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School Visit to Cork, Ireland

My weekends as a preteen in the mid-80s often involved trips to Blockbuster with friends.  If we weren’t renting Mask (with Cher) for the millionth time, then a National Lampoon movie was a likely pick. Say what you will, but European Vacation remains one of my favorites of the series.  I can’t even count how many times Sam, Ellie, and I have said “Look kids, Big Ben” as Tom struggled with traffic circle exits in various countries.

Anyhow, you might recall the bicyclist from the movie.  Chevy Chase continually causes all sort of accidents that injure this character, but each time the cyclist responds with kindness, friendliness, and unnecessary apologies. Though this part of the movie took place in London, I thought of it often while we were in Ireland.

As an introvert, I am not someone who enjoys small talk with strangers. By this, I mean strangers who will stay strangers-like the person sitting next to me on the plane. Small talk exhausts me, so expending that energy with someone I will likely not see again doesn’t appeal to me. Every single person I met in Ireland was just so genuinely friendly, that conversations didn’t feel like small talk with a stranger. It was really remarkable. I was talking to an administrator from University College Dublin, who is also American and a self-proclaimed introvert like me, and he noted that it’s really hard to truly explain or understand until you experience it.  We lived in North Carolina for many years, so friendliness from strangers is something I’m familiar with, but this is something beyond that.

We started our trip in Cork, which was a three-hour train ride from Dublin.  I was particularly excited about this part of the trip, as Cork is known as a great food destination. And it did not disappoint!  The cheeses were particularly amazing, though the emphasis on local food was prevalent in many places around the city. I walked past more than one kebab shop that advertised using only local Irish lamb. I also like that it’s a smaller city, which made getting around and exploring quite easy. Though not evident in the summer, it’s a university city, with about 17% students included in their population of 210,000.

This trip was different than others I’ve been on. Though Irish universities plan to open in the fall, most are still closed with employees working from home. In most cases, I walked around campuses to get a feel and then had zoom calls with administrators who answered my questions.  The exception was University College Cork, as much of the staff in the International Office continued on campus work through the summer. Due to this, I was able to have an in-person meeting.

Surprisingly, there was only one rainy day on our entire trip. Of course, this happened to be the day of my meeting at UCC so after seeing the forecast I decided to check out the campus a day early. As you may know, centralized campuses are rare in Europe. Usually the different department buildings are scattered around the city. Though there are some beautiful university buildings, they aren’t generally all in one place.  The UCC campus dates back to 1845 with incredible landscaping and Gothic architecture. Even some of the newer buildings are built into original structures, which provides a striking contrast. I have to say, this must be the most beautiful campus in Europe that I have visited.

UCC has 76 bachelor’s and more than 100 masters.  This is comparable to the number offered at the other Irish universities. So how does a student choose between schools in Ireland if they are looking for a program that is offered at many of the traditional universities (as opposed to the technological instituted, which is a topic we will explore in a future post)?

A student might like UCC because of the beautiful facilities, the commitment to a green campus, the focus on sustainability and green campus, the career services offerings, the breadth of student associations, or the incredible English Market (ok that one is me…). While there are a number of aspects students could look at, one that I think is important is international student experience.

There are some aspects of the international student experience that will be common at most Irish universities.  Most of the traditional universities offer an Arts program, which is similar to liberal arts and provides a level of curricular flexibility. Housing for first year international students is (basically) guaranteed at most universities too.  Adjusting to the first year can also be easier in Ireland. I’ve been told that the friendliness and inclusiveness I experienced extends to international students. Further, since the language in Ireland is English, international students are able to access all the various clubs and associations (as opposed to only those in English as is the case in non-anglophone countries).

There are factors around the international student experience, though, that are directly affected by the international student resources in place. This was just one area in which UCC impressed me tremendously.  These supports start with the admissions process. International students apply directly to the international student office who work with the applicant to answer questions and assist with the process.  Application decisions are turned around quickly, generally within 4 weeks or so.  These supports continue after acceptance and before starting at campus.  What struck me were the ways in which the international office team goes above and beyond the help their students during this time. Before they even arrive on campus!  One example of this is the email that was sent to students this summer. It was friendly and informative without being overwhelming. They provided information about arrival, orientation, events and more as well a number of ways for students to connect through Facebook groups and such before arrival. Sam was a first year student at two different Dutch universities and the difference in this before arrival support and what he received is dramatic.

The support from this office continues after arrival and through graduation.  In addition to the orientation that is integrated with the non-international students, the international office hosts four “Essential Information” sessions for international students.  These include sessions on immigration matters, how to access various supports and resources at UCC, practical tips, and issues around culture and transition. Like the summer email, I like that the information is partialized and presented in a way as to not overwhelm the students. The staff really seemed to care about the students and their overall well-being. During covid times, they sent out regular emails, with ways to connect that were aligned with restrictions on movement and provided the students with an online hub to access supports around wellbeing.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that we added Ireland! Though more expensive than most of the offerings in continental Europe, they are still less expensive than private universities in the United States.  All the traditional universities have FAFSA numbers and accept direct federal student loans (not the Pell Grant) and some have scholarship options for international students. Of course, many of are pursuing higher education in Europe in order to avoid debt for ourselves or our children…That said, many of our members are exploring options in Europe due to other benefits around international education and/or have been saving according to US tuition rates.  If your budget includes options in the12-20k per year range, I highly suggest exploring the options in Ireland.

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Isabell in Maastricht

Hey guys, my name is Isabel Waszkiewicz. I’m originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin which I will address as “MKE” for the rest of this blog post. In this blog I am going to tell you guys about my experience moving from MKE to a smaller Dutch city.

In high school, when junior year rolled around in 2018, I was hit with an immense dilemma: Do I want to stay in the USA for my college life, or look farther from home, like in Europe. I decided to apply to schools in Europe and applied also to backup schools in Wisconsin in case I changed my mind. I ended up choosing numerous schools in the Netherlands as I wanted to focus my studies on biology, mainly human biology, and I wanted to study in an all-English course. Therefore, thorough using Beyond the States, I was able to find numerous courses fitting my needs and wants, in numerous countries. The course that best fit me and provided me with a wide variety of biology courses proved to be a program called the Maastricht Science Program (MSP). I ended up applying here, and mid-senior year I got my acceptance letter. I was beyond thrilled.

Fast forward two-and-a-half years, and I am now about to start my third and final year of university at MSP. MSP is a Liberal Arts and Sciences program based in a smaller, Southern city in the Netherlands: Maastricht. Leaving to come to Maastricht was a big change for me, not only because I didn’t know anyone, but because the city was smaller compared to the MKE I was used to, and the culture was so different.

Specifically speaking, Maastricht is slightly larger than 60 square kilometers, and has a population of about 122,400 people. Compared to Milwaukee, which is over 250 square kilometers and has a population a

lmost 5 times larger than that of Maastricht with 594,600 people. I was in for a big change. However, I could not be happier with my decision.

Personally, I find studying in a smaller city like Maastricht extremely nice and comforting. You can get to know the city, and all of its hidden spots, whereas in much larger cities I feel you can still feel a bit lost after even years of studying there. I also find since you know more areas well, there is also a greater feeling of safety in smaller cities. In large cities there commonly are areas that may not be the safest to walk through at night perhaps, but in smaller cities like Maastricht I find there are little to no unsafe areas, and if there are areas best not travelled alone at night, you know about them well due to their scarcity.

In addition, not only do you get to know the city better, but the people living there as well. In smaller cities you are very likely to get to know local people from your favorite restaurants or small stores extremely well and make connections that are scarce in larger cities. Besides locals, you are easily able to meet up with friends you meet from university whenever since almost everything is less than a 20-30 minute bike ride away. I cannot express how nice it is to run into friends on the streets, especially when you are so far from home. Almost every time I leave my house, I am able to run into, or spot someone I know. I personally find this extremely comforting as I get homesick sometimes and miss friends from back in the US, and these interactions allow relationships to grow in your new hometown.

Lastly, in smaller cities like Maastricht, commuting to class, work, or even to friend’s places is extremely easy. In fact, since the Dutch bike everywhere, I can bike to my friend’s place on the complete opposite side of the city, in under 30 minutes in Maastricht. Most places are reachable by foot, but biking provides a greater ease.

With tight schedules, this proximity helps greatly, as if you are running late, you are usually 5-10 minutes away from work even with traffic. This makes moving places, commuting to work, getting home at night, and even grocery shopping so much easier and faster.

Overall, I know moving to another country across the ocean is already a huge change and causes stress, trust me I’ve been there. I just hope this blog post takes a little bit of that stress away if you are currently worried you applied to a smaller university or will be living in a smaller city. All change is going to be somewhat stressful at first, whether that is good or ba

d stress. In the end however, you just need to realize that you are human, you will adapt, and wherever you end up will bring so many new and amazing opportunities. Take it from me, moving to a much smaller Dutch city from the US was one of, if not the best decision I have made yet in my life.

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Geneva, Switzerland School Visit

Ellie and I just got back from a week in Geneva. It was my first time in Switzerland and, I have to tell you, Geneva is now at the very top of my “Favorite Cities in Europe” list.  It had everything I love about Paris (language, culture, incredible food, beautiful architecture) but cleaner, friendlier, and with the addition of the incredible views with the lake and the Alps. Further, it’s compact, easy to navigate, and with a great public transportation system.  Did I pay $10 for Band-Aids? Yes. And $9 for blackberries at the farmer’s market? Also, yes. But other things, like our hotel, Swiss wines, and local public transportation were surprisingly affordable.  I spent the first few days visiting schools and then we had four days of exploring the city, eating tons of cheese and chocolate, and making a day

trip to Lausanne.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t love every school I visit. In fact, I had enough concerns about one of the schools I visited during our trip to Geneva that I took it out of the database and sent an email to our members about my concerns.  And then I visited a school on the other end of the spectrum. One that I could not wait to let you all know about. This school is the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

Where do I even start?

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies was founded in 1927. It’s technically a private, not-for profit institution, but also get 40% of their funding from the state as they are seen as providing a service of public utility. They previously housed their facilities in a historic villa on Lake Geneva but built a new campus that opened in 2013.

I just need to take a minute to tell you about their facilities, as they are truly breathtaking.  They are located just around the corner from the UN. The six buildings, which are located just around the corner from the UN Headquarters, are referred to as petals due to their shape.  The school facilities are in the first building while the expansive and impressive library extends into the second petal as well.  The campus includes a conference space, where the Dali Llama recently spoke, and offices in the other buildings are rented out to organizations and NGOs with similar missions. For this reason, the entire facility is referred to as the Campus of Peace. The value of sustainability was incorporated into the structure. The building uses geothermal heating and cooling and also has a weather center on top to detect when shutters need to be shut and open.  There is housing in viewing distance with 260 beds, and another newly built with 600 beds just 15 minutes by foot from campus.  Rooms costs 700 CHF+ (convert to US dollars) per month.

There are only 1077 students, so the robust facilities are especially impressive. That said, in recognizing that students may also desire the student life opportunities provided by a larger university, they have an arrangement with the University of Geneva that allows students to utilize their facilities and services. This includes things like sports clubs and facilities, medical, student associations, study spaces and just about anything else you can think of!

The school has six master’s degree programs.  The one I want to tell you about today is the interdisciplinary International and Development Studies program.  All students in this two year program take the same core classes, which include Stats, Research Methods, and choices from core classes like Gender and International Affairs and Development, Global Governance and Regulation, and Extraction, Poverty, and Inequality. Students also take electives from the five disciplinary program, which are Anthropology and Sociology, International Economics, International History and Politics, International Law, and International Relations/Political Science . The rest of the courses are primarily centered around the student’s specialization. Students are required to chose one specialization, with the option of two from:

  • Conflict, Peace and Security
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Gender, Race, and Diversity
  • Global Health
  • Mobilities, Migrations, and Boundaries
  • Sustainable Trade and Finance
  • Human Rights and Humanitarianism

Skills based workshops are also a mandatory part of the curriculum and help students with career related skills, Skills based workshops are also a mandatory part of the curriculum and help students with career related skills, be it public speaking, digital platforms, or how to work as a consultant. The third semester includes either a study abroad opportunity or the capstone project, an applied research project in which students work in groups to work on real research mandates from NGOs and other international organizations. The fourth semester is focused on the dissertation.

The reputation of the school, location, strong career services department, relationships formed with organizations, and active alumni association help in the employability of graduates from this program as well as others. 90% of students find relevant work within 4 months of graduating. 37% work in the public sector, 27.5% work for non for profit, 21.6% work in the private sector and 13.9% in academia.  About half of the graduates stay in Switzerland and the other half take positions

Did I mention that Kofi Annan is an alum?

I often talk about the value of the international exposure that is provided by having friends and classmates from around the world.  85-90% of the students at this school are international-from over 100 countries-so there is not one dominate culture. This can be challenging, but also incredibly mind expanding.  The administrator I met with, explained it in a way that gave me goose bumps.  She said….

Imagine that you are in a class with 20 people from 20 different countries.  The school doesn’t teach topics like chemistry-which have one universal truth.  You may be talking about something like WWII. You have the “facts” that you were taught through your textbooks at school as well as the cultural narratives you have learned about it through media, family, etc.  You may have classmates from Germany, China, Uganda, Angola, Canada, and more-all of whom had different textbooks and cultural narratives.  These different points of view include topics pertaining to values, culture, and politics. Having what you saw as “facts” challenged can be uncomfortable, but this is where incredible learning occurs.

She spoke of how Switzerland is a neutral country, it’s an appropriate safe place for students to have this discussion. The safe place does not, in this context, mean avoiding the difficult and uncomfortable conversations. It means creating an environment where different points of view can be expressed and heard in a way that leads to growth, learning, and perspective shifts.

Since the programs at the Graduate Institute are focused on the problems of the world, they are developing students with the know knowledge, skills, and global perspective that is required to truly make an impact. And now I have goosebumps again.

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Adam Housing

Adam submitted this video for us a few months ago and I immediately sent it to Sam in order to light a fire under his housing search-and it worked!  I’ve enjoyed getting to know Adam through our student ambassador program and recently interviewed him for our upcoming podcast relaunch.  He had really interesting experiences to share around playing baseball in the Netherlands, his academic experiences, and his upcoming semester abroad in South Korea!

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School Visit to Nova Portugal

I recently had my first school visit since March of 2020!  Though there are visits around Europe planned to start in August, I was excited to have my first visit closer to home to Nova Portugal. In fact, it was a mere 15-minute drive from our apartment!

I do not fall in love with every school I visit. I first visited universities in Portugal back in 2018. There were not any blogs about this trip, as nothing I saw especially blew me away. My biggest hesitations were around the international student resources, and small international student numbers.  Portugal has done a great job at positioning itself as a wonderful place for expats and has created several initiatives to lure people to move to the country.  So, it is surprising that this isn’t done at the higher education level yet.

Photo by Francisco Nogueira

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into my visit at Nova School of Business and Economics. This school is actually a department of Nova University Lisbon university-a public university. Given the economic history in Portugal, public universities do not have a ton of surplus funds so you can imagine my surprise when I pulled up here.

As noted, my visit was specifically with Nova School of Business and Economics (Nova SBE) is n Carcavelos, which is about 20 minutes by train to the city center in Lisbon.  The recent history of this school is quite fascinating!  Just over a decade ago, the dean of the school- Alfredo de Sousa-decided he wanted to turn the school into one of the premiere business schools in Europe, with unique offerings and features. He first went to the government for funding, and they said they could offer moral support, but not financial (this was during the Portuguese financial crisis). This did not prevent Mr. de Sousa from pursuing his goal and he spent the next 7 years raising 56 million euros for the project from donors all around the world. A foundation was created that funded the new campus and continues continue to exist with the sole purpose of supporting campus maintenance and scientific endeavors.

I must take a minute to talk about the campus as this is one of the unique aspects introduced.  When I tell you that this school is right on the ocean, I mean that it literally right there! You walk through a campus underpass and there it is! The Carcavelos beach is known as a surfing hotspot in the country, and I must tell you, I think the weather in this part of Portugal is as close to perfect as it gets. Photo by Francisco Nogueira

The new Nova SBE facilities were completed in 2018 and are breathtaking. The campus includes 55 classroom (many with an ocean view), 26 amphitheaters, 24-hour study spaces, a food court, postal delivery service area, medical center, and on campus housing.  The on-campus housing is limited (122 rooms) but there are other student housing providers in the area. This is much more extensive than what is often provided at the departmental level at most European universities.

As impressive as the facilities is the fact that the school has triple crown accreditation. Let me take a minute to explain what that means. All of the schools we list in our database are fully accredited.  Business schools can also seek these “extra” international accreditations through AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA.  AMBA accredits only the MBA program, while AACSB and EQUIS accredit the entire business school. These accreditations look at things that I think really matter about the educational experience.  Factors assessed include engagement among students and faculty; mission statement; instruction quality; teaching effectiveness; curriculum development, content, and review; corporate connections; internationalization; personal and professional development opportunities for students; and balance of emphasis on knowledge and skills.  Unlike global rankings, which are based entirely on research related criteria, these factors really have an impact on the student’s experience and outcomes! To have any of these accreditations is notable, but to have all three is extremely rare (less than 1% of business schools around the world have it) and is referred to as triple crown accreditation. Given that Nova SBE has the accreditation you can know that the agencies vetted them thoroughly for these factors.

All of the programs at the business school are taught in English and have been since 2010.  There are three bachelor’s programs (Management, Economics, and Portuguese and Business), seven master’s (Business Analytics, Economics, Finance, Management, International Management, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, International Development and Public Policy), one joint management program and one joint MBA program. SBE bachelor’s degree programs take three years to complete and cost 7500 euros per year. Except for the joint degrees, master’s at SBE cost 11,900 per year.

Experiential leaning is a key feature and work with companies is integrated in the curriculum. Additionally, sustainability themes are included in all the programs.  Students do not have a ton of time for surfing as the programs are extremely demanding and the management and economics bachelors are especially math heavy. That said, international student surveys note that students are extremely pleased with how accessible professors are for help outside the classroom.

Professors are not the only ones providing support. The SBE is self-contained (even more so than most European departments are) so students can get all their administrative/student life type needs met without leaving campus. There are offices that provide academic services, career services, counseling, first year mentoring programs, peer tutoring, academic skills workshops, assistance with housing, visa, and other non-academic matters, and more.  Further, there are over 30 active student clubs including topics like investments, entrepreneurship, cooking, and-of course-surfing. Given that the entire business school is English speaking, and the international student body is 40% (which does not even include the 500 or so exchange students hosted every year), accessing resources and student life opportunities is much easier for student than it can be in less internationalized schools.

Portugal is not an ideal place to start one’s career in business, due to lower salaries.  Graduates often seek (and find) employment elsewhere. Nova SBE alumni can be found in 65 different countries around the world, working at companies including Deloitte, EY, McKinsey, Amazon, L’Oréal, Google, and Unilever. In fact, 84% of students are employed within 3 months of gradating and 97% are employed with six months of graduating.

These are the types of school visits that excite me! Ones in which I have no “buts” or caveats to include.  Ones that are strong in academics, international student resources, outcomes, and overall experience.  I walked out thinking about students I know who this could be a good fit for. If you are interested in studying business in a beautiful setting, at a school invested in your success, I highly suggest you check it out!

 

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Czech Student Life: An American’s Perspective

Czech student life 1 This week we hear from Claire, who is here to talk about Czech student life at one of my favorite schools in Prague!  Get this! International student tuition for her program is just under $500 per year!  For more on why European universities are so much more affordable, check out the podcast episode I did with an American professor at this same university. – Jenn

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My name is Claire, and I am studying Environmental Engineering at Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, Czech Republic. I am currently in my second year having experience with both COVID and non COVID times.

Academic Schedule School days at public universities in the Czech Republic are generally Monday-Thursday with Fridays off or left for extra classes. I have only had Friday classes once, when taking the mandatory sports class during my first year. Classes take place between 8:45am and 6:00pm and are and hour and half long. Usually, each class meets twice a week, once for our lectures and once for our seminars. During my two years, I’ve had five to eight classes a semester, but usually a couple of the classes aren’t work/study intensive. My current schedule of classes (2nd year, 2nd semester) is:

Tuesday: classes from 8:45-5:15

Wednesday: classes from 8:45-10:15

Thursday: classes from 12:15-3:30

Usually one day a week has a full day of classes which is extremely exhausting, but because of the extended weekend days, on school days, I try to keep long study hours to a minimum and find that it is very helpful for my stress. Typically, after classes are done, I will work out, relax, and maybe get together with my friends depending when classes end. COVID has definitely affected my school schedule, as it has everyone, especially studying a STEM subject and having all lab activity closed. However, professors have tried their best to make the classes work as much as possible.

Social Schedule On easier days in our schedules my friends and I may go out for lunch or do something after classes but, we try to get together at least once a week outside of school to just hang out, go out to eat, or nights out. Prague is amazing and has a lot of parks and places around the river Czech student life that people can hang out and outdoor festivals/events so during warmer months a lot of time is spent outside. It’s pretty easy to find different types of foods although Asian (specifically Vietnamize), American, and Czech are most common cuisine, and we have never run into any issues with dietary restrictions because Prague is very vegan/vegetarian friendly. I live in an apartment with roommates which has led to an easier time during COVID lockdowns. One of my roommates and I cook dinner once a week and study together (even though we study different subjects), we started working out together, and just trying to get out of the house.

In terns of Czech student life, I have found that I tend to have more free time than my friends who go to university in the US because of how my school and exam schedule is made. Even though I have 5-8 subjects a week, I have three to four “free days”, so my life isn’t so cramped. Since exams grades are the final grades of classes, usually we don’t get much in the way of homework or test/quizzes which also helps with keeping free time. Compared to my friends in the US, the class difficulty is relatively the same, but can feel harder because I have to self-study more than they do. Overall I find that even with more classes, even at the same level as my US friends, I tend to have more time to study and socialize due to less weekly work.  — Claire

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Studying Overseas in Utrecht, Netherlands: Taylor’s Experience

“Why did I choose college in Europe? This is a question I get a lot, and often I am not sure how to respond other than simply, why not?” Read more on Taylor’s journey to studying overseas in the medieval city of Utrecht, Netherlands.  

I have grown up in a small town in Washington state, and was very excited with the idea of being able to experience living in a whole other atmosphere in a way I hadn’t before. I am eighteen years old and studying overseas in my first year in the Creative Business program at Hogeschool Utrecht University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. When looking for schools, I was interested in business school, but wanted to be sure that my desire for becoming an entrepreneur wasn’t lost. That is why I chose the Creative Business program, which heavily incorporates entrepreneurship and helps students along the way. In the program that I have chosen, each course topic has been interesting and informative. 

During the process of applying to schools in Europe, I was focusing on the program that best fit my interests as well as my desired atmosphere. I visited multiple schools around Europe and found that my best fit was here in Utrecht, Netherlands. Some of the other schools I had visited in this process offered good English programs, but when I visited, I wasn’t quite convinced that I would want to live there. I have learned a lot since living in the Netherlands, from budgeting, taking public transportation, time management, as well as becoming more culturally aware. My choice of studying overseas in Europe has been the best and biggest decision of my life. I have grown in many ways from living on my own and grown in confidence because I have also figured it out on my own. After first moving here, there were lots of things to check off the list, such as the visa requirements, residency numbers and more, but after a few phone calls it wasn’t so hard to figure out because people are so willing to help.  

As a student it has been very eye opening to be a part of such an international community. There are many different cultures in my program, and it has been so wonderful to be able to work with so many different types of people with many different backgrounds. With Covid-19 being a part of my first year, it hasn’t all been easy, but there are lots of programs and student organizations that have put in extra effort to make sure that students have the opportunity to make new friends. My main concern with moving across the world during a global pandemic was how I was going to make friends, but it has been easier than I thought to keep connected with other people from my school. I am so grateful for finding this program in this town.  

— Taylor

Thinking of college abroad for yourself? Ease in with our Self-Paced courses where you’ll be guided on how to choose a major, or a university in Europe, get your questions answered on the admissions process, and more. Prices for these chock-full courses range from $50-75, but members pay only $25. And speaking of membership, there is a special limited time offer on Annual Membership right now. Check it out!

 

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Why Study in Hungary? Sidney’s Study Abroad Story

From suburban Seattle to city life in Hungary! Let’s hear from another one of our incredible student ambassadors to answer the question: “Why study in Hungary?” Meet Sidney, who is in her second year at the University of Debrecen in Debrecen, Hungary studying to get her Bachelor of Science in Biology. –Jenn

Growing up and attending school in Renton, Washington, at least once a year we would have to attend assemblies. A variety of people would come in to talk to our school about college and how to start planning for my future now for when I got to high school, I would be prepared to take the steps to get into university. They told us about universities in-state, and the possibilities of each of us going out of state if we dared. They never mentioned the possibility of going out of the country to get our education so I never knew that was a choice I could make. Instead, I thought trying to get into an ivy league school was what I should do, until I realized realistically and financially for me and my parents, that was not possible.

By the time I reached high school, I was fortunate enough to have visited many countries outside the U.S, including several in Europe. Those trips had me falling in love with new cultures, meeting new people, and getting to open my mind to different ways of seeing the world. When my mom found Beyond the States, she told me that it was completely doable for me to attend university in Europe instead of staying in the states, if that is what I would be interested in. College in Europe? I thought – no way, that is only something reserved for the rich, not for everyday people.

After a lot of research on universities in Europe using Beyond the States and many university websites, I decided yes this is what I want to do. I ended up applying and getting accepted into universities in the Netherlands and Hungary. I am now in my second year at the University of Debrecen in Why Study in Hungary Debrecen, Hungary studying to get my Bachelor of Science in Biology. The application process was easier than that of what my friends had to do in the states. Why study in Hungary? The universities here give you clear directions as to what they require when you apply, certificate of education, transcript (showing 3-4 AP classes under your belt), a one-page cover letter, and the universities application form. They do not require SAT or ACT scores and knowing this a couple of years before those tests occurred, I planned on not taking them when they happened.

Being a student here has been an amazing experience. My degree program has allowed me to study so many more subjects than an American university would have in the same amount of time. I also get to have more hands-on experience with researchers, especially in my third (and last) year, which will help me in knowing how a career in the science fields will function in the future. My degree will not only help me continue my education wherever I go, but also make me stand out against others when I ultimately look to find a job.

So, in the final analysis, why study in Hungary? All in all, 5 years ago if you had told me I would be in Europe getting my bachelor’s degree I would have thought you were crazy. Going to university here has been the best decision I have made. I will get my bachelor’s degree in a shorter amount of time, getting life and career experience, meeting my best friends, all while seeing the world.

I have met some of the most incredible people from all over the world from different walks of life, getting to know about their families, countries, traditions, and it has been a life-changer. We all started with the same foundation of going to university in a new country far from family, and that really helps the students connect, help each other, whilst making lasting bonds and overall, just having a good time together.

Yikes! There are only two seats left for our popular, upcoming College in Europe Masterclass. Take advantage of a $75 savings by using the code earlybird. Members also receive an automatic discount of $150, and the earlybird discounts expire this Friday, April 30. Click here for more information on dates and registration. 

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Student Ambassador – Hannah

Hannah, from Indiana, is in her second year of study at Erasmus University Rotterdam. She’s in a program that’s super popular with our members-Management of International Social Challenges. Student members can join our students-only member facebook group to ask Hannah, and our eight other student ambassadors, any questions.

Like many of our student ambassadors, Hannah found this program through our best fit list service.  This list is handpicked by Jenn to meet the students interests, qualifications, budget, and preferences.  Through the end of April, you can get your first month of Beyond the States membership FREE with the purchase of a best fit list. Order your master’s best fit service here, and your bachelor’s best fit service here.