If all the continents were cast in a movie to reflect the world we live in, Europe would be the main character. The root of civilization and center of many turn-of-the-century movements, Europe is a place many dream of living in.
Renowned worldwide for its academic prestige owing to the centralized educational standard enacted by the Bologna Process that standardized educational quality across the continent, it is no wonder that Europe is also a favorite amongst academics indeed.
With its many academic mobility programs and top-performing universities come an abundance of scholarship opportunities that further encourage the most exceptional students all over the globe to invest their talents in this union. In this article, we will be picking out some of the best deals amongst the vast sea of prestigious scholarships in Europe.
Living Costs in Europe for International students
The general consensus for living in Europe is that it isn’t cheap but not necessarily expensive as a whole so long as one knows where to look and how to keep their feet on the ground. As a continent made up of many different countries, each with its own economy and corresponding standards of life, living costs across the European map may vary considerably.
Expected expenses generally range between €650 and €800 per month with bigger cities going for upwards of €1,500 or even €3,250 monthly, such in the case of Switzerland as the most expensive country in the world second only to Singapore. Meanwhile, the cheapest European countries often cited are Bulgaria, Spain, and the Visegrad Four.
Can international students work in Europe?
Most European countries allow international students to work during their studies, under certain conditions. These conditions usually include attaining a certain level of language proficiency in the country’s vernacular, restrictions on taking jobs in certain industries such as entertainment or freelance, and a work hour cap that usually goes for around 10 to 20 hours per week.
On the other hand, EU/EEA nationals studying EU-member countries besides their own are usually exempt from these rules (if not, given laxer restrictions) and may freely work as though they were citizens thanks to the European Union’s Freedom of Movement clause.
Top Universities in Europe:
Despite being a relatively small continent, Europe is littered with many of the best educational institutions the world can offer. Boasting a whopping 381 world-ranking universities and having some of its oldest universities establishing themselves with their contributions that helped pave the way for the modern world, it is no wonder Europe precedes its reputation as a center of knowledge and academic progress.
These top universities include the coveted University of Oxford, the innovative ETH Zurich, the honored Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University (PSL), the entrepreneurial Technische Universität München, and the distinguished Delft University of Technology, among many others.
Best Scholarships in Europe
Perhaps the first program that comes to mind for most prospective students eyeing Europe for their studies, with its flurry of partner universities and international recognition, is the Erasmus+.
A project spearheaded by the European Union that has only proven itself reliable and most accessible over the years, it is no wonder Erasmus+ continues to be among the top scholarship choices globally since its inception in 1987. This reputation is superseded by the scholarship program’s relative generosity as it covers most, if not all, fees students can expect to incur at their chosen schools or institutes. This scholarship in Europe typically lasts 3 to 12 months, sometimes even 24 months under special conditions. It includes many benefits such as monthly stipends for living expenses typically amounting to €300/month.
2. Chevening Scholarship
The United Kingdom is certainly a fan-favorite for would-be international students what with the star-studded cast of world-class universities this country offers. In line with this is the Chevening Scholarship, a program the British government established to offer support to international students who wish to lead and become the positive change their home countries need. This support lasts one year and expects all scholars to return and stay in their home countries for at least two years at the end of their scholarship period.
This Europe scholarship mainly includes tuition bursaries (capped at £22,000 for MBA students) and covers processing fees such as the government-mandated TB tests and visa fees. This scholarship also offers a round-trip travel grant between the UK and each scholar’s home country and a monthly stipend to help offset their living and accommodation costs. These stipends’ amounts may vary from scholar to scholar and are proportional to the expected living costs of the city their universities are located in.
3. German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
The DAAD is a scholarship organization established to promote the academic mobility of students outbound and inbound Germany. It is the biggest independent scholarship organization in the world, supporting over 2.6 million scholars as of today, and continues to award grants to support students both German and international in their study and research pursuits.
Benefits of these scholarships in Europe tend to include travel grants, health/accident insurance, research allowances, family benefits, language course bursaries, and monthly stipends that generally range from €861 to €1200–as is the case of Forschungsstipendien – Promotionen in Deutschland, the DAAD’s premier doctoral scholarship.
4. Rhodes Scholarship
If there were a crop of European international scholarships, the Rhodes Scholarship would probably be the cream with its status as the oldest and most prestigious scholarship program in the world. Established with the vision of enabling opportunities for exceptional graduate students from all over the world, this famous scholarship fully funds around a hundred new scholars to study in the University of Oxford each year.
This includes covering university fees, airfare, visa/NHS surcharges, and living expenses of each recipient. As of 2021-2022, the budget for living expenses that each scholar can expect to receive is stated to be around £17,310.
5. Swedish Institute Scholarship for Global Professionals
The Swedish Institute Scholarship for Global Professionals is one of the most sought-after European scholarships and this comes with good reason; each and every one of its recipients are given full rides for a masters’ program at the Swedish university of their choice and having their health & accident insurances covered at the same time.
Scholars are also set to receive 10,000 kr monthly to supplement their living expenses with some students even eligible for a one-time travel grant of 10,000 to 15,000 kr depending on their country of origin. Most eye-catching of all are the opportunities the Global Professionals scholarship opens up with its organized networking, which scholars automatically gain access to upon beginning and/or completing their scholarship periods.
6. Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships
As part of its efforts to further advance Switzerland’s globalization and strengthen relationships with its fellow countries, the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS) offers in-bound international scholarships to outstanding students all over the globe on behalf of the Swiss government. This is known as the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships program.
This program comes in two categories: research and art, with both enjoying the same benefits despite variations in criteria. Awarded scholars will all have their studies fully funded with the FCS covering tuition fees, board, insurance charges, and any miscellaneous student expenses (i.e. research) they may incur. Government Excellence scholars are also granted round-trip airfare and a monthly allowance for living expenses that reportedly amount to at least 1,920 CHF/month.
7. Eiffel Excellence Scholarship
The French government opens up applications for the Eiffel Excellence Scholarship every year to encourage international students to study in France. This program was established with the goal of fostering future global leaders in engineering and the liberal arts, in addition to further globalizing and strengthening the country’s international relations.
Awarded scholars for this Europe Scholarships are exempted from enrollment fees and will have their health/medical insurance covered throughout their scholarship periods. This scholarship also includes round-trip airfare, a two-time local travel reimbursement, a housing allowance, and a monthly allowance amounting to either €1,181 or €1,700 over the course of 12 to 36 months. This scholarship does not cover tuition fees.