Recent reports have emerged from the Institute of International Education showing that more and more American students are choosing to study abroad. In the academic year 2013 – 2014, the number of students making the choice to study abroad was up by 72% when compared to the figures for 2000 – 2001. Instead of studying abroad for their one semester break, figures indicate that the majority of students are now attending all four years in a foreign city. Moody’s Investors Service released a report last month that showed the number of students enrolled in college outside of their home countries has risen by 463% in the period from 1975 – 2012, whilst the number of foreign students deciding to study in the U.S is also up by 70%.
Regardless of the mounting interest in obtaining a global education, American students have very little information available to them in order to understand the various college processes which a different from country to country. Jennifer Viemont the co-founder of Beyond the States, which is a comprehensive database of 350 colleges in 30 different countries that offer bachelor degrees that are taught in English, has reported being shocked over the lack of a European equivalent to the Princeton review or Fiske guide as there is so much information available in the U.S for their educational choices. Viemont began researching colleges abroad when her own son expressed a strong interest in attending college abroad, and she found that other than the country specific websites there was very little other literature available.
Colleges that are based in Europe can prove to be an incredibly cheap option for American students. There are forty private and public colleges situated in continental Europe that offer the bachelor’s degree taught in English to Americans for free. Not only this, there are also a further 98 colleges that have tuition fees of less than $4,000 per year. The European colleges want the American students because they are able to charge higher tuition fees for non-residents of the European Union. However, according to the College Board, Americans would still be paying a fraction of the cost that they would at home, with current figures for the average out of state tuition for private universities topping $32,000 per year. The only European colleges that are more expensive are those that are owned by American universities such as Bard College in Berlin and the American College in Paris.
Obviously there are additional costs for Americans that choose to study in Europe. The European universities do not own dorms in the same way that the American universities do and therefore the cost of living off campus has to be considered and this does vary by city and country. Additional costs such as regular flights home will also add a few thousand dollars to the total.
It appears that the main reasons that are holding American students back from studying away from home is that they are scared that they will be sacrificing the quality of their education and also their career opportunities in Northern America. The majority of students also worry that a name of a university from Europe will not carry the same weight as one from the U.S, however the huge advantage of graduating a year early with minimal debt seems to be a huge deciding factor that has alieved the students fears and worries, plus they also get to travel the world too.
Recently a 21-year-old college senior returned to his home in Baltimore to finish his schooling after he had been studying in Germany. He confirmed that he had one regret, this was that he didn’t apply to study his whole course in Berlin. This senior graduated recently with a degree in German language and literature explained how much cheaper studying was in Germany. He explained that he only applied to U.S colleges as he was more familiar with American schools and felt that like the majority of American students did not feel Continental universities would have the same academic rigor, however based on his experience, he now confirms that it is simply a different kind of rigor.