I want to go to a European university - any advice?

I’m a fifteen-year-old girl living in Alabama who wants to go to college in Europe. I’m actually a citizen of the European Union (dual citizenship) and I’m in the IB program at my school. That being said, what colleges/universities should I look in to? So far, I have looked at Oxford, Cambridge, and University of Dublin.
I would love to go to any one of these schoosl, but with such fierce competition I need to have several options in mind. I’ve been looking into colleges in the UK, but I would be interested in any college that teaches courses in English.

Any advice about these colleges or Europe in general would be appreciated, but I also have some specific questions. I know that colleges in the U. S. like to see applicants with loooooong lists of extracurricular activities and volunteer work, which is part of the reason why I don’t want to go to college here. In general, do European colleges (or, more specifically, those in the UK) expect similar lists from their applicants?

Well as a fellow alabamian let me be the first to jump in and say Hi. I was going to attend LSE (London School of Economics) I backed out cause “I was in Love” blech I was a fool. Then I was going to go to a really cool Summer semester at University College of Cork Ireland. The stress and timing of a dead family member put that on hold.

Of course, The university of Pittsburg had a thing called “Semester at sea” which sounded fantastic.
well I googled the link. http://www.semesteratsea.com/

Some of the EUro Dopers can chime in after I bump this for you :slight_smile:

Have a great time when you do decide to go.

Thanks! Was it hard to get in to LSE?

Well, I’ll just give you some ramblings, but be warned I’ve never personally studied abroad.

First of all, let me put in a quick plug for my own Alma Mater, the University of Amsterdam (link to english page).

Second: what kind of subject are you going to study? The choice of university is influenced by the subject (or major) you want to do. Lots of universities specialize, so general recommendations are pretty useless.

Third: do you want to complete a full Bachelors/Masters program, or only study for a year or so? It looks like the former. If you want to complete a full program, it is much more difficult to do so in non-English speaking countries if you do not speak the language. As far as I can tell from my old university, they do offer a major for English speakers, but the curriculum is severely curtailed.

Although mostly everyone in the Netherlands, and certainly at university, speaks passable English, offering a full course in English for the small percentage of students who don’t understand Dutch would be too taxing. There are a lot of courses open for foreign students which are specifically done in English, but that is not the case for all courses. Therefore although you may have great fun doing a year of study without learning the language, doing a full study is not recommended. My brother and sister both have attended a year at a foreign university (France and US) and seemed to have had great fun and learned the language well, but the additional academic knowledge was not very great; if that is the only goal you might better stay at home.

On the other hand, given that you still have several years to go, you might want to consider actually learning the language. It is an enormous asset if you have finished university education and are able to speak a foreign language fluently. You could try following courses for a few years. When you then get in the foreign country you probably will not yet be able to speak very fluently, but by being immersed in the language you will quickly pick up most of it. Do not worry about not being able to follow the lectures in the language: you should come in the summer before the lectures start, and for most local people academic language is foreign just the same.

If you are going to learn a language, think about which one to pick. Unfortunately Dutch is not very useful for you so I cannot in good faith recommend it to you (although you will be able to speak to Coldfire in his native tongue), better stick to something like French or Italian or even German.

Hope this helps.

In UK universities, if you hold citizenship of a country in the EU, you pay the same tuition fees as a domestic student, currently £1000 a term. I presume the same applies elsewhere in the EU, although I don’t know what the fees are for each member country. There is talk, however of allowing universities to hike these fees up - Oxford appears to be one that is keen on this.

What do you want to do? This will dictate where you go to some extent.

UK universities are less demanding in terms of extra curricular activities than American ones, but obviously, the more competitive the course is, the more such things are likely to count. So, for example, Oxford and Cambridge are very competitive (though it will depend in the college you apply to to some extent).

The other thing to bear in mind is the cost of living in the EU as opposed to the us. It varies greatly, but the UK, particularly in London and the south east, will be higher than you are used to. In Scotland, Edinburgh is a pretty expensive place. Over in Ireland, Dublin is also pricey, but I’ve no idea about the rest of Ireland.

You may want to think about American sponsored universities over here in the UK such as Huron University ( http://www.huron.ac.uk )
It has a similar syllabus and teaching standard to the American universities, although that’s probably why you wanted to get away from America in the first place :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m pretty sure that German universities charge no fees, which is a bonus straight up. They also have limited courses in English, but they do teach German, which I imagine could be picked up pretty easily if you lived there.

Then again, you’d have to be pretty into it to want to do your degree in a completely different language.

I think some other European unis have similar set-ups in terms of fees (or lack-thereof) and English courses.

Admit it - the only reason you want to go to a european university is so that you can legally drink at 18… :smiley:

Actually, my dad suggested i go to a US university but i didn’t want to, mainly because i wouldn’t have been able to legally drink. A little shallow i suppose, but i don’t regret my decision.

Regarding your question on what UK universities require in terms of extra curricular activities. It was a while ago now, but i seem to remember that not being very important. AFAIK the most important things are your grades, and the reasons you give for wanting to study the course. Basically they want to be sure you’re bright enough to do the course, and well motivated enough to finish it.

I did have to put down some extra curricular activities on the form, but i just put down bog standard things, like one team sport ( i think it was football), current affairs, and one other equally lame answer. I got offers from all 6 of the universities i applied to. I wasn’t doing a very high demand course though (economics and social science), so the situation might well be different depending on what you want to do.

there a few universities in Ghent, Belgium, that provide classes/courses tutored in English.

check this out

plus, Ghent is prettry central, it’ll take you 1 hour to Holland, and 2 to France!

It’s a rocking city, too, and we’ve 368 different brands of beer!

why wait?

Thanks for the advice, everybody. I’ll check out those universities. To answer your questions, I want to study international business law and do a full bachelors program. I am taking Spanish (this is my third year) and I can speak Finnish passably well, but I don’t know that I would be comfortable taking courses in either language. Basically, I want to study in Europe because I’d like to live and work there.
I have heard that it will be pricey, but considering how much money my parents will be saving on tuition (without a scholarship, it can cost up to $40,000 per year in the US) I should be all right.

Oh, and to those people who think I only want to Europe so I can drink: you caught me. :wink: