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What is the Social Life Like for Students in Europe?

Jennifer Viemont
Founder & Chief College Advisor
October 29, 2022

In this episode, Jenn looks are two questions: What is the social life like for international students? And what is a University of Applied Sciences? Universities of Applied Sciences focus on getting students ready to enter the workforce as opposed to the purely theoretical approach one would find at a research university. In some countries, UASs are viewed as inferior, while in the Netherlands, they’re viewed as simply different. In this episode, Jenn interviews Hannah Remo. Originally from a small town in New Jersey, Hannah is currently studying European Studies at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and will graduate with zero student debt. It is less expensive for Hannah to attend college in the Netherlands than it would have been to study in-state!

Full transcription of the podcast.

Intro: You're listening to the Beyond the States podcast with Jenn Viemont. Did you know that you can go to Europe and get your entire degree taught in English for less than one year of tuition at many American schools? Jenn will take you on a deep dive into the many benefits and options around English-taught higher education in Europe, helping to make the possibility less foreign.

Jenn Viemont: Thanks for joining me today, we have a couple of topics to cover and that our guests who will be joining us shortly will talk about. She's an American student who is studying in Europe and has some really great information for us. So the first thing we're going to talk about is this whole concept of universities of Applied Sciences. I told you guys before that this is a type of university that's in many countries in Europe, there's really no equivalent to it in the United States. research universities in Europe focus on preparing students for Master's degree programs, universities of applied science programs focus on preparing students for employment. So before I get too deep into this, I want to note that what I'm going to tell you about is specific to the universities of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. In some other countries, they are seen as less prestigious, maybe then the research universities, but in the Netherlands is really not seen as subpar. It's just different. So I've known this, I've known that it's sort of a different, not superior or inferior. But it was really hard for me to wrap my brain around it until recently, sort of like it took me a while to really digest and understand that selectivity in the admissions process has nothing to do with educational quality or reputation. So let's look at this a little bit more. There are certain fields of study that requires students to learn how to do something, things like graphic design, certain types of engineering, nursing, or physiotherapy, these are programs that you're going to find at a university of applied science, then there are topics like philosophy, which is almost completely theoretical, so you're not gonna find that at a university of applied science, then there are programs that have some overlap. International Business is a big one. This offered at both research universities, and also at universities of Applied Sciences. European Studies is another one, there are several where there's some overlap. So what you want to consider is what type of focus you're interested in? Are you interested in a more theoretical focus? Or are you more interested in applied knowledge, and we're going to talk to Hannah in just a little bit, she's going to tell us about what the applied knowledge approach really looks like. So in the Netherlands, there's some logistics around this. For bachelor's degree programs. The research universities require a certain number of AP courses scores of three or higher. Under three years, universities of applied science don't have the AP requirement. And it's four years, there are some universities of applied sciences that are three years and those do require the AP scores of three or higher. So universities of Applied Sciences do offer master's degree programs. But if you want to do a master's degree program at a research university in the Netherlands, you need to complete certain courses beforehand after you graduate with your bachelor's from one, but it's a full bachelor's degree, so it's fine for Masters in the United States. So here's what I learned that so cool about these programs, when I met with an administrator at the hay University of Applied Science during my recent trip. So not only do these programs focus on preparing students for the workforce, but the programs are developed with that in mind, the school creates these programs based on what businesses are telling them they need. So before starting a program, the school does feasibility studies. And one of the things that they look at is whether graduates will be able to get jobs afterwards. And not just jobs in the Netherlands. They look at this globally. And then when they're developing the program, they focus on what the students will need to use when they're actually working in the field. What do they need to, to learn to use in the field. And then they also have reciprocal relationships with businesses, which leads to things that benefit students like case studies, and internships and guest lectures. They also have an obligatory internship requirement and study abroad are strongly encouraged and mandatory in some programs. So this preparedness for the future is really something that's needed globally, certainly needed here in the US. And I actually learned that the Chinese government is in the process of converting some of their existing research universities into universities of applied science to meet global needs. So maybe it's something we'll see here in the future. I can tell you that after this visit I would feel absolutely comfortable sending my own kids to a University of Applied Science in the Netherlands. As you know from previous episodes Sam has already set has his heart set on Leiden University. But I can totally see my daughter attending a university of applied science in the future. So the other thing we're going to talk about today involves the social aspects of student life in Europe. When you think about social life of a typical American college student, what do you think of lots people think of parties of the Greek system of football games of dorm life of drinking, I can tell you that student life in Europe is much different, but I believe it meets the same social needs and other ways. So I touched on this in the cliffnotes episode. But if we look at all of those different aspects of typical American Student Life, I think they all boil down to meeting two needs fun and connection with many providing both. If you're at a football game, and you enjoy football, you're having fun, and connecting by cheering on the same team as other people. We hope that dorm life leads to connection simply by proximity and frequency of interactions. And people join the Greek system to connect and have fun. So what if you go to a school like in Europe, where the structures don't exist, the students who have spoken within Europe have all assured me the opportunities for parties and other sorts of fun exist. Further, given that much of their social life is conducted off campus, there's not an expectation to conform to just certain types of fun. But really, that's what I've learned about the connections you make to others. That's really blowing my mind. 

Jenn Viemont: So instead of me just telling you about it, we're going to talk to Hannah, CNN Money did an article about studying in Europe a while back, and the article gained a tremendous amount of interest. And one of the students profiled was Hannah, Hannah is from New Jersey. And she's in her final year of studies at The Hague University of Applied Science, and is going to be able to shed some light on her experience as a student, both academically and socially. Hannah, thanks so much for joining us.

Hannah Remo: Yeah. Thank you for having me. I'm excited to talk to you about this. Yeah.

Jenn Viemont: Why don't we just start by you telling us a little bit about why you decided to pursue college in Europe?

Hannah Remo: Yeah, I think it's an interesting question, because I don't think that there was one thing that happened that said, Okay, I'm gonna go to college in Europe, it was just a couple of different things that I think influenced my decision. You know, for example, I grew up spending my summers in Italy, because my grandfather's Italian. So I think from a young age, already, I was aware that there was more going on in the world than in my small town in New Jersey. And, you know, in high school, I didn't have an awful experience or anything. I played sports, I had friends, but I just didn't completely enjoy it. I just felt very unfulfilled in high school. And people always say that high school is supposed to be the best years of your life.

Jenn Viemont: I hope not, I hope not.

Hannah Remo: It definitely wasn't. So I remember my after my sock, during my sophomore year, I started exploring other options, you know, just how I could get as far as possible from New Jersey. So I found a program through projects abroad and spent the summer of Ghana, volunteering in an orphanage in a school and that was when I was 16 years old. So already I was in the set this international setting in Ghana, making connections with international people that was just so different from the homogeneous setting that I grew up in. So then when I went back to the US, I knew I didn't want to complete the full four years of high school. So I actually ended up graduating a year early and spent what should have been my senior year living and taking some courses in the Italian city of puja. And then while I was there, I initially viewed it as being a gap year and that I would start applying to American universities while I was in Italy. But as I learn more about the university process in Europe, through European friends, and just more about it in general, I thought I'd be crazy if I applied to universities in the US. So then I just started exploring.

Jenn Viemont: That's so cool. So we're going to talk a lot about your social life and a bit. But um, let's start with some of the academic information. I know you're at The Hague university of applied science. And can you tell me a little bit about what you're studying and some of the academic differences you see?

Hannah Remo: Yeah, definitely. So me personally, I'm doing public sector European Studies at the University, like you said, of applied sciences, but it's basically European politics along with French and Italian. But in general, universities of Applied Sciences differ from theoretical universities in a couple different ways. The whole idea behind applied science universities is that students learn through doing rather than through theory, so everything that I've learned in the classroom I can apply in the field and have working knowledge of

Jenn Viemont: so this is this is a really hard concept if I as I mentioned to our listeners before he joined us, this is something that I had a really hard time wrapping my brain around you know, I understood Stan, yes, learning through doing but can you tell us a little bit about how this looks for you and how you've experienced it?

Hannah Remo: Yeah, definitely. So applied science universities, for the most part, in general will just have smaller class sizes, which is good, in my opinion, because you have, you get to know the faculty on a different more personal level, I took a course I think this is a good example of what an Applied Science University is. So I took a course decision making in the European Union, and the course was entirely project based. So we had to simulate the processes of the processes of the European Parliament. The year that I took the course, we focused on the European Commission's proposal for a revision of the Tobacco Products Directive that was actually being discussed in the European Union at the time. But what really made the class interesting to me was that the whole class was divided into different roles. So some people assume the roles of political parties, while other groups were divided into various interest groups, who could then act as lobbyists and tried to bribe the political parties to vote in favor of interest groups. So although it was on a lower level, we were trying to bribe the European Parliament with beers after class, you know, just anything to get a vote. But so in my situation, I had to represent the tobacco Manufacturers Association, which isn't the which wasn't the easiest of interest groups to be assigned. As you know, we had to argue in favor of tobacco. But it was great, because we were forced to really become familiar with the European documents and the whole process firsthand, you know, we had to go through this document, pick out different articles that were applicable to our arguments or not, and argue that, and then also part of the class, it was required that we take a field trip to Brussels for the day to see the European Union in action, as some questions. And yeah, I think that's a good example of where an Applied Science University would take this idea. And whereas a theoretical university would probably require you to write a paper on the whole process.

Jenn Viemont: So there's so many cool things you just said, there, I don't even know where to start. The first is that I really feel like a key component of critical thought is being able to argue a position that you disagree with, so that you had to do that I think is just, you know, shows that that critical thinking skill, emphasis that we're lacking here in the US. And the other thing is how cool to live in an area where you can take like a field trip to Brussels, you know, I mean, things are so accessible, not only on sort of a fun level, but also on a level that can really supplement your learning experience. It's just, it's just really cool. But I would imagine it also requires a certain level of independence.

Hannah Remo: But the university does provide different resources to help you succeed, you just have to seek them out yourself. So we have a language buddy program, where if I'm studying French, I can sign up and have a native French student helped me with French and helped me with the areas I'm confused with. But if you don't work, or if you fall behind, it's your responsibility. And you know, looking back on my studies, I'm so happy that I've chosen I chose this approach to university, because it has made me more responsible and independent, in addition to be being required to think on my feet and not have every single instruction laid out for me. But I'd be lying if I said there weren't times I didn't enjoy this independence, sometimes it isn't nice to be spoon fed a bit. But um, they treat us like adults. So we're forced to act like adults or fail out of university.

Jenn Viemont: Totally. And I think that's part of the, you know, I talk a lot to our listeners and through our blogs, about the employability problem for us graduates and how it's over 50% I can't think of how many it is, but over 50% Are, are underemployed after graduation, which means that jobs don't require a bachelor's degree after all that money. But and what employers in the US are saying are that students are lacking the soft skills. And part of this is being able to -- a soft skill, is you know, being able to get a task and complete it without these, you know, comprehensive directions and handholding. Part of it is about this independence. And part of it it's about being able to work with groups of people who have different perspectives and backgrounds. And I think your classroom experience provides that as well. Would you agree?

Hannah Remo: Oh completely. I think that I've done just as much learning from my professors and lecturers, as I have with my fellow students. I think that is probably one of my favorite aspects about studying in this international setting. And another thing about applied science universities is that they require a lot of group work and they force you to work with these people that you probably disagree with, you know, sometimes you do sometimes As you don't, you're forced to interact with these people. But the international emphasis in every classroom is just incredible. You know, for example, I'm taking a class and I'm my teacher is from Germany, and the entire classroom is from all different corners of the world. I sit there and listen and take notes on the lecture, you know, through my American education lens, while maybe I'm sitting next to someone who's from Slovakia, Indonesia, you know, all over the world. And they're also thinking about the same lecture through their lens of their Indonesian education through their Slovakian education. So when we actually start having discussions and lectures, I'll hear things come from fellow students mouths, and I'm like, Oh, my gosh, wow, that, you know, opened my mind completely. And now I'm thinking about this a different way. But I think that diversity in general just contributes so much to the overall learning experience. And then I think the university handles this well, because they encourage us to be international to do more international, more culturally driven things that expand our minds and make us more aware. So you know, even for me, I had a class will in your first and second year, the University and my program requires you to receive living and working in your credits. And so this is a way that they kind of encouraged this international mindset is globalized mindset. So for example, students can either volunteer in The Hague for various organizations, or do a volunteer trip abroad somewhere in the summer, or just work, you know, there's a bunch of different projects, and you really have the option to tailor it to whatever you want it to be. But for me, in my second year, I ended up planning a trip to Krakow with two other friends in my class before days. And you know, beforehand, we needed to send a proposal that included our itinerary and exactly what we hoped to get out of our trip and how that trip would tie into our studies, we had to prove all that before it was approved. But um, you know, I got the chance to go to Auschwitz and Birkenau. And obviously, in school, we have learned about the Holocaust. And you know, I've learned about World War Two. But to be able to go to Auschwitz and see it firsthand is it was such a game changer. For me, it's almost surreal. And then, you know, at the end of that day, I thought, Wow, I'm receiving school credits for this, this has changed my life. And University is encouraging this international life with these international students. And just this outside the classroom learning was so important, I loved it.

Jenn Viemont: You know, when you were talking about the lens, that you were hearing the lecture from the lens of the American perspective versus the other student, what it really seems like is it by with this experience, you're all gaining the lens of a global citizen, which I think is just so important. And when I met with I was, I was recently in The Hague, I met with an administrator from your school. And he told me something really interesting, which is that they have this acronym, when that guides everything within the school, it guides, the programs that they choose, it guides, the curriculum, it guides all the resources, and The when is the W is world citizen, they want to give their students the knowledge that would allow them to work anywhere in the world, that it doesn't just apply to working in the Netherlands or the US anywhere. The AI is internationalization. And the end is networking. We talked about how I was asking him about resources for international students. And he said yes, you know, they do have an international students office and everything else. But because internationalization guides everything they do, it's almost like this. You know, they have a lot of debate about should we even have an international students office, if everything we do has the foundation of internationalization? It was really it was a really interesting conversation, but really, from hearing what you're talking about, with your studies, it's this, this win acronym, they don't it's not just a talk, you know, it sounds like it really is in play, which is pretty cool. So what would you say is the biggest difference around your your kind of student life or your social life?

Hannah Remo: Well, I think in Holland, and again, probably more broadly, in Europe, I think going to university and being a student doesn't completely define your life. So for example, like my university sits a little bit outside the city center. I live in the city center, and the university campus is comprised of just different buildings that we take classes in, but no one's living there. It's just where we go for our classes to study library, all those things. So my university campus is not a traditional campus in the American sense where students are living in the dorms together, sharing rooms, heading to the dining hall going to fraternity so already parties that night. But I do feel like whatever kind of experience you're looking for, you can find, you just have to look for it a bit. You know, we still have intramural teams, sports teams that students can join. And we have a few student pubs near the university building, where students will go after class. And you know, and sometimes even the professors will join for years after class, which is really nice and everything. But yeah, so I think mainly, you know, even having friends who are studying in the US, I see how much of their university consumes their lives, their their lives are their universities, whether you know, they're living on campus, doing these things going out and supporting their, their football team going to the games and the tailgates and things and here, you can have a life completely outside being a student, I feel like while I'm living in The Hague, while I'm here, getting my degree, I don't feel like my life revolves around the fact that I'm a student here at The Hague University. You know, for example, I don't even own a piece of clothing that says the hate University of Applied Sciences on it.

Jenn Viemont: I don't you can't buy them. I look. It's very rare that you have them.

Hannah Remo: Yeah. So I think that is also the best way to maybe describe how being a student in Europe is different than being a student. In the US, you have your life, and you'd go to class and you get your degree, but your life is not being a student.

Jenn Viemont: It seems like you know, so I'm here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and we have UNC Chapel Hill, and we have Duke University, which is, you know, 10 miles away. And you will not find Duke students and UNC Chapel Hill students at the same parties, you won't find them at the same bars, you won't find them at the same, you know, anything. So it seems like students you're more like a student who lives in The Hague. I mean, there's still student life. It's just not it's, it's the Hague student life, as opposed to the hate University of Applied Science, student life, or Leiden student life. It's it's all the students of the city, who kind of come together and have a student life together. Would you agree?

Hannah Remo: I completely agree with that. When you go out and you go to pubs, you go to bars, you meet students, and they're from different universities. Even right now. I'm living with a student who studies at the Royal Art Academy of The Hague. And I love it because then she invites her friends over I get to know more art students and you just start to intermingle. And it is a city of students and young professionals not like you said the Hague university students.

Jenn Viemont: So tell me a little bit about what a student in The Hague does for fun, you know, again, it's not because you're not all confined on campus. Like you said, it's not going to be the fraternity party. It's not going to be so University focus and what do you do in The Hague for fun?

Hannah Remo: So The Hague gets a bad reputation, in terms of going out and things because Amsterdam is so close. And it's so globally known as being a Party City. But the Hague is not boring, that cannot be more wrong. You just truly have to become acquainted with the city, nowhere to go. And as soon as you figure out what you're looking for, you know, whether it be a crazy night out dancing club, until the sun comes up, or you know, going to a pub with some friends and listening to live music, maybe playing pool, you know, whatever it is, you can find it. And since the Hague is right next to the beach, I think the summer is one of the most magical times to be in The Hague, there are hundreds of beach bars. And you know, from the city centre, it's about 20 minute bike ride, which is really nice to do with your friends, you'd like down to the beach, as the sun goes down, you know, maybe drinking some beers on your bikes, you know, he's just enjoying life. And there's hundreds of beach bars along the beach, and they each have their own kind of vibe. They each have their own type of music. And so during the summer, people who live in Amsterdam actually come to the hate to go out. And that's something I don't think people talk about enough.

Jenn Viemont: I can see that I prefer the hate to Amsterdam. It just had a very livable local feel.

Hannah Remo: I think definitely and for for sure me moving to Holland, 18 years old, a little unsure of what I was getting myself into. I actually applied to universities in Amsterdam, but then when I came to The Hague, I realized I would much prefer to live in The Hague. So I always say that the Hague is, you know, the perfect Dutch beginner city, you go out to the grocery store and you still run into classmates or familiar faces. The city is just very cozy in a way. But the fact that Amsterdam is so close is great, because you know, when there are nights outside, if there's a concert or a specific DJ, you know that maybe we want to see it's 40 minutes by train and on the weekends, trains run all night. Again, the same could be said about Rotterdam, which is 20 minutes away by a train the Hague is right in the middle of both. And so I think those are just really good options. If you want to go to Amsterdam you can but To live there, no, thank you.

Jenn Viemont: So let's talk about drinking. You know, of course, you know, drinking in college has been around since before my day for sure. And sometimes, but and in the US, we have these big issues right now with binge drinking and binge drinking, that's, you know, leading to death, not just not just consequences regarding grades or whatever else. I mean, it's becoming a big issue. Tell me about the drinking culture, in the head or for in your life?

Hannah Remo: Well, yeah, so I mean, I think, obviously, I think university college students everywhere are going to want to get drunk no matter where you are on this earth. But I think that in Europe, definitely there is a very different approach to drinking in general, you know, the drinking age is 18. And for example, used to be 16, in the Netherlands, for like urine wine. So I think the whole approach is just different. It's not necessarily viewed as something special, but more of just a way to socialize, you know, you go out on the weekends, have fun, but you're not necessarily drinking to get drunk. But I remember when I first came to The Hague, we had an introduction week, and that's basically we're older students will show you around the city, you know, show you around, the university can ask questions, you know, just get a better feel of what you're getting yourself into. But they ended our introduction week with a moral and immoral is typical, that is a Dutch word. But it's a Dutch cocktail hour where you know, you have some finger foods and beer and wine available. But I remember sitting there when I was 18 years old, and just being shocked that the university was giving us free alcohol. And we were there with the faculty and the professors. And we weren't getting to know them before classes started over a beer. And to me, that was super cool. And it was the university looking at us as adults, and just expecting us to act responsibly. You know, they looked at us as adults since the first day, trusting us to drink. And it was that last day of introduction, where I thought, wow, this is this is going to be a completely different university experience already, I could just tell from that approach. And I think that first day of us drinking casually, with our professors kind of set the groundwork for the type of student teacher relationship you'll have I've had with my professors throughout my whole study, very relaxed and casual, which I'm very happy about.

Jenn Viemont: Yeah, it's what I think is really cool about that also, is it's hard to imagine somebody thinking like, Oh, my professors are here, this would be a good time to get drunk. I mean, you know, like your professors are here, you need to if you're going to have a drink, you need to make sure that that, you know, you're moderating things. And so you're kind of shown from day one, hey, listen, you can drink and it's not always about drinking to get hammered. You know, that's not always a goal, it might just be because you're having a barbecue and you have a drink, or, you know, going out to dinner. And, and certainly, you know, as I say often on these things, you know, certainly college kids do have times where they drink too much that happens around the globe. But that that's not always the reason, or always the end result, I think, is a great lesson to learn so young. So another thing that's different about being a student in Europe is is of course, a student housing, you know, because as I tell our, our listeners, it's not owned by the universities. And so again, like your student life, the student residences are often made up of students from different universities all within the town. So um, I know you went a little bit of a different route from the regular student residences with a student house. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Hannah Remo: Yeah. So in The Hague, and I think in the whole country, they have this housing organization called duo. And so basically what you do, especially if you're a first year international student, you're required to live through duo because you're not already in the Netherlands to sort your own housing. So I chose this option, I knew that I didn't want to live in a dorm. And they do they have to dorms type style buildings near the university where, you know, it's like 30 floors, already floors, hundreds and hundreds of students living. And I knew I didn't want that I knew I wanted something different than the American experience. So I actively looked for that. And I came across the option to live in a house with 15 other students or 15 students in total. And the chose the house randomly, and I didn't know much about it until I came to the hate. And then I actually saw that, you know, I was living in this massive house, two minutes away from the CO tomorrow, which is where you know, all ours and where you'll find a lot of students on the weekends and things. And so we were at 10 minutes biking to the university two minutes from a lot of what was going on. But yeah, I think it was just such a great option for me. And also, I thought it was interesting when I first started looking for housing, that there was no options to share a room with anyone. 

Jenn Viemont: Isn't that awesome?

Hannah Remo: It's so great. I didn't even know this. Like, I didn't know that this is not a thing in Europe until I actually started looking for student housing. I was so pleasantly surprised that and it's funny too, because even a lot of non American students who I'm friends with, they'll always ask me two things. They'll say, Do Americans really drink out of red cups? Do Americans really share a room with someone when they're at university? And to them that just and I'm like, yes, yes. And yes. And for them that just blows their mind. They're like, Well, what about your privacy? What do you do if you have someone visiting? You know, how do you live sharing your space like that?

Jenn Viemont: And I feel like I don't know, I've never had to know, it's, a lot of these, I'll tell you, a lot even have a private bathroom, which is unheard of. And what's crazy to me is here, you you know, in the Netherlands, and in most of Europe, you have a single bedroom, often a bathroom that's either your own or just shared with a few people. And it's tremendously less expensive than housing in the US. I see in The Hague, it looks like 500 is about 500 euros a month is about the going rate in the student residences. And I've heard that that's actually thought of as quite high. 

Hannah Remo: Like if you say, I've never actually paid 500 euros, but I wish I told my parents this before I started studying here. No, I've, you know, me personally, I think in the last couple of years me living here, I've only the highest rent I've ever paid was 430. And you know, and, and right now, I'm very happy with my living situation, because so the first year I lived with student housing did this. But since it was a house with 15 people, each floor had their own kitchen, shared facilities, two bathrooms, and a kitchen for five people, which is really good as well. But the on my Florida, I've lived with a couple people, and we ended up getting a house and you know, later on we've, we've, we lived in student housing our first year, but then once you're here, you can find even more affordable options, just searching on your own 20, Facebook, you know, housing groups and things like that. And so it's I think there's a lot of options.

Jenn Viemont: So your housing situation, which is not what we think of as traditional in the US, would you say that, that made it more difficult to make friends or you know, I think some people think, oh, you know, you go to college, and you have your roommate, and so you know, becomes easy to socialize, did you find that that was a hindrance?

Hannah Remo: Well, I mean, I had that exact thing I know that exactly happened to me, when I first moved to Holland, I initially had these American University preconceived notions in my own head that, you know, I was gonna move in half my own room, and a really nice girl was going to move in across the street across the hall from me, and that we weren't going to share clothes. You know, and I thought, This is what I was going to have. But actually, in reality, on my floor, I had four boys move in. And one of them is Chinese and other half German, half British, a Romanian guy. And then, oddly enough, an American guy. But so when we first moved in, I kept trying to, you know, make friends in my program, I wasn't convinced that these guys were going to be my best friends. But the joke is on me, they to this stage so much as friends. And you know, after a year one, we actually the five of us moved out, and we found a non student accommodation option. And we were still living in the center of the city out another 15 minutes biking to school. And you know, it's actually funny, because a couple of weeks ago, we actually all got a tattoo together to you know, commemorate our time in The Hague. And so we got a tattoo of the store of historic which is the symbol of the Hague, along with the numbers 257, which was the address of our of our student accommodation, your one.

Jenn Viemont: So tell me, you know, I was just in in the Netherlands over Thanksgiving. And of course, it's not celebrated in the Netherlands and I was thinking about how when Sam, my son is over there, that means he won't be coming home for Thanksgiving. Fortunately, I'm not a huge Thanksgiving fan. So that one's that one's not as big a deal for me, but, but how is that how often you get home is hard being away from family?

Hannah Remo: Yeah, definitely. I think that you know, choosing to study in Europe isn't the easiest option, especially for me, I've an older sister, younger brother, and I'm extremely close with my family. And I think you know, if things like FaceTime and Skype didn't exist, nowadays, things would be a lot more difficult. So you know, for me, I go home twice a year. I go home for two weeks over Christmas and then I go home For a couple of weeks in the summer, because our breaks are not as long as the American University breaks are, but the only thing that I can say is like, you know, there's no other way to say it sucks. I miss my family a lot when I'm here. And that's it. But on the other hand, being in this international setting, surrounded by and you know, my best friends being international students themselves, I think there's something really comforting and special about those types of bonds that we've made. Because even talking about Thanksgiving, last couple of years, I've one American friend, and that's my only American friend I've had the whole time. But you know, each year, we make it a point to celebrate Thanksgiving, and we invite all of our international friends to come take part in our American holiday, you know, everyone brings something in, it was funny, I remember two years ago or something, we're having Thanksgiving, and we looked around, like there are more Bulgarians here than there are Americans. And we are outnumbered by every nationality. But I just think there's something super special about these international student friendships, because there are a lot of people aren't going home to their families for a long weekend or doing these things. So you really are forced to become this like tight knit group. And like a family. Of course, you know, everyone makes friends at university. But I think being in the setting so far from home, in this third country, it's, it's a different kind of friendship, there's something special about it. And I don't necessarily know how to describe it, but it's true.

Jenn Viemont: It makes it and it's something I hear a lot from students doing this, it's such a significant shared experience you have, you know, it's just, it's not just a shared experience of being a college student. Living in a foreign land is a really significant life experience, and that you have that shared experience is so meaningful. But I think the other thing is that not only do you have the shared experience, but given that you all sought out this international experience and living outside of your country shows that you share a set of values that not everybody does as well, and kind of back to that global citizen piece, you know, you you have these values associated with global citizenship, which are really meaningful values as well, I think which can lead to this deeper connection.

Hannah Remo: Yeah. And I think that, you know, just being it, like you mentioned, already, there are shared values there. And I think already, if you're listening to this podcast, somewhere, those values are there. And I think being in this international setting, trying to make these connections, at the end of the day, everyone wants to have friends, you know, you're moving to this new place, there's something so scary and daunting about that. And at the end of the day, everyone just wants to add friends and choosing to come to a third country to study like a lot of people have, it's, it shows that these people are already a bit more open minded than some people who are staying at home. And I think already that shows something shows a bit of a difference and the type of people you're going to be surrounded with in these international settings. I think it's funny as well, because you know, even if, after I graduated from the university, I said, You know what, I'm going to move back to my small town in New Jersey, I'm going to get a job. And I'm going to do that forever. Even if I chose that option for my life, all of my best friends from university are scattered around the planet, you know. So it's like, even if I want to go see some of my best friends a couple years from now go visit for us to plan something, it's going to have to be somewhere or at least it's not going to be in New Jersey. So you know, even if I chose a more traditional lifestyle after graduating from an international setting like this, all my best friends are international. So there's gonna have to be some sort of international compromise somewhere.

Jenn Viemont: Absolutely. And a free couch to stay on across the world.

Hannah Remo: Exactly. It's the best part.

Jenn Viemont: So what do you think is the best thing about being a student in Europe?

Hannah Remo: How much time do we have? Because I'm talking about that for a solid hour alone. But I mean, obviously, some of the stuff I mentioned earlier, just about the amount of independence I have, and that the fact that my life isn't defined by being student, and you know, more specifically, which university I'm attending, you know, blah, blah, blah. I just, I think, probably though the best part is no debt. Totally. Yeah, I'm graduating university with no debt. And you know, I truly think it's so sad when I go home, and I'm speaking to my friends in the US. And and I tell them that I'm going to graduate with no debt. Most of the time people start laughing at me. They just say, come on. Well, you're joking. They don't believe me. And I think that's truly sad that it's just become such an accepted part of our kind of society that oh, well, if you want to get higher education, you're going to be paying it off for the next 30 years of your life. You know, and I think that is just truly heartbreaking. But, you know, obviously no student debt is great. And, you know, it's actually cheaper for me to come to The Hague and study than it would have been for me to attend an in State College in New Jersey.

Jenn Viemont: It was on for just a second there. Let's let the people digest that for a minute. It is less to attend school in The Hague than it would have been to attend in state. I mean, that's just remarkable. And when you think about the savings, as opposed to if you went out of state, I mean, I know I've done the math for myself, regarding Sam, and I mean, certainly, Sam's experience would be less than in state tuition as well, and will save something like $150,000 over him going to a private university. I mean, it's just incredible. 

Hannah Remo: I just like, I truly don't understand it. And you know, it to me, I, my older sister and younger brother both attended, and my younger brother still attends American universities. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that at all. But you know, for me, personally, I know that when, when I graduate, I want to, I want to go and do things I want to explore, I want to go travel more, and I don't want to be held down by this debt, you know, you can't start a life with that much debt. And so I just, I just think it's sad thing. Yeah,

Jenn Viemont: Absolutely. So what do you wish you knew when you were thinking about colleges in Europe?

Hannah Remo: Like, when I first started this whole thing, it was just, I don't even know where to begin with this question. Because when I first started this whole process, and you know, understood, okay, I want to go to university in Europe, you know, where do you begin, it was just a lot of like mindless Googling, and you know, not finding information. So, you know, just simply even trying to find English talk programs available in Europe was difficult, I didn't go into this thinking I have an exact destination in mind, I just wanted to find, see what the options were, you know, I wasn't looking to do an overpriced semester abroad through an American university, there were points while I was searching for these English top programs in these European universities that, you know, would provide them. I just simply wanted to give up. And there was a time where I just started looking at universities in the US, because I just felt so disheartened, I thought, you know, this isn't gonna happen. This is a cute little dream, Hannah, but wake up. But then, you know, like, if beyond the states, but website like beyond the states existed, when I was looking, it would have made the whole process, you know, enjoyable, I would have been so much more excited about the whole process and about studying in Europe. And instead, when I was searching, it just became more existential crisis II, you know, I thought, I want to live in Europe, this is what I want for my future. But how do I make this happen? You know, I just had no idea. So before I started the whole process, it would have just been nice if there was some sort of source and sort of that compiled all the information about these English top programs, because, you know, once you find the English top programs, that's just half that's a, that's the start of the battle, because then you have to go in and see, okay, well, does this college does this country accept my American high school diploma is my American high school diploma, viewed inferior to this country's high school diploma, and spoiler alert, American high school diploma is pretty much inferior everywhere, which is even in Italy.

Jenn Viemont: But you wouldn't think even requires American students to have AP scores.

Hannah Remo: Yeah. And so I just think it's crazy. And so that's, I think, beyond the states is really useful. And I think if anything, if I started, if I knew, if I could think of anything, before I started the whole process, it would be to try to get in contact with a source like beyond the states, because it's just, I think it's great.

Jenn Viemont: Well, you can use this for your master's degree program, you know, don't worry, I'm like, finally, I can use it now, is why we started beyond the state says, Because there there are three information sources out there. But in my own research, and it sounds like you've had this experience, a lot of it's either incomplete, or it's inaccurate, or it just doesn't explain things well, and it's a very confusing process for, for a really big monumental decision. But I just love that, despite that, you know, you forge ahead, and we're a real Trailblazer with this, it's really cool. And I get So as a parent, of a student who's gonna be doing this, I get so excited hearing about these experiences. I seriously, I have like goosebumps right now. Because I, you know, this is gonna be a possibility for my kids to and I'm so excited for them. And I'm so excited for you and your future. And, and I just really appreciate you joining us today and telling us all about it.

Hannah Remo: Yeah. Thank you so much. This is so nice. Thank you.

Jenn Viemont: In addition to all we learned about universities of Applied Science in the Netherlands, today's big takeaway is that though the social structures are different, they're just as Many ways to have fun as a student in Europe, and that the strength of the connections you make are unimaginable for those of us who have not lived abroad. No, you're not going to get to tailgate before college football games, but you could use the money you save on tuition for Season Passes after graduation. Can you imagine how many seasons you could buy with that amount of savings? Thanks so much for joining me. And thanks to all of you for listening, you can find show notes and links on our website beyond the If you have questions or comments, please join our discussion on the beyond the state's Facebook page. You can get inspired on our Instagram page and if you enjoy our podcast, I'd love it if you would rate us on iTunes or Stitcher. So thanks so much.

Jennifer Viemont
Founder & Chief College Advisor

5 Reasons Why You Should Study in Europe

If packing up your whole life and moving sounds more exciting than terrifying, then you'll love what colleges in Europe have to offer you. These are 5 reasons why going to college in Europe will be the best decision you'll ever make:

1. Tuition is much more affordable than the US.

In continental Europe, the average cost of all the English-taught bachelor’s programs is just $7,390 per year. Since 1985, US college costs have surged by about 1000 percent, and tuition and fees continue to rise. Even when you factor in the cost of travel, going to college in Europe if often cheaper than one year of tuition at a state college in the US.

2. There are thousands of English-taught degrees.

Choice is another key issue. When cost is a chief consideration, you may be limited to only in-state schools, where tuition is lower. What if your in-state schools aren’t a good option for your chosen field of study? In Europe there are thousands of programs to choose from across 212 areas of study, and they are all taught 100% in English, so there's no need to worry about learning a new language.

3. International exposure is essential and highly valued.

Students who studied abroad stand out from the crowd when seeking jobs after college. The very act of leaving their comfort zone to make a fresh start in a new place builds skills and confidence that will be carried throughout a student’s life. Silicon Valley billionaire investor, Chris Sacca, describes international study experience as a critical differentiating characteristic among candidates. According to former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, “The Jack Welch of the future cannot be like me. I spent my entire career in the United States. The next head of [General Electric] will be somebody who spent time in Bombay, in Hong Kong, in Buenos Aires.”

4. You'll avoid the US admissions rat race.

The college admissions process in the US has become a race to the bottom as students compete with their peers for a single spot in a liberal arts college, convinced by parents and guidance counselors that their survival rests on playing a musical instrument or varsity sport.Many smart kids don’t do well on standardized tests. This doesn’t limit them as much when looking outside of the US, as many colleges in Europe do not require standardized tests. Many countries see entry into universities as a right, rather than a privilege, so admission standards are not as stringent.

5. Spend your weekends & breaks exploring the world.

Travel opportunities abound when attending college in Europe. For example, Lille, a city in northern France with multiple universities, is close to major cities such as Brussels, London, and Paris via high-speed rail. Air travel, especially with the rise of affordable airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet, and Transavia, can be comparable in price to rail travel, so many more destinations open up for short-term travel.

How to Get Into the World's Top Universities

When you also factor in the many problems with US higher education, it is imprudent not to consider other possibilities. It is true there are many excellent schools in the United States—I don’t think anyone would argue that. There are some that have managed to look at applicants as people, and not just a checklist of achievements. Some even have reasonable tuition rates, and/or professors that actively teach and have highly engaged students. Despite this, I have yet to find a school in the United States that addresses all of these issues: allows students to opt out of the rat race the admissions process has become, have reasonable tuition, AND have positive results around the educational experience and post-graduation outcomes. Not every school in Europe provides all this either, but the schools listed in our database do.

How to Find Degrees in Europe That Are Taught in English

Finding these programs is burdensome, difficult, and confusing, especially with institutional websites in foreign languages... We know that making the decision to study abroad can be difficult, so we want to make it easy for you. We scoured the continent for vetted programs and made them available to thousands of families looking to leave the US and find a better life in Europe. We found over 11,200 degrees, 870 universities, 550 cities, and 32 European countries to choose from. Europe offers an impressive range of educational opportunities!

We have gathered all of the information you need to know about studying in Europe – from the different types of schools available to how to get housing and everything in between. Our database helps you find these programs quickly and easily, helping you contextualize the many benefits and options around higher education in Europe.

You will be able to find programs and courses that suit your interests and needs, taught in English by experienced professors in state-of-the-art facilities. Purchase a membership and search our database of English-taught European bachelor's and master's programs to get started on your journey to Europe today.

Discover all the English-taught European college programs in one place.

Beyond the States provides easy access to 11,600+ European bachelor's and master's programs across 870 universities, 550 cities, and 212 areas of study, plus all the resources you need to get there. No sponsorships. No bias.
English-taught bachelor's programs in our database.
English-taught master's programs in our database.
Beautiful European cities to choose from.
Top-tier universities accepting international students.
Typical savings against a private university in the US.
Typical savings against in-state tuition in the US.
All inclusive of tuition, living, food, books, health insurance, travel expenses, as well as hidden fees. Compiled with data from students and the official websites from KU Leuven, UNC, and Duke.

Listen to the College Insights™ Podcast

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What Transparent Admissions Requirements Really Mean

Featuring Jennifer Viemont
It’s that time of year again… College admissions are on the minds of many students who have attempted to get into their choice schools across the US; it can be a deeply confusing and stressful time for many.
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Master's Degrees in Europe for International Students

Featuring Jennifer Viemont
Her conversation partner this week is Sean Dempsey, a past BTS member and recent graduate of the highly-ranked KU Leuven, in Belgium.
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Will a European Degree Work for Me in the US?

Featuring Jennifer Viemont
Is a degree from Europe valuable enough in the US? Does it allow students to get into grad school and get a good job? Who gives accreditation to universities in the States?
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How to Get a Master's Degree in Europe

Featuring Jennifer Viemont
In today’s episode, Jenn has an interesting discussion with Tiffany, a parent of one of our members, Ethan. She became so interested in the Beyond the States process herself so that she’s amid planning admission for herself and her husband – for a Master degree program in the EU!
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Avoid the Pitfalls of College Rankings

Featuring Jennifer Viemont
How useful are college rankings actually? What do they measure? Can you find great colleges in Europe without relying on rankings?
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The Myth of American Exceptionalism

Featuring Jennifer Viemont
We're going to be talking about the differences in the educational experience, meaning the academic side of things that students have in Europe versus in the US. So I'm always taken aback when people assume that universities in the US are the best globally.

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