December 2015 – Is going Dutch the only study abroad option?
We can’t believe that it is the end of 2015 already! It’s been a busy year here at Venture as we have looked to continue to develop the website. This has included adding new country guides and content, as well as expanding the existing articles to make them even better. All of which should mean that more of our users are inspired to live a life less ordinary.
The year has also seen a growth in media coverage and interest surrounding studying abroad, especially full degrees in Europe. Such opportunities have long been a focus of our work, with Venture always looking to offer impartial advice to help students find the right option for them. Therefore we have decided to dedicate our final newsletter of 2015 to exploring some of the myths and facts around studying in Europe.
Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and New Year,
The Venture Team
Is going Dutch the only study abroad option?
More and more British students are choosing to study for their full degree abroad, with many people electing to make use of the freedom of movement found within the EU to study in another European country. The reason usually given for this is the cheaper cost of tuition fees in these countries when compared to the UK’s astronomical £9,000 per year. However, what is interesting is that one country in particular has become the focus of this growing trend – the Netherlands.
Indeed, here at Venture we have started to receive more queries on studying in the Netherlands than any other country, whilst news outlets such as the BBC and the Guardian have all carried articles about Dutch universities in the last few months.
In the past UK students (who traditionally have not been the most willing to learn new languages) have faced a language barrier when it came to studying in Europe. This has now changed, with Dutch universities starting to offer a range of degrees taught solely in English. Therefore, this ability to learn in English, alongside the relaxed Dutch way of life, is given as the reason for UK students choosing Maastricht and Groningen over Manchester and Birmingham.
Nevertheless, although the Netherlands certainly boasts a range of excellent higher education institutions, if you look at the wider picture, it is somewhat surprising that Holland has become the focus for the growing UK student exodus.
The Netherlands currently charges tuition fees of 1,951 Euro per year (although there are loans to cover this cost). However, in many other European countries (such as Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Finland) university education remains free. Similarly these countries also offer options to study in English. Therefore, if the cost of university in the UK is the main motivation for students looking to move abroad, why is one of these free-to-study countries not the focus of attention?
The reason behind this lies in the simple fact that Dutch universities realised far quicker than other European higher education institutions the recruitment possibilities found within the UK and have developed a promotional campaign to capitalise on this. The Netherlands may not be the only country where you can find courses taught in English but, as the advantages of studying in Holland have been heavily marketed to UK students, they have also become the most well-known alternative.
As studying abroad is a relatively new phenomenon, it remains a specialised area of expertise in the UK. The Dutch universities’ marketing campaigns have been particularly effective due to the fact that many UK students are struggling to find unbiased advice and guidance on options abroad from other sources.
This is where Venture can help. Our study abroad guides are impartial and so offer students a well-rounded picture on the various different possibilities available to them. It may well be that a course in the Netherlands is a good fit for certain students, but UK school leavers need to know that this is not their only option…
Visit our country guides to find out more about the different options for studying abroad
Free Study Options in Europe
There are 17 countries in Europe which do not charge tuition fees to EU students – Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Greece, Cyprus and Malta.
What is more, these countries boast over 20 universities in the Top 200 of the Times World Rankings, many of which offer courses in English. For example, UK students can study Biomedicine at the Number 28 ranked Karolinska Institute in Sweden or North American Studies at the Number 72 ranked Free University of Berlin, all for free and in their native language.
However applying for these courses can sometimes be confusing. Some countries such as Sweden and Finland have their own centralised application services, rather like our UCAS system – students can apply online and track their progress. However in others, such as Denmark and Germany, there are no centralised admissions services and so students should apply directly to individual universities.
Most European universities have their own international offices to help with the process and these are often the first point of contact for UK students. Just as in the UK, there will be competition for the most popular courses. However applicants from the UK are treated on an equal basis to citizens of their chosen country of study.
One point for students to be aware of is that, regardless of the country they choose, by studying outside of the UK, they will be unable to access any UK student loans to cover living expenses. Therefore they must make sure that they can support themselves for the duration of the course through other means. This may be through taking on a part time job or by having financial support from their parents.
During November we were busy organising the Stand Out in a Global Market events. This year has seen us run 2 free one day conferences, with each event looking to provide sixth formers with inspiration and practical information on how they can make the most of opportunities to work, travel or study abroad.
Firstly the team headed to Cardiff for our inaugural event in Wales. The day, which was supported by the High Commission of Canada and Careers Wales, saw local sixth formers attending a series of talks and workshops on studying, working and travelling abroad. We then returned to Yorkshire for our second event. This was organised in collaboration with the University of Leeds and was held at the University’s city centre campus.
A range of experts were on hand at both events – from business leaders to local undergraduates recently back from a year studying abroad. As well as this, our exhibition space was attended by organisations such as Projects Abroad, BUNAC, Europass and Leeds Beckett University.
150 students attended the events and their feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. One commented “It was superb! Very welcoming, helpful and interesting” whilst another wrote “It really made me excited about what I can do in the future”.
If you want to find out more about the events follow @standoutglobal on Twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org
New on Venture
Many people want to combine work, study and travel opportunities all in one trip when abroad.
With this in mind we have revamped our country guides to Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. We have introduced a more detailed guide on gap year opportunities in these countries – from more information on working holidays, to backpacking tips and typical costs. We’ve also made our Top 10 lists more interactive and the Travel Guide easier to navigate.