Undergrad in Europe: Anyone?

(29 Posts)
holiday101 Tue 17-Apr-18 20:38:47

I read about free or nominal fees in Germany for undergrad and it seems like a great idea. I know most are taught in German so that is an issue to consider, but just wondering if this is a good idea to consider? The obvious advantage is saving of fees and no student lone, but realize that living expenses need to be accounted for.
Any thoughts/experience/advice?

OP’s posts: |
titchy Tue 17-Apr-18 21:10:16

Language barrier - you need to be fluent. Difficult to assess the quality of university (that goes for employers too). You have to find money upfront for food, accommodation, flights etc. Change of culture means you spend the first few months adapting rather than getting on with studying.

titchy Tue 17-Apr-18 21:20:19

And Brexit of course!

FlowerPower25 Tue 17-Apr-18 21:32:30

DH studied in Germany - he loved it! Found an English-speaking uni, which was full of other internationals. Great course, minimal fees (c. €300/semester) and content of course was much more relevant than my degree in the UK (bigger emphasis on workplace experiences, they all did 6month internships).

Downsides - culturally different, the uni wasn't great at support for things like health insurance, bills, finding a doctors etc (esp. tricky with the language barrier). But he met a couple of Germans who became good friends, and they helped him out. Doesn't seem to be the same 'halls' system that we have for first year, so you do have to be proactive in finding accommodation and meeting people.

Go for it, I say!

holiday101 Tue 17-Apr-18 21:37:09

IT isn't for me btw, I'm thinking of the dc! I will have 3 that could be at uni at the same time and now that the time is approaching it is slightly unnerving. Just trying to consider all options. Many thanks for the replies.

OP’s posts: |
holiday101 Tue 17-Apr-18 21:38:31

The flower can I ask what course your dh did? I can'tfind any undergrad courses in English.

OP’s posts: |
holiday101 Tue 17-Apr-18 21:39:36

Sorry for so many typos and addition of words, auto text is going mad tonight!

OP’s posts: |


FlowerPower25 Tue 17-Apr-18 21:41:20

He did international relations at Hochschule Rhein-Waal - I think the whole uni is in English... can't remember any other names, but I am sure there were other English-speaking unis when he was looking.

FlowerPower25 Tue 17-Apr-18 21:42:30

Should've added he had access to some sort of student loan - I'm sure you'll be able to find some info online about it!

catinapoolofsunshine Tue 17-Apr-18 21:51:36

LMU (Munich university) offers a lot of technical degree level courses in English - a fair few undergrad and more at masters level. You still have to pass a German proficiency test to get onto the degree courses if you are not a native speaker though. Munich is also a very, very expensive place to live - London prices pretty much (far more expensive than Berlin).

I saw on the Michael Moore documentary that Slovenia was a popular option with Americans, and a quick google produces studyinslovenia.si/study/programmes-in-english/

Oldowl Wed 18-Apr-18 12:34:24

DD wants to study Political Science and is drawn towards studying in The Netherlands. She attended 'Student for the day' at Leiden University in The Hague for the International Relations and Organisation course (taught in English) last week and loved it. She is keen to learn Dutch and experience another culture. Long term plan is to work for an NGO/UN/diplomatic service.

My questions: How well regarded are Dutch universities? Are degrees taught in English cash cows? How would student life in the NL differ to a UK experience. She wants to apply to University of Amsterdam and Leiden University (Hague campus).

DD would apply for Politics with Quantitative Methods at Warwick, Bristol, Exeter and Edinburgh at UK unis. She has 9A* and 3As at GCSE and is predicted A* A* A at A level (Politics, Maths and Geography).

reddressblueshoes Wed 18-Apr-18 12:41:33

Do people know about the difference between EU and International fees, and when the universities are planning to charge British students the International fees?

Looking at Leiden - which has a good international reputation, IMO - their current fee for EU/EEA is about 2k/year, but for international it becomes 10k+/year.

I am involved in various EU projects for work, and we've been told several of them are using March next year as a deadline for continued funding. I don't know what plans are in universities but if all institutions start treating UK as international from that point, you would be looking at a v steep increase in fees.

lekkerkroketje Wed 18-Apr-18 12:54:02

Some Dutch colleges are cash cows (e.g. University College Utrecht) but the courses still have to be ok to retain reputation. They seem to aim to undercut the American schools, so are expensive by Dutch standards but cheap compared to the UK. Dutch is pretty easy to learn, especially if you did German at school so maybe a Dutch foundation year before undergrad would be better. The majority of profs and students speak good English and even in a Dutch-language undergrad a lot of courses are taught in English.

Things to note - a Dutch bachelors is worthless on its own. Everyone has a masters, so expect to be paying for at least 5 years. Masters are often in English, so a UK BA then Dutch MA is common.

Accommodation is very difficult to find in a lot of cities and in my experience Dutch students aren't welcoming to foreigners. They are polite and friendly, but don't expect to be friends. This changes a bit if you find boyfriend/girlfriend and learn Dutch. Look for somewhere with lots of foreigners, but then they're often Erasmus, so leave after a year. Most Dutch students also go home every weekend, so it could be quite lonely.

user1484040234 Wed 18-Apr-18 14:17:31

Dutch Universities are very good. They are highly ranked in international tables. My DS was thinking to go to one, a beautiful campus university called Twente (that did have accomodation on site). He attended an open day and student for a day (where you shadow a first year student for a day). He had the standard CCC offer but after results came out he decided to go to his UK offer. There are many degree courses in the Netherlands that are entirely taught in English. It's a two part system, you do three years and then do a bachelors degree. You can do it with or without honours. Usually people go on to do a Masters, this takes 2 years, but you can move elsewhere for the masters. I think there are 13 universities and these normally CCC to get in with A levels (these are for Universities that are Russell Group equivalents) . There is a second tier, a bit like the former polytechnic system, these also give you a degree, but it takes 4 years for the Bachelors, you need Es to get in to those. If you do well, you can transfer from lower to higher tier unis.

user1484040234 Wed 18-Apr-18 14:21:45

My son liked Twente because it was a campus. It does mainly sciences but also does American style Liberal Arts degrees. These are quite broad, but do cost more, about 4k I think. The cost of living for students is much lower than the UK, accomodation is cheap and you can get a student travel pass.

lekkerkroketje Wed 18-Apr-18 14:59:01

Twente isn't considered very highly in the Netherlands. It's about equal to Leicester in the Shanghai rankings and by Dutch standards is in the arse-end of nowhere. It's a technical university, and mostly recruits staff who are desperate to come back to the Netherlands but can't get a job at a better university. It should still give a reasonable education though.

As with anywhere, it's a matter of picking your course carefully. Every university offers Mickey Mouse courses, and although you wouldn't have the mountains of British debt, there's no more point in getting a joke degree from somewhere no one in the UK has heard of and can't pronounce than there is from getting one from a new university in the UK.

wizzywig Wed 18-Apr-18 15:03:01

There are english medium unis in sweden and denmark

Movablefeast Wed 18-Apr-18 15:07:48

My experience in Europe is that the education system in The Netherlands is highly thought of.

user1484040234 Wed 18-Apr-18 15:27:45

In the 2018 QS rankings for Mech Eng, Twente is grouped in ranking with Loughborough, Leeds, Liverpool, Glasgow, Birmingham and higher than King's, Edinburgh and Warwick, so pretty good! Delft is the highest ranked Dutch uni for Engineering subjects but they only do Aeronautical in English at undergrad level. We also visited Eindhoven but I think it would be more difficult as a city based Uni rather than campus for a UK student to settle in there and DS felt the same.

Movablefeast Wed 18-Apr-18 16:39:59

A word of warning, do your homework with unis in the Netherlands as their initial barrier for entry may be lower (such as a CCC offer as quoted above) but some have tough 1st year exams where they weed out weaker/low performing students. So talk to them about how you progress through and how many go onto the following years. This can apply to other countries such as Italy for example.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Wed 18-Apr-18 16:46:56

Going back a decade and a half, I studied in Heidelberg. At that time some maths modules were in English (or used English textbooks) and there was the institute for German as a foreign language where the classes were geared towards international students.
It was hard to find part time work as a non native speaker even though my German was very good.
I loved living there though

Oldowl Sat 21-Apr-18 14:46:48

SuperLoud, how has your degree been seen by employers? I presume most are open to degrees from EU countries and the ability to speak another European language.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Sun 22-Apr-18 08:42:13

Heidelberg has a decent reputation but my career is based more on training I did post-degree so it's hard to say. I've known others who have completed a Masters in a UK university subsequently and that seems to have been a good move.
But the ability to settle in a new country has definitely been seen as a positive.

What actually helped a lot was the practice I got in helping non-German-speakers through bureaucracy there. There were some medical students there from all over the place who were studying something like health administration. They weren't at all confident in doing the things you had to do to stay in Germany officially and the university didn't seem to want to help.

I have been involved in advocacy in several different capacities since.

abilockhart Sun 22-Apr-18 10:00:40

My questions: How well regarded are Dutch universities?

In the THE university rankings, the University of Leiden would usually be ranked just above Bristol and Warwick. Leiden is ranked at 67, whereas Bristol is ranked 76 and Warwick at 91.

In reality, the difference in reputation is a lot greater.

Undergraduate courses in NL are not the cash cows that they are here in the UK. There is far less incentive to retain students no matter what unlike here in the UK where universities would lose £9,250 per year per student in funding. Exams are far tougher in NL and Dutch universities have no hesitation in weeding out low performing students. Students here who obtain a third or even lower second here would probably not succeed in the Dutch system.

Oldowl Sun 22-Apr-18 22:23:16

Thanks Abi and Superloud. Fingers crossed Brexit works out ok for her.

DD's school is very anti-studying outside the UK. I am sure they are afraid of the unknown and don't know how to advise her.

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