How to Approach Location

So I mentioned before about how it can really limit your options if you prematurely narrow your search to just a certain country. And it can limit it because, you know, let’s say you’re like, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to spend time in France,” but you’re not interested in business.

So I mentioned before about how it can really limit your options if you prematurely narrow your search to just a certain country. And it can limit it because, you know, let's say you're like, “Oh, I've always wanted to spend time in France,” but you're not interested in business. The majority of the bachelor’s programs in France are business related. So you're going to be really limited in terms of other programs there, if you're just confined to France. 

But you might be thinking, you know, “But Jenn, you don't understand. I've always wanted to spend time living in France, or I always wanted to spend time living in Portugal.” But here's the cool thing, this can still happen, even if you don't end up going to the university in one of those countries. So part of this is because many programs and many schools have a semester dedicated to study abroad and/or internships. And so, the universities will have bilateral agreements with different universities. And often, these are mandatory, a mandatory semester abroad or a mandatory international internship. So that opens up some options right there. 

Even if your school doesn't have this though, there's this thing called the Erasmus program, which is one of the coolest things about studying in Europe. So what this is, is the EU sees the benefit of young people having international exposure. So they put money into programs that encourage this mobility, and encourage this exposure. So here's the awesome part, all students of European universities, even international students, can participate in these study abroad programs. So if you're a student at a European university that participates in Erasmus, and almost all of them do, you have the opportunity to spend up to 12 months in another country. So this can be done during a semester, or you're abroad at a different country. All in Europe — I mean, there are many in Europe, and then there are some outside of Europe as well. But you could also spend time doing an internship in another country, or you can combine the two. 

So you can use the 12 months at each level of study, which means you have the 12 months to use during your bachelor's degree, and the 12 months to use during your master's degree program. And there are logistical benefits to doing this. There's, you know, your credits are going to transfer easily. They will also with the bilateral agreements, by the way. And there are structures in place to help students with housing and student life. And all of the internships have a written agreement with a clear focus and a specific project to make sure that you're not just like shopping coffee. That you're going to get exposure to a career, and a field, and an industry. 

So there are a couple of things I want to point out here. First, remember that most programs are just three years long. So even just spending one semester in another country, that's still a significant chunk of your overall time as a student. So the other thing is that this opens up opportunities for programs that might have been out of your tuition budget before. And that's because study abroad isn't treated like big business like it is here. I mean, in the US, it can be really cost prohibitive to study abroad, as there are all sorts of fees. 

But here's the thing, when you are studying abroad with a different program — so let me back up. If you are studying in Europe at a school that has tuition of $3,000, you're going to continue to just pay that $3,000 as a study abroad student, even if the school that you're sort of this “visiting student” for, even if that tuition is $15,000, you're just going to pay the $3,000, which is pretty cool. Also, their living stipends, you can even apply for with the Erasmus program. Not so much with bilateral agreements. 

So you might be wondering, well, how is this going to help me study in France, if I don't want to study business, and there are only business programs, or mostly business programs in France? But the thing is, there are a lot of universities that don't offer full bachelor's degree programs in English, but that do offer courses that are taught in English. And they primarily do this for study abroad students. So that's why you're going to have these options at universities that don't have full English degree programs, or that do have English degree programs, just not in your areas of study. They will have the courses that you could take there for your semester abroad. 

So a lot of really cool opportunities. I hope that this helps you realize that you have the opportunity to spend time studying in another country, even if that's not where you end up becoming a full time student of, and that you don't need to confine your search to one location before we started exploring locations this week. 

There is a podcast episode I did a while back with the President of the Erasmus Student Network who talks about a lot of cool aspects about the program. So I will put the link here so you can check it out.