College Abroad

Parent Q&A

  • College in the US $$$$ vs Europe where it's free?

    (8 replies)

    I just read an article about US students attending college in Europe where it's free vs. the US where they would have to pay around $50,000 per year.  The article said classes are presented in colleges language and then repeated in English for foreign students.

    Any BPN parents sent a child off to Europe to save on the cost of college?


    There are school in Holland, like University College Utrecht and University College Amsterdam, where instruction is in English. You can Google them. With a European passport tuition is around $3 K, for Internationals about $10 K a year. These are excellent liberal arts colleges with small classes. Amsterdam is a bit crazy, for my taste, but Utrecht is a quintessential student city.

    My cousin is getting her masters in Germany. It is free but she said she had to pass a written test in German.

    Yes, I agree on considering Canada. My daughter will start at McGill in Montreal this fall. The tuition for international students is comparable to a UC, the cost of living in Montreal is quite low, and travel to Montreal is comparable to flying to NYC in terms of cost and distance. I am still amazed at how low the overall fees will be. The only downside is the winter weather, which is quite severe, but she is excited to learn about a new culture without being too far away from home. 

    I second the advice of one of the posters to consider Canada.  Our daughter has been a student at McGill University in Montreal and has found it to be a wonderful experience.  There are a few other students from surrounding highschools at McGill, and she knows many others attending other Canadian institutions.  She has really enjoyed being the "international" student among many of her peers and has gained a different perspective on her home now that she is on the outside looking in. Learning about the culture and politics of another country has contributed to her overall education. The cost is comparable to a UC.  And, the cost of living is relatively low.  Certainly in Montreal.  She would definitely encourage students heading to college to consider another country.  Great experience, something different. 

    OMG, think carefully, especially when it's a freshman. Apart from tuition that, depending on the country, may or may not be all that low (ditto cost of living), there are other expenses, mostly travel: going there with your kid to check out schools, going there with your kid to get kid settled, getting kid home for winter break, etc. University abroad can be an expensive and time-consuming project. (I speak from experience; It cost us just as much as U.C. Davis would have and was far less convenient.)

    Not that you asked us, but I think an 18-year-old, however smart and well-behaved, is too young to go overseas to university unless there are trustworthy friends or relatives around who've sworn to look out for her/him, or a dormitory system that provides some structure. (Again, I am speaking from experience; my husband's family were well-meaning but too busy to see much of our daughter.)

    If you do decide on a university abroad, speak IN PERSON with parents who've also sent their children to that school; don't depend solely on Web sites and charming brochures and university employees. Sorry to be so discouraging, but the university-abroad experience has changed a lot since I did it as a 21-year-old. Good luck.

    Michael Moore's film Where to Invade Next, talked about free college in Slovenia, even for Americans. I see an article in the Wahington Post about places that have free college, with different caveats.

    I have *heard* that tuition in Germany is free. I do know of a friend's daughter, from Oakland, who attended undergrad in London ( not free, but less than tuition here) who now is in grad school in Gerrmany, where tuition is free.
    It is my understanding that classes in the universities in Amsterdam and Copenhagen are taught in English, but I don't know about tuition for international students.
    My own daughter attends college in Canada, and I know several other kids who did the same. There are thousands of students from the US at her university. We pay international tuition; comparable to tuition at a UC. Canadian citizens do pay far less. We're very satisfied!
    I believe that students who spend 4 years at a Canadian uni and graduate are eligible fora three year Canadian work permit; that can open the door to Canadian citizenship... an appealing perk in this election cycle.

    No, but I am British so I would definitely consider sending my kids back to England for university if they wanted to. Currently the highest fees are 9,000 gbp a year (about $13,500, but less at the moment because of Brexit!). If you aren't a citizen though your kids will have to pay international fees, which will probably be substantially higher. I doubt there are other countries in Europe that will college educate a non-resident/non-citizen for free but I might be wrong. 

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IB student wants to study abroad for college

May 2011

My child, a junior in the IB school at BHS, wants to go study abroad for college. We have been looking online and like some schools in Europe, but there is only so much you can find online. The BHS counselors, though great, are not very helpful in this field. Does anybody have experience with sending their kid to college abroad and can share some pointers where to turn? Is the IB program helpful at all, since (if) the kids earn the diploma, it will be on the end of the senior year? Or can someone recommend a college counselor/coach who is familiar with schools abroad? confused IB mom

We may be pursuing a British or Scottish University for our youngest daughter. It is easy to apply through the ucas system -- there is a common entry form. You apply as a foreign student. There has to be a teacher's recommendation, which you will see. They want to see AP courses. A UK degree is often viewed as a higher standard than a US degree. You can transfer back course credits to a US institution. UK fees are rising. The English ones have already gone up, the Scottish and Welsh may follow. The English universities require that you declare a major. The Scottish system may be more open about majors. You graduate in three years from an English University. I believe British schools like American students as they earn more in fees for foreign students. This is all I know currently. Good luck, Judith judith

To go to college abroad there are one of two ways. Either your student applies and is accepted to a foreign college and then you aquire the appropriate travel documents or the student attends a US school that has an existing exchange program and goes abroad for a specified amount of time, usually a semester or year.

There are other ways to study abroad, but all are shorter duration (several weeks or a few months as opposed to a a full four years). My organization and I work primarily with high school students going abroad. We do have a Work and Travel program for high school graduates as well as teach or volunteer abroad as well.

Here is the State Dept. link to their Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs dept, I think that is an excellent place to start. I hope that helps. Candace

You've received some good advice about applying to foreign universities. One more thought: See if you can't meet and/or e-mail with parents whose children have gone to foreign universities, especially as freshmen. Even a mature 18-year-old is very young--too young, in my opinion, to be quite that far from home. I speak from experience, and I now believe that it's better for them to have at least two years of university experience closer to home before trying their wings abroad. (Not to mention the expense of visiting foreign universities, international-student tuition, flying them back and forth, etc.!) Best wishes to you and your family. mel