“An unknown force is calling me Perhaps the voice of that star perched on the last height Perhaps the desire to see the spaces that conceal Europe.”
– Hélène Baronne d’Oettingen, The Cubist Poets in Paris: An Anthology
Why study in Europe?
For some Indians, Europe is a great tourist destination, an ideal summer getaway; for others, it is a continent in deep trouble now due to its economic problems. However, did you know that it is also a great place to study?
There are more than 4000 higher education institutions in Europe, from top-level research establishments to small, teachingfocused colleges. In this article, we focus on undergraduate education in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, the three European countries that most Indian students choose to study in.
So why study in Europe?
Quality of education: Universities in Europe are highly ranked. There are three German universities, three Dutch universities, and four Swiss universities in the list of the top 100 universities in the world.
Great value for money: The higher education systems of many countries in continental Europe are heavily subsidised by their national governments. The tuition fees of the top universities of continental Europe are, on average, 75% less compared to the top universities in the USA. In Germany, for example, only four out of the 16 federal states charge tuition fees of upto €500 per semester, while the others only request a certain amount of money as a semester contribution (about €50) but charge no tuition fees.
Work while studying: According to EU regulations, international students are allowed to work for 90 days (120 days in Germany) in a year to supplement their income.
Quality of living: Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland offer a high quality of life with a safe and welcoming environment. All of them have a great system of public transport. The countries are extremely picturesque; Amsterdam is one of the most progressive and artistic cities in the world.
Many students worry that language will pose a barrier to studying in Europe. However, European universities offer quite a few courses which are taught in English, and let international students answer their exams in English (the number of such courses vary according to university and demand, so do check with the university when you are applying). In addition, some countries like Germany and Switzerland require that students take a year’s course in German to better understand technical terms, etc., after which they are well able to complete their studies in these languages. Indian students who have taken courses in Max Mueller and Alliance Française, or who have studied these languages in school, have an easier time. In addition, English is generally common in Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland; hence Indian students report few language barriers in supermarkets, banks, etc.
Where to study?
- Technical University Munich: This governmentfunded university, founded in 1868, has over 31,000 students. It is among the highest acclaimed universities in the world, producing several Nobel Laureates. It is a member of the TU9, an incorporated society of the largest and most notable German institutes of technology.
- Heidelberg University: This public research university located in Heidelberg, Germany, was founded in 1386 by the Holy Roman Empire, making it the oldest German University. It has over 26,000 students. The university consists of 12 faculties (teaching disciplines like art, science, etc.) and offers degree programmes at undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels in around 100 disciplines.
- Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich: This public research university, established in 1472, is also one of the oldest universities in Germany. It is one of Germany’s ‘elite’ universities, and has over 45,000 students.