If you are a college student in the United States, you already know how tempting an offer to study in Europe can be. However, before you decide on studying abroad in Europe, you should prepare yourself for what you awaits you there. It might be significantly different from the way things are in the States.
Why should you opt for studying abroad in Europe?
Most students who choose to study in Europe do so for the experience of gaining a wider education since Europe has some of the world’s best universities. Furthermore, the chance to learn a foreign language is like no other. Total immersion with native speakers and being forced to learn the language is the best way to do it. Additionally, the opportunities for employment multiply once you have had an experience like this. It shows that you are open to new cultures and that you have a greater understanding of the world and its citizens.
Studying abroad in Europe open door to many opportunities and fun experiences.
Where should you go?
When considering studying abroad in Europe you should choose a country and a city that best suits your needs.
If you are on a budget, you should choose a smaller city rather than a capital. The high prices in cities like Paris and London usually aren’t affordable for college students.
It also depends on whether you like warmer or colder climates, as Europe offers a wide range of temperatures. From tropical ones in Spain and Portugal, to well below freezing in Finland. Again, it all depends on your preferences.
What should you bring?
One of the skills you will gain during this process is how to pack like a professional. What you pack mostly depends on where you are going in Europe. If you are going to more southern countries, you most certainly won’t bring boots and a parka. Also, if you are someone who likes to take everything they own with them, try to break that habit before setting out to Europe.
Whether you are spending a semester or an entire school year there, you should only bring the essentials.
You will have more than enough opportunity to buy everything you need there. Furthermore, if you bring too many things with you, you won’t have room to bring back the things you bought in Europe, such as clothes, souvenirs, and books.
Many low-cost airlines require you to pay extra if your luggage exceeds a certain weight. Is that something that you’re really willing to do?
How should you handle your money?
Studying in Europe can be very expensive.
Especially if you decide to pay for it yourself, and you will need to learn how to manage money. Try getting a part-time job before you leave and saving up so that you don’t have to scrimp and save while there.
Also, some students choose to take out student loans, although they might be hard to pay off later in life. Additionally, some countries, depending on your student visa, let you have a part-time job while studying in Europe, and most of them have a limit of 20 hours per week.
Try not to splurge either, however, as you may find yourself in the uncomfortable position of asking your parents to send you some money. Keep in mind that, although you are there to have a good time, the main focus should be studying.
Studying abroad in Europe – How can you stay safe?
Back at home, if you get drunk, you can call your friends or parents to get you home safely.
However, abroad you will most likely be left alone in a precarious position. Always think about the consequences of your actions and not go overboard when it comes to drinking.
Another way to stay safe is not to walk home alone at night.
You will most likely meet local students there, or even other students who have come on exchange programs. In the first weeks of your stay there, you should keep their company so that you can watch over each other.
Many cities have great night lighting, but there are always dangerous neighborhoods, especially for someone who doesn’t know where not to go.
Furthermore, know what to do in case of an emergency.
Make sure to ask around or look up the emergency numbers for that country.
Also, have the numbers of the people you have already met there so that you can call them if you have questions or get lost.
The best idea would be to learn the native language of the country you are traveling to. Even if you are left without someone you know, you would be able to make your way around.
How often should you travel outside your host country?
Many students make the mistake of traveling too much, and not really seeing enough of anything. Don’t take this the wrong way – traveling is great.
You should definitely take the opportunity to see as much of Europe as you can.
Still, make sure that the places you do visit, you actually remember something about. Visiting 30 European cities in 4 months means that you run around the tourist spots, racing to see the next thing without actually stopping to see what’s in front of you.
Divide your time in an efficient but manageable manner.
Wherever you choose to go studying abroad in Europe, you are most likely to have the experience of a lifetime. Remember to use common sense and stay out of trouble while doing your studies on time. At the same time, try to have fun, because this is the opportunity most people never get.