The 10 best places to study abroad in Europe

There are a host of attractive and affordable places throughout Europe for university students from around the world who wish to study in another country. Here are our top picks of the best places to study abroad in Europe, so you can narrow down your choices to the ideal fit for your needs, budget, and expectations.


1. Germany

Germany is one of the best places to study abroad in Europe, especially if you are hoping to save money, because there aren’t any tuition fees when you are working towards your undergraduate degree at a public university. This applies to students who are from other parts of Europe, as well as those from outside of the European Union. All that you will be required to pay is an administration fee, which will be billed every semester. The country is home to some of the top schools in Europe, such as the Technical University of Munich, Humboldt University, and the University of Aachen, where top subjects include chemistry, physics, history, philosophy, and mechanical engineering. Plus, because English is usually taught to German students as a second language, you can get around surprisingly well even if you do not know a lot of German; however, English-speaking undergraduate programs are rare, so it’s likely that you will still need to learn the language.


2. France

France is home to over 10 universities that are included in the 2019-19 QS World University Rankings (QS stands for Quacquarelli Symonds, which is a U.K. company that specializes in, evaluates, and ranks schools and study abroad programs). Although the majority of the programs are taught in French, there are over 1,000 courses taught in English. France is also a country where you can expect low tuition costs and a high quality education. You will find some of the most affordable schools on the planet when you go to France, which means you get to spend more of your money on exploring and having fun while studying abroad. And with so many beautiful places to temporarily call home while you are in school, such as Paris, Toulouse, Lyon, and Montpellier, there is always something to see. Top universities include École Normale Supérieure, Pierre and Marie Curie University, Sciences Po, and Paris-Sud University.


3. Spain

Like other countries in Europe, one of the many perks that comes with studying abroad in one of Spain’s many prestigious universities is the low cost of tuition there. Compared to the United States and the United Kingdom, tuition in Spain is much more affordable, and you are likely going to pay a fraction of what you would have to pay for a similar program at home. Stick with smaller countryside towns to save even more money, as the bigger and more popular cities are more expensive. But if you are ready to spend more to have it all, check out schools in the capital city of Madrid. Just be prepared to brush up on your Spanish speaking skills, as many of the programs in the country are taught in Spanish. Top schools include the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universitat de Barcelona, and Universitat Pompeu Fabra.


4. Italy

For the 2015 academic year, Italy was the second most popular place to study abroad for students from the U.S., with more than 33,500 individuals choosing to attend school there in 2014-2015. The country is home to some of the most prestigious and oldest universities. Not all schools will have entire programs in English, but they may offer courses in English. Popular destinations include Milan, Rome, Florence, and Venice, but there are also countryside towns that students enjoy as well. Throughout the country, you will find 89 universities, along with many academies and polytechnics, so there are loads of programs to choose from, including those in engineering, art and design, and architecture. Just be prepared to spend a bit more than you would in Central European countries, but rest assured that the costs in Italy will likely be far less than those in places like the U.S. and U.K.  


5. Sweden

Believe it or not, you might able to get a PhD level education for free if you are a student from abroad, such as from the United States, and you go to school in Sweden. On top of that, many of the university programs that are taught in the country are taught in English, and there are also many opportunities to receive scholarships. Plus, you will be able to choose from some of the top universities in the world, such as Uppsala University, Lund University, and KTH Royal Institute of Technology. And in addition to scholarship options, PhD positions are typically paid, so you can go to school for free while earning a salary.


6. Netherlands

The Netherlands is yet another popular destination for students who wish to study abroad in Europe. It is also a great option for students from the U.K., as it is not only affordable, but also close to London. A 45-minute ride by plane will get you from London to the Netherlands, which is the biggest provider in mainland Europe of programs that are taught in English. You can choose from over 2,100 international study programs while enjoying plenty of art and culture in cities like Amsterdam. Top schools include Delft University of Technology, the University of Amsterdam, and Wageningen University and Research Center.

7. Poland

Poland offers competitive tuition rates and a low cost of living, especially when compared to the expenses that you would have to cover when living in other European countries. Many courses are taught in English, but it would be a good idea to brush up on your Polish so that you can take even more courses and get around more easily around town. There are more than 500 institutions for higher education throughout the country, and many of them are specialised rather than following a traditional model like other European universities. Top schools in Poland can be found in Krakow, Warsaw, Poznan, and Gdansk, and top programs of study include science, technology, and engineering.


8. Finland

Public universities in Finland offer a tuition-free education to students from the EU/EEA, and since the beginning of the autumn semester of 2017, non-EU/EEA students will have to pay tuition. However, if you are enrolled in a Swedish or Finnish taught degree program, tuition will be free even for non-EU/EEA students. Helsinki, which is found on the southern coast of the country, is the biggest urban area in Finland, and it is also the home of the University of Helsinki, which is one of the best schools in the nation. Another school, Aalto University, is also a top university and it is found in Helsinki too. The most affordable cities for students include Tampere, Pori, and Laaperanta.


9. Slovenia

Slovenia is a beautiful country located between Croatia and Italy, and it features plenty of amazing outdoor areas to explore, from beaches to mountains. But in addition to being a popular destination for tourists, this country is also a great choice for those seeking a highly rated university. In fact, the country has one of the top education systems in the EU, and one of the biggest schools in the world is the University of Ljubljana, which is also considered the country’s main university. Another popular school is the University of Maribor, but there are other universities where you can expect low tuition and a picturesque setting. Plus, there are also opportunities available for those who wish to get a doctorate level education for free, there are roughly 150 programs in English, and the country on a whole offers a low cost of living.  


10. Norway

Tuition is free when you attend a public university in Norway, though there are few exceptions when it comes to specialised programmes in the country, and there are also private universities to choose from as well. Even though the cost of living in Norway is considered more expensive than other areas of Europe, Norway’s friendly locals, lovely landscapes, and low crime rate have helped make it one of the most attractive countries in Europe to study abroad. Roughly 250 bachelor’s level programmes, along with another 250 master’s level programmes, are taught in English, making it convenient for students from the U.K., U.S., and Australia. Top universities in Norway include the University of Bergen, the University of Oslo, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

No matter where you choose to study abroad, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a transformative educational experience. Start your overseas adventure today, and to learn more about how to save money while studying abroad, check out our Studying Abroad Guide.

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