of research and learned that many companies hire Sustainability Analysts and/or Sustainability Managers, But what does that mean?  I find that LinkedIn job descriptions are great for this type of information, so I dug in. There were 96,307 jobs listed on LinkedIn under Sustainability in the EU and US combined, many of which fell under these types of positions. In a nutshell, these positions involve helping companies in ways that pertain to sustainability initiatives (the companies own goals or the goals for their clients). This can include the overall operational emissions, specific resources used by the company (such as water, waste, energy), and/or materials used for specific products or packaging.  The positions generally involve analyzing the use of these resources and making recommendations and/or implementing strategies to meet the specified goals.  These positions may also include educating various departments about their part achieving the goals and sometimes might include outreach to the public about related programs.  Companies I saw listing these types of jobs include Ralph Lauren, Nespresso, American Express, Deloitte and-given the large number of job posts-many, many more!

Most of the websites for universities have a section about related careers for the particular programs. Many sustainability programs note that graduates go on to work at NGO’s and think tanks. The jobs at these types of organizations vary, but if you work for an NGO or think tank that focuses on environmental issues, then your work-in some way-will related to sustainability. The website for The World Wildlife Fund puts it in such a great way. They say “So whether you’re working at a desk in our D.C. office, attending a climate change meeting in Europe, or relocating rhinos in Nepal, you have the benefit of knowing that everything you do is part of WWF’s global effort to conserve life on Earth.”

The other possibility is to continue with more specialized master’s degree programs, which speak to sustainability in a particular sector or field. Our database has master degree programs that connect sustainability and areas like agriculture, urban planning, tourism, governance, fashion, product design, healthcare, development, law, economics, natural sciences, engineering, and more! Even if the estimates of this being a $12 trillion market by 2030 are a little off, continued growth in this area seems inevitable!

Interested in exploring the other English-taught bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in Europe? Explore the many ways we can help here.

 

https://youmatter.world/en/jobs-careers-sustainability-options/

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Travel Experiences as a Student in Europe

This week’s post is written by one of our student ambassadors. Sam (yes, that Sam…) is from North Carolina is a student at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

 

Travel opportunities played a significant role in my decision to go to college in Europe. My family made international travel a priority ever since I was about six years old. One of my favorite trips was visiting my uncle in Istanbul when I was 13. I was able to see what it’s like to actually live in another country, as opposed to the less authentic experience of a tourist. This trip made me realize that I wanted to, at some point, live outside of the US. I had a similar realization when I did a summer language program in Morocco. I lived with a Moroccan family and got to experience the local culture firsthand. When I learned that I could go to college in Europe, where I could live in another country AND easily travel to so many places, I knew it was what I wanted to do. 

I moved to the Netherlands in 2019  and the ease of travel compared to the US is unbelievable! I can travel to many places by train, which is so much more comfortable and easy than flying! When I do need to fly, it’s not hard to find cheap airline tickets, which has made it easy to take long weekend trips with friends. Before COVID, I went to Morocco with some friends and the ticket was only 80 euros round trip and the expenses of the trip were half of that! I’ve also been to Portugal many times to visit family, and I spent about a week in Prague. Over the summer, my friends and I spent a week hiking and camping a route on the Camino de Santiago, from Portugal to Spain. Further, the Netherlands is so small that I have been able to visit different cities in the country as well.

Obviously, COVID has put a stop to all of my other travel plans for the time being, but I have many more planned for when things are back to normal. If travel is open again, I will be taking a week long bike trip through Bavaria over spring break and plan to visit friends in Spain, France, and Germany over the summer. Of course, I will visit my family in Portugal and perhaps another hike will be planned as well! I will also be taking trips to visit schools as a student ambassador for Beyond the States. The bottom line is if you like to travel and experience the world for yourself, college in Europe is something you should explore.

 

 

 

 

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Get STEM Degree Through College in Europe

We recently received an email from a college senior who was about to graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from a school in North America. His internship in Europe had ended abruptly due to Covid. After two previous internships, he was unsure about whether the engineering field was for him or if he should get a graduate degree. This email sparked curiosity on my part to explore the STEM fields in our database and I was astounded by what I found. 

First, what is STEM? The STEM fields are science, technology, engineering, and math. The science refers to the physical sciences like chemistry and biology, as opposed to the social sciences.  

Here are a few quick facts that caught my attention:

According to data from the IEE, of the US college students who study abroad, the largest cohort of students, a full 25%, study in a STEM field. 

Of the 2,038 bachelor’s degree programs in the Beyond the States database, 33% or 665 are in STEM fields. In our master’s database, 38% of the programs are STEM. 

Cost is another major benefit of this area of study because the average annual tuition is just 6,751 EUR for a bachelor’s degree and just 6,642 for master’s annual tuition. 

Starting salaries for STEM jobs are among the highest for new grads, so taking advantage of the 3 year programs available in Europe coupled with the lower tuition costs mean that STEM grads can enter the workforce a year sooner and with much less college debt.

97% of study abroad students found employment within 12 months of graduation, while only 49% of overall college graduates found employment in the same period last year, according to IES. 

For those of us who are parents of prospective students, the STEM field appears drastically different than when we were studying! Back in the 80’s, many of these technologies didn’t really exist, but have since exploded. Whether you’re a student yourself, with vast knowledge of the possibilities, or a parent who feels like all this STEM stuff is a foreign language, today’s post can help!  We will look at some of the different types of STEM degrees in Europe, for both master’s and bachelor’s degree students.

Data Science/Data Engineering: Over the past few years, businesses of all sizes are in a mad rush to mine and refine all the data that they are generating, which is proliferating like never before. The massive data boom has dramatically transformed the way people do business, and companies are constantly trying to figure out innovative ways to use the Big Data explosion to their advantage. This is driving a huge demand for experts in how to use all that data, data scientists and data engineers. The Beyond the States database has 40 bachelors programs and 158 masters in this field. 

One example is the Mathematical Engineering bachelor’s program in Data Science at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. At just 9,541 EUR, tuition is affordable. Barcelona is incredibly easy to get around, has a fantastic food scene, and great weather with 300 days of sunshine a year.

Robotics/Mechatronics: Mechatronics is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering that focuses on the engineering of electronic, electrical, and mechanical systems. The Beyond the States database has specific area of study search field for Mechatronics and Robotics, so it’s easy to navigate. It contains 23 bachelors and 64 masters degrees.  

An example of an interesting graduate program is the Master in Robotics, Systems, & Control at University of Zurich (ETH Zurich). This program joins the disciplines of mechanical and electrical engineering with computer science. ETH Zurich is one of the top tech schools in Europe and has a highly competitive admissions process, boasting 12 Nobel laureates including Albert Einstein. The school is highly international with 40% of the student body coming from outside Switzerland. Tuition: 1,350 EUR for 1.5 year program.

Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency and the associated technology of blockchain as well as fintech are domains of high level math. There are 4 masters programs in this area. If this is really your area of interest at the bachelor’s level, then getting a degree in mathematics would be a good start. 

Network Architect: Are you familiar with the internet? The network architect’s job is to design the networks that have become an increasingly vital part of our lives. Since these networks are generally a legacy of the telecommunications infrastructure, learning about telecommunications would be useful. We have 11 bachelors programs and 23 masters programs in this area.

Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Deep Learning: This field has a number of names, but I see it as all about teaching computers to simulate thought. Our database contains 12 bachelors and 48 masters programs in this area.

Cyber Security: Jenn often highlights the Cyber Security program at Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia. The three year program at TUT costs just 6,000 EUR per year and cyber security talent is in very high demand. It is one of 3 bachelor’s programs in Cyber Security. There are 36 graduate programs as well.

Internet of Things (IoT): First, let’s define the term. According to wikipedia, the Internet of Things (IoT)describes the network of physical objects—“things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet.” There is not really a degree specifically for IoT at this point. I looked at open engineering roles at one company in the IoT space, Real-Time Innovations (RTI). They’re looking for engineers with computer science degrees who have coursework in experience in programming, networks, distributed systems, and autonomous vehicles. Our database has 3 bachelors programs and 12 masters programs. Here’s a tip: search the Title field contains the term internet. If you search IoT, the search will pick up biotechnology, semiotics, and other programs you don’t want. 

Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality (VR/AR): According to tech news site, the Information,  Facebook now has 20% of it’s employees working on VR/AR projects currently, which says this tech area is poised for rapid growth. The database has 14 programs that cover VR/AR.

If you’re unsure of your exact area of tech interest, look for a survey program like the one at  VIA University College in Denmark (14,800 EUR) called Software Technology Engineering. In 3.5 years, the student learns programming, computer networks, Internet-of-things (IoT), game design, web design, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), database technology, big data, and cloud computing. As part of this program, the student develops professional and personal skills in information technology as well as gain qualifications for further studies at Master’s level.

In the final analysis, technology continues to drive productivity forward in the global economy. If technology is your area of passion, getting a STEM degree in Europe will position you for long term success, while maximizing your travel opportunity.

 

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Student Ambassador Experience-Andrea in Utrecht

This week we hear from another one of our student ambassadors!  Andrea is from Andover Massachusetts and is in her first year of the liberal arts program at Utrecht University.
Read on to learn more about her experience.

My decision to attend college in Europe was made in my senior year of high school in Andover, Massachusetts, where I have lived almost all my life. Growing up in this suburbia, I was comfortable with the way things were and generally thought I would continue to live in the same area for my college years as well. However, after being exposed to BTS through a family friend, I began growing curious of what other opportunities could be out there for me.

I ended up applying to universities in the Netherlands and Czechia, and am currently in my second semester at University College Utrecht, one of the few liberal arts colleges in the Netherlands. This liberal arts curriculum allows me to explore my interests and combine them to create a unique degree. The courses are split up in three sections: Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities. There are no GenEd requirements, except that you must try out at least one class in each of the disciplines in your first year. The program is three years instead of the four years I would be taking in the US, but don’t let that fool you, it is shorter but the course load and curriculum is equally difficult if not harder than that at US schools. At the end of my second year, I have to choose a discipline to major in, within which I have to finish “tracks” or a series of courses in a certain subject to graduate. I am leaning towards taking an Interdisciplinary Major by combining the Social Sciences and Humanities.

My classes have been enriching and interesting, as I have been able to learn about historical events and methods of thinking through a completely different perspective. I have been able to recognize some of the biases or misconceptions I may have as a result of growing up in one area for so long. The classes are also relatively small at UCU, so a close connection with the professor is possible in case I ever need help or have specific questions.

The application process for UCU was similar to that of schools in the US, except that I needed to turn in my AP scores. This added a bit of stress to the process, but I also applied to other universities and university colleges in the Netherlands. The universities here have a set of requirements that if you meet, your acceptance is almost guaranteed, which definitely gave me an added sense of security as I was applying.

The decision to move across the Atlantic to pursue a higher education proved to be worth it. Not only will I graduate without student loans, but I also will receive a degree unique from many other of my peers in the US. The friends I have made here have also helped me grow, and learning about their experiences across the globe has greatly enriched my day-to-day life.

 

 

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Is Free Tuition the Most Affordable Option?

We sometimes get emails from students who say that they want to find information about universities with free tuition, but that they can’t afford to pay for our services. The concern I have is that these students have a misconception about what it will actually cost to study and live in Europe.

The Beyond the States database contains over 75 English-taught bachelor’s degree programs and 857 English-taught master’s degree programs that charge zero tuition for international students. These programs are mainly in Norway, Iceland, and Germany. But “free tuition” does not actually mean cost free.

The first thing students need to consider is proof of means, which is  more properly described as “proof of means of subsistence”. Essentially, this is the minimum amount of income a student will need to live as a student. This is an amount set by the individual country’s government as part of the immigration process. Students who aren’t EU citizens need to provide proof that they have the  full amount for the year during the immigration process.  

Norway is one of the countries that offers international students free tuition at their public universities.  It truly is a remarkably beautiful place. During our visit there in 2016, we really enjoyed everything that was on offer. One thing that became immediately apparent was the high cost of living. According to Expatistan, Oslo, Norway’s capital, is slightly more expensive than Los Angeles (after New York and San Francisco, LA is the 3rd most expensive city in the US). 

An international student in Norway will pay no tuition, but they will pay more than 10,000 euros a year on housing, food, transportation, and leisure expenses (and that is on a VERY tight budget).  In fact, proof of means in Norway is 10800 euros which often allows for a very modest lifestyle. Estonia has many similarities to the Nordic countries, and students do pay an average of 3168 euros per year in tuition. However, the living costs are so much lower that EVEN WITH TUITION, they end up paying almost 2000 euros less per year. Of course, because cost of living is so much lower, the amount of money you need for proof of means is also easier to swallow at 4500 euros per year.

Families and students are frequently drawn to the “free college in Germany” idea. Of course, the admissions requirements often create obstacles for students.  The cost of living in Germany can be quite reasonable. Berlin is on the more expensive side at just 28% less expensive than LA.   However, it would still be a mistake to focus solely on Germany.

Let’s compare Germany to the Czech Republic.  Proof of means in Germany is 10236 euros and is 3600 euros in the Czech Republic.  Depending on the source, Berlin is anywhere from 32%49% more expensive than Prague. Even using the lower cost difference, a student in the Czech Republic would have 41 bachelor’s and 98 master’s options in which they would pay the same for living AND tuition as they would pay for living expenses alone in Germany.

While these aren’t all necessarily dramatic differences, we are comparing your overall expenses including tuition. The fact that you can pay less overall while paying a few thousand euros a year in tuition is precisely the reason not to confine your search to only those with free tuition. For a student who has a tight budget, those savings can mean a lot and/or open up a lot of options that are comparable in cost.

Let’s go back to the student who has a very tight budget and doesn’t think they can afford to work with Beyond the States. We have a self paced course called Choosing A University in Europe.  This course walks students through the process of choosing a European university (for bachelor’s)*that fits their criteria and includes 30 days of database access.  Membership is not required for the course, which costs $75.  Without taking this course, a budget minded student might confine their search to free tuition and not know that they need to come up with over 10000 euros for proof of means. They might apply in Norway, not knowing that you need a certain number of AP courses.  They might not be aware of one of my favorite universities in the Czech Republic which has a Environmental Studies program for under 1000 euros per year.

The knowledge gained after making this one time payment will save you endless hours and minimize the risk of making costly mistakes. It also has the potential to save you thousands of dollars. Of course, if you are comparing to US prices, the savings potential is mind-blowing!  

We would love to help you find life-changing opportunities within your budget! Use coupon code “affordable” through March 7th to save 20% on the Choosing A University Course or your first month of bachelor’s or master’s membership.

***Our master’s membership includes webinars that walk students through the same process.