“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,” said Mark Twain, beloved American novelist. And American poet Robert Frost is frequently quoted for his famous lines, “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” Then, there’s Brazillan author, Paolo Coelho, who quipped, “Travel is never a matter of money, but of courage.” Here’s the truth, though, yes travel and studying abroad takes courage and commitment and is exciting, but there are real costs and money matters in being able to make this type of experience happen. 

Especially for students interested in studying abroad in Europe, the reality of the cost to get a degree in Europe is something to consider. If you’re motivated, you can make it happen! However, you should do your research ahead of time. Here, we highlight five popular European countries that attract the adventurous student for various degrees and subjects. Get your passport ready! Enroll in that language class. You too might take the “road less traveled”...

1. Norway

If you’re looking for that Scandinavian experience, consider studying in Norway! Boasting an attractive job market with a low unemployment rate, ranked as one of the best places to live, and situated as the northernmost country in Europe, Norway is an excellent option to consider for completing your next degree program. The backdrop of stunning mountains and fjords galore is hard to pass up. Additionally, the facts demonstrate how Norway ranks among the top countries for higher education. For example, according to UMultirank.org, “The Norwegian system of higher education comprises 44 institutions, the majority (38) of them being public. The system includes nine broad universities (all public), eight specialized universities (e.g. in arts, music, sports, theology), and 27 university colleges focussing on undergraduate education.” This means you’ll have options when selecting the best fit for your program.

The cost of living can be quite high in Norway. You’ll need to budget accordingly since Norway is ranked third highest in terms of cost of living. The best thing about studying abroad in Norway is that the high cost of living is effectively offset by the fact that all universities offer free tuition fees for all students, including international students. Norway is famous for its free tuition universities, especially among international students. The top five universities offer many degree programs and offerings for students. Free tuition can make it all worth it. Imagine graduating without any student loan debt...

2. Germany

Studying in Germany also has its perks. Germany is an important international player in politics, economics, and many other competitive fields. Located centrally in Europe, Germany is an excellent country to begin or continue your higher education. Also, Germany’s beaches and coastline are enjoyable getaways for your spring break and holidays in between semesters. 

Ranked 23rd in cost of living, Germany is seen by some as an affordable yet quality option. It costs an estimated 850 euros a month in living expenses for an average student studying in Germany. As in most places, you will find the rent is the highest cost. 

What is most appealing for international students who want to study in Germany is the free tuition fees for all students, which includes international students. So sign up for that German class immediately and consider applying to your dream program in Germany...

3. Portugal

Portugal is a southern European country located on the Iberian Peninsula bordering Spain. With land that meets the Atlantic Ocean and a rich history, including Spanish influence, Portugal is an ideal destination for those who want a little something different from their study abroad experience. Lisbon, the country’s capital, has been at the center of trade and linking Europe and Africa for hundreds of years. To be sure, part of the draw of studying in Portugal is the landscape and climate, but also, you’ll find a rich and complex history and culture to explore. 

Portugal’s cost of living is relatively low compared to other European countries, and it is ranked 50th overall for cost of living. Expect to budget an estimated average of $2,000 USD a month for rent and other living expenses

As for tuition fees, you do have to pay to study in Portugal. The government does not regulate nor cap tuition fees unlike other European countries higher education systems. You’ll want to do your research and make sure that, in this case, the benefits outweigh the costs. Before you apply and enroll, consider scholarship and grant opportunities. Also, you’ll likely want to take a class in Portuguese before you arrive in the country.

4. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom, an island nation, made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, is one of the most popular study abroad destinations for international students. Many degree opportunities abound and, since English is the primary language, it is a big draw for native English speaker students. The UK’s internationally recognized universities and programs are other major incentives to apply to study in the UK. 

Known for its rigorous higher education programs, the UK is also a place that encourages cultural diversity and provides the space for growth and development for all international students. 

The UK ranks 24th in the cost of living index category. However, cities like London have a higher cost of living than others. You’ll want to pay attention to the location of the university and calculate the cost accordingly. If English is your native language, and you do not want to learn a foreign language, studying in the UK has its appeal.

5. France

Perhaps you dream of living in France or, in particular, the City of Lights, Paris? Do you want to immerse yourself in French language and culture? France has long been an appealing country for international students. Culturally, historically, and geographically, France is excellent country in which to consider completing your degree program. The food alone attracts many enthusiasts! Consider the architecture and rich history...and it's no surprise that hundreds of thousands of international students flock to France annually. Imagine walking along the Seine River or passing by the Eiffel Tower on your daily commute to class.

Ranked 11th on the cost of living index, France is not the cheapest option. Although cost of living can be high in France, the tuition fees are subsidized by the French government. Depending on what degree program you enroll in, you might have access to reduced tuition fees

There are many reasons why you might want to do part or all of a degree program abroad. Who wouldn’t want full immersion into another language, culture, history, and country’s lifestyle? Trust your wanderlust and do your research before you enroll in a program abroad. We think taking “the road less traveled” pays off!