Jenn Viemont: This is episode one of the Beyond the States podcast. Today I'm excited to share with you an overview of the benefits from getting a degree in Europe, you'll learn that you don't need to know another language to take advantage of affordable tuition, transparent admissions processes and life changing outcomes.
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.
Okay, so let's jump right in. I'm so glad you're all here today. And I want to start out just by telling you about how I learned about college in Europe and why my kids planned to go to school there, you might find that some of our concerns about the situation in the US and reasons for pursuing these options are things you can relate to in your own life. So a little background, I grew up in Chicago and my husband, Tom and I lived there in the early years of our marriage after we had our son Sam, we moved to North Carolina, a lot of it was to enjoy a really, really affordable cost of living, particularly compared to Chicago. And also because we have family in the area. So we live in Chapel Hill with our son Sam, who is now 16. And starting his junior year, and our daughter Ellie, who is 13 and an eighth grade. So I really love this little pocket we live in in North Carolina, but I was bummed that our kids would miss out on some of the benefits of urban life. I wanted them to be comfortable with things like public transportation, to be independent and exposed to diversity of all kinds due to that we consciously chose to supplement their lives with travel and started taking them on an international trips when Ellie was about five and Sam was about eight. A lot of these included trips to see family that lived internationally, which sort of US East us into the process of traveling internationally with them when they were younger. It's travel is more than an interest to us. It's a tool we use to create values that we think are important in our family. So a few years ago, Sam was in the last year of middle school and college thoughts were looming large as he prepared for high school, I'd seen the rate Snover documentary and I was concerned about the pressure cooker environment that college admissions process was turning high school into and how even the brightest hardest working students weren't getting into the schools I desired, of course, had also seen all the information about the crazy tuition costs that were continuing to rise that we put money away in a 529 plan every month, there's no way that our savings would even scratch the surface of what is now an increasingly common tuition of 40 to $50,000 per year. And that doesn't even include fees and room and board and all of that. Finally, I was hearing a lot more about problems that kids were having once they got on campus, whether it was about their social experience, their educational experience, and of course getting hired after graduation. That said, our desire was for our kids to be able to go to college in the place that was a best fit for their academic interests and personalities. Even if that wasn't a state school, we figured we'd subsidize the difference with loans and scholarships. So I'm a bit of a planner, I'm actually a huge planner. So I had always kept my ear to the ground about the options that that may be a good fit for our kids. I really love the book colleges that change lives. And it talked about the string schools had beyond rankings. However, most of the schools listed in there were well above the $40,000 a year and above range. So it was about that time that our kids were in eighth grade and fifth grade, that I saw an article on Facebook about an American student who was getting his degree in Germany tuition free. At that point, I had no idea that there were full degree programs taught in English and Europe, if you told me that there were, I would have assumed that they were few and far between and incredibly expensive, especially with the travel costs, but between our desire to raise global citizens and my concerns are on higher education. Here my interest was piqued I love a project. And so I thought I'd spend a weekend on the porch with a glass of wine, looking into what options exist in Europe, and whether we should just keep it on our radar down the road for our kids, you guys. I was so overwhelmed. There's so many differences between countries in Europe that weren't clear, I had trouble figuring out admissions qualifications, or how to figure out if a program was strong if they weren't globally ranked. I had trouble finding accurate information. There was a lot of biased information or incomplete information. But I did find little bits of information usually tuition based, that kept me interested in the process that we can have research turned into a few weeks. And by that point, I had determined that there were a number of great options that Sam would likely qualify for. And at this point, I had not seen a tuition of $8,000 a year or so add to that that many of the bachelor's programs were just three years in duration. And I had satisfied my question about whether we should keep this on our radar. It was definitely yes. But I kept thinking about the other families who had similar concerns. As we did, but didn't know that there were these options and solutions out there. At that point I decided to create beyond the States, I spent a year researching visiting schools by myself, which was so fun, but going to Europe to visit the schools talking to American students who are already doing this talking to administrators in Europe so that we could create our database of objective information on all the accredited English taught bachelor's degree options in continental Europe than the summer due to popular demand. We added information about the English taught master's degree programs as well. So we're going to use this podcast to dive deep into the benefits and the different options in Europe. I'll be talking to guests to students who either are studying in Europe or who have, I'll talk to administrators, employers, parents who have sent their kids to Europe. But there are a few things I want you to know today about college in Europe and the solutions it provides. The first thing is about your number of options. When I was deciding whether or not to create beyond the States, I first had to determine if there were enough options to warrant this. I was hoping for somewhere around 500 English taught programs that accredited universities, you guys, there are more than 1700. And for Master's degree programs, you're looking at over 5000. So in all there are 7130 English taught full degree programs. That means that all of your classes, your assignments, your tests, everything will be taught in English. And this is at over 750 universities. And this is just throughout continental Europe. We didn't tackle the UK and Ireland for a couple of reasons. First, there are English speaking countries, so you can navigate that system more easily. And second is that many UK schools have problems that are similar to those that we have here in America, like with high tuition and the admissions processes. In fact, one of the reasons that there are so many English conducted programs throughout continental Europe because students from the UK have known about these options for a long time. cost is a factor that hooked me and we're going to be talking in depth about it next week. But let me tell you this, the average for English taught bachelor's degree programs is around $7,000 a year a master's degree programs are only around $8,000 a year if you're looking at only in state tuition that might not blow your mind. But how about this, there are hundreds of options that are tuition free, even for international students. And there are 1000s of options that are under $4,000. A year add to that the fact that most bachelor's programs are only three or three and a half years as opposed to here where up to 80% of students are taking more than four years to graduate. And many master's degree programs are just one year. So you're saving, you know, a good year on tuition and also earning a salary earlier.
So the admissions process is a really great one too. So Sam's a really smart kid, but he wouldn't do well, with what's required with the US admissions process. He hasn't been interested in organized sports or extracurriculars. And in school, he'll do what's needed. But he's not going to go above and beyond. I remember an assignment he had in an English class his freshman year, and he was asked to state how a certain polling made him feel his answer nothing. And he thought it was a valid answer. Because it was true. He thought my idea that he could have said, though, it didn't make me feel any emotion, I can see how others might feel like after reading it, and that still would have been an honest response. But he really dug in his heels about this. So I can only imagine what a struggle the college essays that require emotional insight or, or catharsis would be the admissions process in Europe is based on accepting applicants who have the qualifications that are defined as those that would lead to success in the program. These are defined qualifications, they're generally objective, and they're very transparent. It's a really exciting component of all these options, and we're going to be talking about it in depth in our third episode. Another benefit pertains to employment. I love my kids, but I don't want them moving home after college, I hope that we're going to be enjoying our empty nest and make one of the rooms into like a wine cellar or workout room. But more than that, I want them to experience their own adult lives. And employment is a big component of that college in Europe leads to a competitive edge in the job market for many reasons. These include specialized knowledge, the experience and contacts you can make through internships, which are often required, and also the soft skills that are acquired by living in a foreign country. Things like navigating unfamiliar circumstances, working in groups with people with entirely different perspectives, it shows that you're adaptable, and these are the skills that employers are looking for and finding that US graduates lack. The last benefit I want to talk about today is how living in another country is life changing. You're not a tourist anymore, and you're really experiencing life as a global citizen. You're in these classrooms with students from all around the world. That's why they have these English taught programs not primarily for Americans or, or any other Anglophone countries that with English so widely spoken around the world. It draws students from around the globe. So having these classes discussions with students from Japan, from Thailand, from Ghana, from Chile from all around the world provides perspective about world issues is really hard to gain in more homogeneous environments. It's also life changing and other ways as well. You know, Europe is really compact. So it's easy to spend time visiting other countries, maybe spending a weekend with your friend from Bulgaria in their hometown. And you also have a greater opportunity to become proficient in another language if you choose. So the more and more American students are pursuing these options, I spend a lot of time thinking about why more don't consider it. I think a lot of people don't know that it's an option. Others don't know about the benefits and others are nervous about doing something that's somewhat unknown. This podcast hopes to provide the information you need to make an informed choice, whether it's higher education here in the US in Europe or somewhere else. I really hope you'll join us next week. As I mentioned, we'll be talking about cost. And we'll be talking to Peter Campbell. He's an American who taught at the University of Michigan as well as the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and he's now a professor and administrator at a university in Prague, and we're going to talk to him about why and how tuition is so reasonably priced for international students. See you then. Thanks again for listening. Today, you'll find the show notes and links about our guests on our website, www dot beyond estates.com. If you have questions or comments, please join the discussion on our beyond the state's Facebook page or get inspired by visiting us on Instagram. If you enjoyed the podcast, I'd love it if you'd subscribe and rate it on iTunes. Thanks in advance.