As one might expect, the percentage of students that studied abroad declined dramatically due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. However, as the world starts to open back up again, many students are dreaming of their European study abroad opportunities.
When it’s time to decide where to study abroad, it can be a bit overwhelming. After all, there are truly endless options. You can study in a city or in the countryside or by the sea or in the mountains.
Are you wondering where the best places to study abroad in Europe are?
Let’s take a look at some of the top spots where you can spend a semester.
Italy is one of the most popular choices when it comes to studying abroad in Europe. This is a particularly good choice for students who are interested in architecture, art, or world history.
You might choose to study abroad in Rome where you can be deeply immersed in ancient history and culture. For a quieter study abroad experience, consider Tuscany. If you focus on the historical period of the Renaissance, Florence is an excellent option.
If you are a student that is focusing on international business or economics, Milan is an excellent choice. Probably the best option for theater and film majors is Taormino, which is often called the “jewel of the Mediterranean.” Sitting on the summit of Mt. Tauro, this medieval village is otherworldly.
By far the most popular place to study abroad in Portugal is Lisbon. There are a lot of benefits to choosing Portugal as your home country for a semester or two.
For one, studying abroad in Portugal will help you learn Portuguese, which is the official language of a number of countries including Brazil, Angola, and, of course, Portugal. This is the second most spoken language in Latin America, so it’s definitely useful if you plan on doing more traveling in the future!
On top of that, the cost of living is relatively low in Portugal compared to other European countries. This means that you can get more out of your study abroad experience for less money.
Sweden is known for having excellent universities and for being one of the most innovative nations in the entire world. There are quite a few multinational companies in Sweden, which gives you the opportunity to see what you’re studying in real-life situations.
In addition, Sweden is filled with amazing places to visit in your free time. You can journey between palaces, visit museums, and marvel at the stunning National Parks. Other perks include the fact that Sweden is one of the happiest countries in the world and one of the safest countries in the world!
A number of the best cities for studying abroad in Europe are in Germany. One of the most popular choices is Berlin, which is an incredible city that is known for its world-class museums, art scene, and global influence in a number of spheres. In Berlin alone, there are more than forty institutions of higher education and sixty research facilities.
If you don’t speak German, there are a number of international and satellite schools in the city.
Another good choice for students studying abroad in Europe is Dresden. A truly beautiful city sometimes called the “Florence of the North,” this is a city with several big tech companies and world-class universities.
Hamburg is also a popular study abroad destination in Germany. With a number of major corporations and a bustling port, this city is a vital economic hub in the country. There are also awesome opportunities to view the beauty of European nature along the Elbe River, the North Sea coast, and Alster Lake.
If none of these German cities strike your fancy, consider looking into Munich or Frankfurt.
Thousands of international students head to Spain every year. With incredible architecture, unique culture, delicious food, and dynamic cities, spending a semester in Spain is an opportunity you won’t want to pass up.
Barcelona is the second-largest city in Spain and is a popular choice when it comes to studying abroad. The capital of the Catalonia region, Barcelona is a thriving and colorful city that’s known for its art scene and nightlife.
Of course, the capital city of Spain is also a great option for studying abroad. Madrid can be a fairly accessible spot for international students, with food available at all hours of the day, an easy-to-navigate metro system, and lots of convenient ways to travel to other parts of the country.
If you’re looking for smaller cities to spend a semester in, some other great Spanish options include Granada, Valencia, and Salamanca.
Visiting Paris is perhaps one of the first things that come to mind when you think about traveling to Europe. Paris is filled with cutting-edge universities, endless things to do, incredible dining opportunities, and more. However, one of the cons of this choice is that Paris is pretty expensive these days.
However, don’t get shot down based on the cost of living in a city alone. There are scholarships international students can apply for, and you might find that these really open up what your options are.
Another option when it comes to studying abroad in France is Lyon. Considered the capital of gastronomy in the country, this is an awesome choice for food lovers. As a former territory of the Roman Empire, history majors will find that this is an excellent place to explore the lands of ancient times.
Nice is a lovely place to spend a semester where you can lounge on the beach and take in stunning mountain views. This city is close to incredible locales including Cannes, San Tropez, and Monaco. While this can give you the chance to have the trip of a lifetime, it also might start to eat into your student budget!
7. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom can be an excellent place to study abroad for students that want to explore other cultures but aren’t interested in learning another language. There’s so much history here, as well as incredible architecture, art, and culture.
One compelling option in the UK is Leeds. Many people consider this to be the city that offers you the best bang for your buck when you’re traveling and studying abroad.
Located in northern England, Leeds has the cozy vibes of the countryside while also offering the thriving nightlife of a big city. On top of all that, it’s more affordable than a lot of other locales in the UK.
Another obvious option is Cambridge. This is where you can literally walk around cobblestone roads that are steeped in history, where you can follow the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest thinkers.
Of course, many students also choose to study abroad in London. One of the most famous cities in the world, you can have an authentic English experience here. One drawback of studying abroad in London, though, is that this city really has gotten to be quite expensive.
In fact, London is considered the seventeenth most expensive city in the entire world.
8. The Netherlands
Another one of the most popular European countries for study abroad is the Netherlands. Here you can live among shimmering canals and cozy cafes.
The Netherlands is considered a very open-minded society and is filled with prestigious universities. The people here are also very skilled when it comes to languages, and many Dutch people speak three or four languages. That makes this a great place no matter what language you’re trying to immerse yourself in.
One of the most common choices for Dutch cities to study abroad in is Amsterdam. However, that isn’t your only option! Consider checking into Maastricht, Utrecht, Nijmegen, and Leeuwarden to get off the beaten path a bit.
Studying abroad in Switzerland is a high pros, high cons situation. On the one hand, it’s a beautiful country where you can get a world-class education. On the other hand, Switzerland is often considered the world’s most expensive country to live and the culture can be very serious.
If you’re interested in studying abroad in Switzerland, one of the most obvious choices is Zurich. This is a globally recognized center of finance and banking. Other great options include Lausanne, Geneva, Bern, and Basel.
Ireland is a place with a vibrant history, a fun-loving culture, and breathtaking natural landscapes.
Dublin is an excellent choice for studying abroad in Europe. However, you’ll want to make sure you set up a realistic budget for yourself before you hop on the plane. As one of the most expensive cities in the world, you might find that it’s all a bit too easy to spend more than you planned to.
Dublin is the economic heart of Ireland but is still a relatively quiet capital city by European standards.
Other Irish options include Limerick, Galway, Cork, and Maynooth.
If you’re feeling dismayed by how expensive a lot of the European cities mentioned so far have been, never fear.
The cost of living in Poland is quite a bit cheaper than in Western and Northern Europe. At the same time, you will still be receiving a world-class education. In fact, the education system in Poland dates all the way back to the Middle Ages.
Warsaw might just be the best city in Poland for international students who are studying abroad. This is the capital of Poland as well as the largest city in the country. Most of the city was destroyed during World War II, but it was reconstructed beautifully and is world-famous for its architecture.
Cracow is the second-best choice for studying abroad. Once the capital of Poland, Cracow is a city filled with architectural icons as its buildings and infrastructure largely survived the chaos of World War II.
12. The Czech Republic
There are a lot of good reasons to study abroad in the Czech Republic. This eastern European country is more affordable than other European destinations. There’s also a thriving student population here where international students can find affordable places to live.
If you pursue a course exclusively taught in Czech at either a state or public institution, the tuition costs are waived!
This is also a great spot because it’s centrally located in Europe. This means that you can travel to just about any spot on the continent from a convenient location.
Prague is by far the most popular city in the Czech Republic for international students. Beyond that, Krumlov and Brno are also good locations to study abroad in the country.
Helsinki is the most popular city in Finland for international students. Here you can find incredible modern architecture, thriving nightlife, and so much more. You’ll also have the benefits of living right on the sea, where you’ll see locals ice fishing, kite surfing, and skiing.
This is definitely the social and academic center of Finland. However, Tampere can be a good option for those looking for a smaller city.
Denmark is a safe, beautiful country that is famous for its cozy hygge concept. The largest city and capital is Copenhagen, which is both traditional and historic as well as hip and modern. With medieval churches and art-house theaters, you’ll find this is a fascinating example of how old and new can coexist.
If you’re looking to get more off the beaten path, check out Aarhus, Aalborg, and Odense.
The Best Places to Study Abroad in Europe: Where Will You Be Spending a Semester?
As you can see, you have plenty of options when it comes to studying abroad in Europe. Whether you want to be in a big city or a small town, on the Mediterranean or bordering northern seas, there are lots of accessible choices.
Did you find this article about the best places to study abroad in Europe helpful? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more informative and useful content!