If I’m on Facebook and see an ad for shoes, for example, I might click and see if they offer blue shoes. If they don’t, I will scroll on. It would never occur to me to demand in the comments that this company carry blue shoes or make accusations about their motives in not carrying blue shoes. MAYBE, I would send them a private message saying “Hey-I really like blue shoes. Please let me know if you ever start carrying them.”, but it’s much more likely that I would just keep scrolling through my feed and carry on with my day.
This is not the case for many people! The things people will post on Facebook always amazes me and it really seems worse these days! We have a post on Facebook right now that uses the map image. Many of you have already seen this. It’s one of my favorite images as it really demonstrates the number of options and the incredible tuition for the universities/programs we have information on.
So, there is one person, I’ll call her Susan (not her real name), who saw the post and posted several comments on the fact that we don’t include the UK. This included an accusation of “EU petulance”. She also declared that she “believes that US students should be given choice to make those decisions” around UK universities. She also stated that she finds it finds it “irritating that an organization such as this should actively omit the UK and not give US students the choice. Unless of course they are funded by the EU, which they should declare.” Funded by the EU? That made me laugh given that we don’t even take money from any of the universities in order to maintain our objectivity.
After I responded to her claims more than once explaining our stance she backpedalled a bit. She did maintain that she “ cannot accept that you found not a single university in the UK which you deemed suitable, and so (in my opinion) it calls into question the criteria by which you are selecting.” You guys….she posted nine comments like this!
We generally say that our focus is continental Europe, it’s less of a mouthful than “non-anglophone countries in Europe”, but it’s not really accurate since we include Iceland and Cyprus. With Brexit becoming official in January, I wondered if we should add Ireland, so we could just say that we include information about the English-taught bachelor’s degree programs in EU/EEA countries. I know that there are wonderful schools in Ireland and decided to start by exploring tuition. We did this five years ago, but I thought it might be a good time to revisit this. If tuition was comparable to those in the other countries we list, I would consider adding the country to the database.
Right now, the countries with the highest averages in our database are Denmark, Sweden, France and Switzerland. The average for the English-taught programs in these countries range from $13075-13470 per year. I’m comfortable with this number, given that most of the programs in this countries are 3 years in duration which makes them comparable to 4 year programs that are $11,625. The average in-state tuition for flagship universities in the US is $11,849 per year so even universities in these countries with more expensive programs give options to students working with an in-state tuition.
Further, there are a few things to know about the programs in these more expensive countries. The averages in France and Switzerland are pulled up by very expensive American universities that are there. If you look at the programs in any of these four countries (excluding those at American schools), then you find a great percentage under 10,000 euros a year. Not only are there 16 programs under 10,000 a year in Switzerland, but 11 of those are under 2 k a year! As I said before, most of the programs in these 4 countries are just 3 years in duration, which further adds to the savings.
So these countries provided the financial criteria I was looking for in Ireland. I was looking for an average of no more than 14000 euros per year, though I was open to going up to 15,000 if the duration of most programs was three years. I wanted at least 25% of the programs to be under 10,000 euros per year.
Let me preface my findings with a few things. First of all, there are wonderful options in Ireland-and in many other parts of the world, too. My intention is not to discourage anyone from exploring those options, just to explain the process we go through when we are deciding to add countries to our resources. The other thing to note is that we did not look at the tuition for every university in Ireland. We started with the public universities, which are the most reputable, to gather enough numbers to make generalizations with.
We looked at 12 public universities and, while most schools had a huge range in tuition for each of their programs, the numbers I saw most frequently were in the 16-20,000 euros range. Remember this is $18,230-22,846 per year and the majority were four year programs. There was only one school on this list of 12 that offered tuition under 10000 euros per year. Now, this is still much less expensive when compared to tuition for out of state or private universities in the US but, as I suspected, it did not offer the level of affordability that those in continental Europe do. I mean, we just talked about the most expensive countries in continental Europe, but there are others countries offering programs at the other end of the tuition spectrum too. In fact, eleven of the countries we list have an average tuition of less than 6000 euros per year!
The more I thought about it, the more I felt confident in our decision to focus on non-anglophone Europe-no matter what the Susan’s of the world think about it! The core reason that we don’t include the UK and Ireland is because they are anglophone countries. I started Beyond the States to fill a gap I saw. There simply was not a single source of objective information about the options in non-anglophone countries and many people didn’t even know they existed. The options in anglophone countries are simply easier to navigate and there are abundant resources with information and services about universities in the UK and Ireland. The fact that they don’t offer the level of affordability as provided by universities in continental Europe is secondary.
Bottom line, there are incredible options throughout all of the world. These includes universities Canada, the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, and Singapore. Though I’d love a reason to visit all of these places, I don’t think it’s aligned with our focus area. Students moving outside of the US and exploring the world during their studies is so exciting to me-no matter what part of the world they do this in. I really believe that it benefits them as individuals as well as the world as whole! If you are interested in doing so in the non-anglophone countries in the EEA/EU, we would love to help!