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!
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.
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.
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!
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
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 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
“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.
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!
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 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.
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.
As you may remember, we made plans to move to Malaysia in spring 2020. We applied for a visa, and Ellie and I spent an incredible six weeks looking at schools, apartments, and just exploring. We were all super excited for a life filled with curry mee and a completely different way of life. Just a couple of weeks after I announced our plans, we had a plot twist in our lives. Tom got a job offer-one he was really excited about-for a company that is 100% remote. However, he would need to live in place that had some overlap in the work day with US time zones. With a 12-hour time difference, Malaysia was off the table if he wanted this job.
Luckily, we weren’t completely back to square one as I had researched several countries before we decided on Malaysia. Deciding on a new plan paralleled the process I advise students to go through when choosing which European schools to apply to. I always recommend students to first start with the quantifiable criteria, which starts with area of study and admissions requirements. It doesn’t matter if you want to live in France if you want to study Philosophy because there aren’t any English-taught programs in that area of study. It doesn’t matter if you want to study in Denmark if you don’t have any AP scores or an IB degree, since those requirements are country-wide. For our search, first and foremost we needed to identify a country that had visa structures that we qualified for (since we weren’t going with a work or student visa). We also needed a place that had no greater than a 5 to 6 hour time difference from EST. It doesn’t matter if I want to live in Croatia if they don’t have the visa structure we need, or anywhere in Asia due to the time difference. These concrete criteria helped us narrow the field tremendously.
The next criteria we had was around cost. Just like the university search, this gets a bit more complicated. When students are looking at universities in Europe, tuition along with living expenses needs to be considered. I often use the example comparing Norway and Estonia. Though Norway offers free tuition, the overall cost of tuition and cost of living is less expensive in Estonia because Norway is such an expensive country. In our search, we had to consider not only cost of living, but also tax rates (one reason we initially chose Malaysia is that they don’t tax global income). We would love to live in Spain, for instance, but the tax rates there are high which affects the overall cost of living. Then we get to the most subjective criteria, which is quality of life. This is different for everyone, but for us some considerations were weather, food, public transportation, ease of visiting schools for Beyond the States, and high school education for Ellie.
All these factors helped us decide on Lisbon. Portugal has a tax structure that provides a 10-year tax break to those who become tax residents and meet a set of other criteria. It’s also one of the more affordable countries in Europe. My brother lives in Lisbon, so we will get to spend regular time with him, his wife, my nephew, and niece. Food and weather boxes are checked (big time) and we found a great international high school that will allow Ellie to continue with her curriculum. I do hate that we will be paying more for high school tuition than we pay for Sam’s university tuition, but I keep reminding myself that it’s just for two years! Speaking of Sam, it will be much easier to see him since Amsterdam is just a 3-hour flight from Lisbon. And get this-after just 5 years of living there we can apply for Portuguese citizenship! We must pass a language test first (thought there are rumors that this requirement is being removed), so we will be taking classes and studying hard. After we become citizens, we can live anywhere in the EU!
Finally, this move means that school visits for Beyond the States are going to be a lot more frequent! We are taking advantage of Ellie’s virtual school year with a couple of months of travel before settling in Lisbon. We leave on January 12th and will spend a month in Valencia, Spain, with plans to visit a few schools in Madrid. After a couple of weeks in Lisbon to handle logistics in February, we will then spend March in Athens -with more school visits-and settle down in Lisbon April 1st. I’ve had my eye of a few schools in Finland that I plan to visit in May as well. It’s been interesting going through a process that parallels that of the students I work with. Like some of the students I talk with, we started this process with one thought/plan in mind that required modification. What we thought of as a Plan B turns out to be at least as good as a choice as the original plan, just in different ways. Flexibility is something that I sometimes struggle with, but it’s been an exciting process. The other thing I have found fascinating is how many BTS members, former members, future members/newsletter subscribers I have encountered through this process. I’m in a Facebook group for Americans who have or are planning to move to Portugal and already have been contacted by four other people who are in the same group and know me through Beyond the States! I guess it’s not surprising, given that valuing global experiences is something we all have in common. Anyhow, I look forward to bringing you even more frequent information about schools! I’ll send out updates about the schools I have appointments with ahead of time, so you can let me know if there are any specific questions you would like answered.