Anglo-American University: An International Relations Program in Prague, Czechia

           Hey everyone! My name is Hunter Vaughan and I am a new Beyond the States Ambassador for Anglo-American University (AAU) in Prague, Czechia. I’m originally from Roxboro, North Carolina and started at AAU a little over  a year ago in January 2021 where I am now a second year International Relations major with a concentration in Human Rights. AAU is the oldest private university in the Czech Republic, being founded just in 1990. Just because the school is so new does not mean the academics aren’t stellar. The school has gained many new students over the past two years, in large part thanks to fellow BTS and AAU alum, Liza Miezejeski’s viral TikTok series on how she moved to Prague to complete her college education. While many Europeans would consider AAU’s tuition to be expensive, it is relatively inexpensive by American standards, especially when you realize that AAU’s bachelor’s programs are only 3 years in length compared to the standard 4 years in America. Tuition for any of AAU’s bachelor programs comes out to $4,283 per semester or around $25,700 for the entire degree. This is much less than most private universities and even some public school’s in-state tuition in the US. This not does not include rent which can range from $400-500+/month and living costs which can entirely depend on the person. Overall, Prague is one of the most affordable cities for university students.

When I first arrived in Prague last year, I was staying in the student housing that AAU recommends, Zeitraum. While it is not on campus housing, many other AAU students were living there, as AAU has a contract with the housing company and it is also very easy to arrange in advance and get your confirmation of accommodation that you will need when applying for your Czech student visa. I would recommend to anyone considering AAU,  though,  to book rooms directly through Zeitraum’s website instead of through AAU as they are much cheaper that way. While Zeitraum was a perfect way to start off at university, especially by meeting most of my now-closest friends, you eventually want a bigger space and a kitchen that you don’t have to share with an entire floor, so most people moved out after their first or second semester. In Prague it is a lot easier to find apartments on Facebook as there are many groups and that way you don’t have to pay realtor and commission fees.

In regards to the program structure at AAU, I am currently in the school of International Relations and have a concentration in Human Rights. The way bachelor’s programs at AAU work is you can either choose to have an extended major, concentration, or minor. For example, you could simply have an International Relations degree with the extended major and you get to choose 5 IR electives yourself whereas having a concentration in an area such as Global Affairs or Human Rights, those IR electives are selected for you. My Human Rights Concentration Classes include:

  • Human Rights
  • History of Racism and Anti-Semitism
  • Moot Court
  • Humanitarian Law and Criminal Justice
  • Gender Equality in Politics
  • Business Ethics
  • Race and Civil Rights in Modern America

In place of both of those you could also choose to minor in another subject including business, journalism, and humanities. With AAU’s three year degree program, getting a choice in classes other than electives is difficult to accomplish. Within the IR major, it is also highly recommended to take a language class of either Spanish, French, German, or Russian.

Regardless of your major at AAU, students are required to complete both an internship and a senior thesis to graduate. For your internship, you can either take the internship course at AAU where the Career Center will help to place you in an internship during the semester or you could do an internship in your own time over the summer or winter break. You will be required to write a detailed paper about what your internship was and what you did. During your final year fall semester at AAU you will be placed into a Thesis Seminar course in which you have the opportunity to do a lot of research, select a thesis advisor, and submit a thesis proposal at the end of the semester. This course will make completing your thesis in the Spring much less daunting.

One of the biggest reasons a lot of students choose AAU is because the school offers both an EU and US accredited degree, meaning you will graduate with a degree valid in both countries. However, there is a catch. Every student is automatically enrolled in the US degree however to be eligible for the Czech degree, you must go through a process called nostrification in which the Czech government decides if your high school education is equivalent to the Czech education. If they find it is not, which has been the case for many AAU students (myself included), you will have to take oral exams in subjects ranging from Computer Information Systems, Geography, Physics, Biology, etc. These exams are conducted in Czech high schools and you will need an interpreter to bring with you. If you pass the exams, you will get your nostrification certificate and if you are like myself and do not pass, you will have to withdraw from the Czech degree  at AAU and just stick with the American path. Personally, I do not mind not being in the Czech program as I plan to get a masters degree in Europe anyway and will get my EU degree that way. However if it is extremely important for you to get the Czech degree the nostrification process could be a big hurdle. I have many friends who have passed their exams and I also have friends who decided to not even attempt theirs. It is truly up to you what you want to do. I will say that even without nostrification, being AAU is an amazing experience and the education you get will still be great.

If you are interested in applying to Anglo-American University please check out the admissions requirements on their website: aauni.edu . I have personally loved my time in Prague and would not change it for anything. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Instagram @huntervaughann . I wish you the best of luck on your European college search!



International Studies vs. International Relations at Leiden University – What’s the Difference?

Hey everyone! We’re Max and Macklin, two BTS student ambassadors who are second years at Leiden University at The Hague campus in the Netherlands. After hearing we were living in the same student housing via the BTS Facebook group, we met online just after our arrival in the Netherlands last August during a mandatory quarantine. This year we live together in an apartment with one of our friends who also studies at Leiden University. 

Our bachelor programs are International Studies (IS) and International Relations and Organizations (IRO), respectively. Because our programs are two of the most popular English programs at Leiden University and on the surface level may seem similar, we want to break down some of the ways they are distinct. In fact, many students at Leiden will switch between the two programs after their first year due to the widespread confusion about what we study!

Max’s Experience With IS

I’m Max and I grew up near Chicago, Illinois. I’m a second year International Studies student at Leiden. I’m also involved in university politics at Leiden University where I manage social media and election campaigns for the only party on campus that represents non-Dutch students. 

First, let’s dive into what International Studies looks like at Leiden! The most important thing to know about IS is that it’s a humanities program, which means that we study international trends from a “people-centric” view.  In other words, we study culture, language, and history rather than institutions and organizations. International Studies students also study politics and economics but from a human level rather than using statistics or normative theories. Most students’ favorite part of IS is that starting in the second semester of the first year you pick a region and language from that region to focus on. The regions you can pick are North America, East Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Russia/Eurasia, South/South-East Asia, and Latin America. Some of the most popular languages are Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish, French, Swahili, and Korean. I chose Latin America and Portuguese because I heard amazing things about the lecturers and I’ve always been interested in Latino culture and the region’s politics. IS general courses place an emphasis on both self-study as well as small groups that meet every other week and language courses meet up to three times a week. From this description, you may have noticed that the International Studies program is extremely broad. We study a wide variety of topics and by the end students gain an interdisciplinary view of the world using their region of choice as a case study to apply their knowledge. As a result of the program being so broad, what comes after the bachelor is definitely up to each student. If you’re looking for a bachelor that’s going to prepare you for a career right out of university, this is definitely not the program for you. This means extra-curriculars (e.g. minors, honours programs, internships) are vital for applying to master’s programs and jobs after you graduate. Luckily, being at the political center of the Netherlands and the city of peace and justice, The Hague has plenty of opportunities to boost your CV. 

Macklin’s Experience With IRO

Hi! I’m Macklin, I’m a second year student studying IRO. Originally from Connecticut, I moved to The Hague in August of 2020. You have seen my video showing a day in the life as a student in the Netherlands. In this blog post, I hope to go further in depth on the specifics of IRO and how it is different from IS.

In contrast to IS, IRO has a social sciences approach and is under the Political Sciences institute at Leiden. Due to this difference, within IRO there is more of an emphasis on theory and a scientific understanding of international relations. Rather than semester-long classes, the academic year is divided into four blocks that are eight weeks long with an exam week at the end of each block. Students will instead have two to three classes each block allowing the possibility to become immersed in a few subjects at a time and gain a deep understanding of the content. IRO emphasizes self-study rather than going to workgroups. Most contact hours will be during lectures and grades for a class can range from a few papers to only considering the exam. There is a wide range of subjects covered throughout IRO, such as economics, world history, the EU, and comparative politics. Although there is no ability to choose a region or language for IRO, the program prepares students for many career opportunities through its more specific, political science approach. There are courses on statistics and quantitative theory, especially in the first year, which may deter some students. However, it allows a broader understanding of international relations and politics beyond the cultural factors, which are also touched upon in the program. Due to the lack of flexibility, it is important to consider if political science is the right program for you, if so, it provides plenty of opportunities for masters both in the humanities and the social sciences due to covering both topics. Similar to IS there are opportunities outside of the study to enhance the university experience, such as honours programs, student organizations, internships, and beyond. Being at the political heart of the Netherlands provides plenty of opportunities to maximize the experience and tailor it right for you!

More About Leiden University

Both IS and IRO have a semester built into their structure for an internship, minor, or study abroad program in the first semester of the third year and a bachelor thesis in the second semester. The admission system is similar for both programs requiring 3 AP scores of 4+ or 4 AP scores of 3+, alternatively, the international baccalaureate (IB) is also accepted. Additionally, IRO is a “numerus fixus” program which means students are selected based upon a motivation letter and short test of some of the content that will be taught in the program. Overall, both programs benefit from being located in The Hague which is a great city for international students. Great parks, modern classrooms, and people from all over the world make Leiden University campus The Hague a great place to study. Rotterdam and Amsterdam are accessible in under an hour by train and Leiden, our University’s main campus and a charming student city, is only 15 minutes away. 

Other Leiden University programs based in The Hague are Urban Studies, Security Studies, and LUC (a living-learning community liberal arts track). If you are worried about meeting the requirements for admission but want to study in The Hague, there are great programs with no AP requirements at The Hague School of Applied Science. There are so many benefits to studying in Holland from bike culture to the prevalence of English in everyday life! Reach out to either of us if you have any questions about our programs, experience in The Netherlands, or studying in Europe in general! We are both in the Beyond the States student Facebook group.

Wishing you the best of luck on your search,


Max Adams and Macklin Miezejeski 


ESCP: Management Program in Three Countries

Hey there! My name is Anya, and you may already know me from the podcast and video blog I’ve done with Beyond the States. I’m from Boulder, Colorado, and am currently in my third and final year at ESCP Business School in their BSc in Management program. This is a very unique program, which allows us to study in three different countries, moving each year to a different campus they have around Europe. The school itself was founded in Paris, France, and is one of the oldest business schools in Europe. It’s well known for its masters programs, which are for the most part taught in English, and within the past few years has started gaining recognition for their English-taught bachelor. It is a private school, meaning higher tuition than most universities you’ll find through Beyond the States. Since I hold dual American-Austrian citizenship through my parents, I pay the European tuition (around 13k Eur per year), whereas international students will likely pay more (Current tuition is around $24,650 per year. – Ed.). This is excluding housing and living costs, so factoring in everything, I pay about as much as I would for out-of-state university, and around $25k more than what I would pay for an in-state school. However, I finish in 3 years, and I get a double degree (French and German), but more on that later.

I attended my first year on their London campus, which is in the quaint area of West Hampstead, about a 30 minute underground ride to London center. Though ESCP doesn’t provide housing, in each city there’s always student housing options and of course the option to share an apartment with other students or with locals. I chose to live in a student accommodation my first year, so I could meet other students and ease into living on my own. This was a popular choice by ESCP students, which I knew from the beginning, so that made my choice easier. I lived with 7 other people whom I shared the kitchen and living area with, and then I had my own small bedroom and bathroom. Beside the housing, I was able to get to know my fellow classmates through induction day, Whatsapp groupchats, and student-proposed meet ups at the accommodation or within the city (this was all pre-pandemic).

In the bachelor program, the classes are pre-set and we don’t get to choose what we take until third year when we have some electives options. During the year in London, we had many introductory classes such as accounting, psychology, microeconomics, presentation and rhetoric skills, world history, mathematics, law, statistics, and computer skills (Microsoft Office). We also had a credit called ‘collective project’ in which we had the liberty to choose our group and a business project, as long as it followed certain guidelines. Some people created charity companies, others a ‘running dinner’ club, and my group decided to do a podcast called ‘Name It’, where we discussed a wide range of topics and had some of our classmates join special episodes.

My second year took place on the Paris campus, the headquarters and biggest campus of ESCP. I lived with two of my best friends in a shared apartment, which we rented through Airbnb. It was a two minute walk from campus, which made it easy for when we had in-person classes. Our courses in the second year were mostly building upon first year’s classes and

consisted of marketing, macroeconomics, taxation and e-commerce law, contract law, finance and accounting, Python coding, statistics 2, and intercultural skills. Since I was in Paris, my tax and e-commerce law classes were taught in French. In Madrid, different classes of theirs were in Spanish, and in Turin everything was English. To go to Paris or Madrid during our second year, we were required to have a certain level (B2) in French or Spanish. Like the first year, we had another credit of collective project, in which the school collaborated with the ChangeNOW Summit and each group researched sustainable initiatives and companies in certain industries (carbon capture, urban farming, fashion, audiovisual industry, etc).

Each year we also take language classes, usually corresponding to the campuses we attend (except English, no English classes are taught since there’s an English requirement for program entry). For me, that was French and German, since my third and current year is in Berlin, Germany. This is the year we are able to choose elective classes each semester, split into two parts – management elective and liberal arts elective. The management elective is split into ‘tracks’, with each track consisting of two classes. When you choose a track, you have to take both classes it offers, you can’t pick two different classes from two different tracks. The tracks offered were marketing, finance, management, and digitalization/entrepreneurship. The liberal arts elective is just a single class we can each choose, usually centered around humanities, such as negotiations, international relations, big data, conscious leadership, and others. This is also the year we complete a bachelor’s thesis on a topic of our choice. We chose our topic and thesis advisor in the fall, and the spring semester is the time where we really have to crack down and write it out. Based on a blockchain class I took in the digitalization elective, I decided to focus my thesis on how smart contracts (on the blockchain) would disrupt the real estate transaction process (now that’s a mouthful!). I learned that with such a general management degree, there is no right or wrong thesis, and the topics I heard people chose are so varied, from corporate volunteering, to sustainable finance, to NFTs, to luxury marketing, and so on.

Going back to what I said at the beginning, about a double degree – since ESCP has its primary campus and founding in France, but many students graduate from the Berlin campus, those students may be eligible to receive both degrees! The French one is called a Diplôme Visé BAC+3, while the German is the classic BSc in Management that is based on the American standards, however they both mean the same thing and are equivalent. I do want to point out though, to those considering going to ESCP, that in order to get the German BSc (the more recognizable title, but no difference in value!), you would have to a) graduate from the Berlin campus (i.e., it needs to be your third year campus), and b) meet the same requirements that a classic German high school student would meet – so start planning ahead! For me, these requirements looked similar to the following:

                • At least 16 “academic units” in the last 4 years of high school
                • 4 English units
                • 2 foreign language units
                • 3 social studies units
                • 2 or 3 math units and 2 or 3 science units (to make a total of 5)

Alongside those, there are also AP requirements – 4 AP exams with minimum grade of 3:

  • English
  • Foreign language
  • Math or science
  • Additional (can be humanities, comp sci, etc)

Of course, requirements change and I know that they are constantly revamping admissions and even the program outline and campus options, so be sure to check with the admissions officer about what the requirements look like. It’s been a wonderful ride at ESCP, and to hear more about student life and information I wasn’t able to include here, check out the blog and podcast linked above!


Central European University

soros You have likely heard of George Soros, the American billionaire, who was born in Hungary. While there are many newsworthy stories about him, one that I find fascinating pertains to his involvement with Central European University (CEU). Soros founded CEU in 1991 to develop future generations that could build and maintain open and democratic societies. The recent fall of communism, Soros’ financial backing, and master’s degree programs that were accredited by both Hungary and the US proved a successful combination for the school. It was considered Hungary’s most prestigious graduate school, training presidents, diplomats, and leaders in major institutions.

But Viktor Orban (the right wing Prime Minster of Hungary) had issues with Soros’ political views, and “has long viewed the school as a bastion of liberalism, presenting a threat to his vision of creating an “illiberal democracy,”. So in 2017, the Orban administration introduced new rules aimed to render CEU illegal in Hungary. CEU administrators and others, including seventeen Nobel Prize winners, 80,000 protesters, and numerous universities around the world, rallied against the government’s move, but to no avail. Since they couldn’t lawfully continue teaching their US accredited programs in Hungary, they moved the university to Austria in 2019.

My previous trips to Budapest and Vienna didn’t align with a visit to CEU, but after seeing signs of their growth and how they have flourished since their move – in particular with the addition of bachelor’s degrees – I knew I had to get over there!

CEU Austria I was told ahead of time that I would need to provide proof of my COVID vaccination or a negative quick test when I arrived for the visit.  Security in the lobby was checking this for all who entered. I was struck by how orderly and friendly this process was, which is not the case everywhere. My next impression was around the remarkable facilities. Even though they are building a new, large, American style campus in another part of Vienna, they really went above and beyond with this temporary facility.  Had I not been informed about the new campus, I would have assumed that this was a permanent facility. In fact, they invested millions in the remodel of the historic building that was previously a bank. The building holds classrooms with modern technology, computer labs, a large library, an auditorium, a cafe, and many student areas (kitchen areas, meeting spaces, study spaces), and faculty/staff offices.

There are 1300 students at CEU, almost all are international students (meaning not Austrian), and there is not one dominant culture – so English is widely spoken outside the classrooms as well. Can you imagine the perspectives brought to the classroom discussions and social events? The 370 faculty members provide an incredible faculty to student ratio and professors are quite accessible to students. In fact, their offices were intentionally integrated near classrooms and student spaces to facilitate their accessibility.

There are also 395 permanent staff members who provide a large array of resources and services. These include a Community Engagement Office, Student Life Office, Research Centers, a Press office, Counseling Services, a Medical Center, and a very robust Career Service department.

Another thing the school handles is first year housing, which is required. All first-year students live in shared student housing in a nearby district of Vienna with easy access to the metro and city center. The apartments are modern and furnished with a full kitchen, living room, bathroom and two bedrooms. In addition, the building includes a gym, laundry facilities, and a study lounge for meeting with other students or finding a quiet space to work.

As noted, the three bachelor’s degree programs are new. Two began in 2020, and one began this year. Each are incredibly multidisciplinary, with specializations chosen in the second year. Students in the Culture, Politics, and Society program can major in Cultural Heritage, Environmental Studies, Gender Studies, History, Human Rights, International Relations, Medieval Studies, Nationalism Studies, Philosophy, Political Science or Sociology/Social Anthropology.  The Philosophy, Politics and Economics majors are, of course, Philosophy, Politics, or Economics.  Lastly, the new Quantitative Social Science program includes two areas of focus, with choices of Sociology, Economics, Environmental Science, Political Science, and Data Science. Students can take electives from the other programs as well. The degree programs can be completed in three years for an Austrian degree, or 4 years to receive both the Austrian and American degree.  The third year includes the thesis and the fourth includes a capstone project. Students are encouraged to study abroad and partner universities include Sciences Po (Paris), Università Bocconi (Milan), London School of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden) and Bard College (US).

Admissions is competitive. After reviewing grades, recommendations, a motivation letter, essay, CV, andactivities, the top sixty students per program are invited to an interview. This interview includes a discussion with a panel about a chart or text that the student is given an hour before the meeting. The thirty candidates (per program) who rank highest in the interview are accepted.

The Master’s degree options warrant their own blog as the number and scope are vast and incredibly interesting!  I will certainly be putting this school on Sam’s radar when he starts exploring grad school!

A bachelor’s degree from  CEU offers a global perspective on some of the world’s most important issues and the skills to work on them. It aims to develop the ability to read and think critically, analyze, write well, and express yourself effectively – skills transferrable to a wide variety of careers.

CEU is hosting a virtual open day on November 19th, 2021. Learn more about the event here.


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.


Student Life: Taylor at HU University in Utrecht, Netherlands

Will the Creative Business Program Suit You as Great as it Suits Me?

              My name is Taylor Petersen, I am from Washington State and a first-year student at Hogeschool Utrecht University of Applied Sciences (HU). I am attending school here in Utrecht, Netherlands and today I am going to talk about my program, Creative Business. While looking into universities on my search to find the perfect school, the Creative Business program stood out because of the wide range of skills I would be learning in order to inch my way towards becoming the entrepreneurial woman I’ve always wanted to be.

As a Creative Business student, or as the students call it, ‘a CB student’, I have learned an enormous amount in my first year. Each half year is divided into two blocks. In the first block you have your first 3 classes, test on the  m, and then move on to the next 3 classes in the next block. I love this block system for many reasons, one being that I am able to focus better on fewer subjects before me and really delve into the topics without having my brain dragged in many different directions. Thus far in my first year, I have learned the proper marketing fundamentals, I have accumulated skills to cultivate my creativity, learned how to correctly interview and gather information from sources and more. This program has greatly benefitted me and my understanding of what it takes to be a part of a business. Each of my classes have been mostly online due to Covid-19, but the teachers have adapted well, and still manage to engage the students. At the beginning of the year, when my classes were still in person, we did many engaging activities and learned by doing. This is the goal of universities of applied sciences. By applying what you’ve learned you are able to truly understand it, and this is another aspect that was very enticing to me about goi ng to this university.

Throughout my program, there are many levels of personalization that go into your learning process. During the first year, classes are prechosen in order to set a basic level of knowledge for students, but as you enter you second, third and fourth years, you are able to choose things that will benefit your personal future. In the second year, there are 8 main classes that everyone must take, but the other 4 are electives that each student can chose based on their interests. During year 3, it is a totally global focus. Half the year is spent at an internship of your choice (you just have to approve it with the school), and the other half is spent at a school exchange

with the only requirement being that it must be in a non-native language environment. Year 4 is all about the final project and developing your own project of choice. This entire program has so many benefits that contribute to student success and personal development. I have loved my experience thus far.

For the social aspect of HU, there are student and teacher advisors that are there for student suppo rt, whether it be with schoolwork, social life, or just personal issues and advise. There are many opportunities that the school promotes for people to make friends and have a good time out of school as well. Because of this, I was able to make many of my friends.

Overall, the Creative Business program as well as Hogeschool Utrecht in general, is a great place to be. I love so many aspects about it and would recommend anyone who is st ill figuring out what they want to do or is very certain about the path they want and knows this program could help get them there.


The Myth of “You Get What You Pay For”

“You get what you pay for” is a response I sometimes see posted on Facebook about the college costs in Europe. Why people feel compelled to respond to something that they know nothing about-and state it as fact-is beyond me. It’s also simply not true-even about higher education in the US!  Does a student paying out of state tuition receive a substantially superior education than the student paying in state tuition? No! It’s similar in Europe, one of the reasons tuition is so reasonable is because it is subsidized by the country.

One of the schools I visited a few months ago, Wiener Neustadt University of Applied Science, provides an excellent example of how “you get what you pay for” is false.  Students pay just 726 euros (about $818) per year for their English-taught Business Consultancy bachelor’s program.  That’s just incredible to me.  They will pay less for their entire three years of tuition than many overnight summer camps costs here in the US!

Let’s look at whether or not their experience is sub par due to their tuition. The first three semesters of the program focus on the fundamentals of business, including courses in accounting, m

anagement, finance, economics, marketing, and law. Students can also chose to do a semester abroad during their third semester.  Remember, students continue to pay the Wiener Neudstat tuition during that semester, even though the tuition at the study abroad school is almost guaranteed to be much, much higher!

Consultancy-specific courses begin in the fourth semester, along with those related to the students chosen specialty. The specialization options are; International Accounting and Finance, Marketing and Sales or Management and Leadership. The programs ends with a mandatory internship in the sixth semester.  The practical knowledge is not confined to the internship. Almost half of the classes are taught by industry experts and case studies are incorporated throughout the curriculum.

I met with three American students who are studying in this program; Darshaun from San Diego, Jack from Boise, and Vanessa from Dallas.  They all stated how much they appreciate the international student body in the program.  In fact, 70% of the students are international students from all around the world.  In addition to appreciating the multicultural perspective they gain, they also noted that this large percentage means that the program addresses the needs of international students (academic and non-academic). The students noted that the professors are very accessible to students and get to know them.  Most of the classes are in groups of 20 and include discussion, group work and such.  There is only one lecture course each semester that has all 80 students.

Jack and Vanessa both live in the school’s student residences. These cost 330 euros per month for a single bedroom and a bathroom and kitchen that is shared with one other student.  They both enjoy the international feel in the student residences and community it provides.  Vanessa’s dorm arranges an international Sunday dinner each week in which students from different countries host and serve a meal. Dashaun lives with friends in Vienna and commutes to school.  Her commute is just 30 minutes each way by train and her student train pass is just 150 euros per semester!  Though there are a few places in town that students hang out it, they often head to Vienna social opportunities as well.

The only drawback I saw to this program was the location. The town is small and the campus is a good 10 minute drive from the city center.  However, there is a new campus opening this October in the heart of the city center.  The design blends old and new, with an old church functioning as the library and modern buildings serving as classrooms and IT labs.  The facility is walking distance to the train station and there is a free bus that connects the old campus to the new. Further, by living in Wiener Neustadt, students are able to access nearby Vienna easily, while paying much lower  living costs.

Because they are funded by the state, the school has to prove that they are a good investment.  How do they prove this?  With educational outcomes pertaining to employment.  How do they achieve those outcomes?  With a strong curriculum, practical experience, and an impressive and international student body. It’s not surprising that the school has the highest employment rate of all the Austrian universities of applied sciences! In fact, they find that companies seek the out to recruit students for internships. So I guess the statement “you get what you pay for” does apply here.  The state gets what they pay for so the students don’t have to foot the bill.