Studying abroad is an increasingly popular solution among young people. The average number of applicants to study abroad university coming from Poland increases by about 15 percent every year! Wondering if study abroad programs are for you? Read our article and learn the most important information.
Study abroad - is it worth it?
Many people considering going abroad wonder whether it is worth studying abroad.
What does studying abroad really give you? Why is it worth considering and what are the benefits associated with choosing university abroad?
- International environment – this is one of the most frequently mentioned benefits of studying abroad. During your trip you will meet new people and learn a lot about other cultures. Perhaps some of these friendships will last for years!
- A lot of practical classes – according to many students, this is a very important advantage of studying abroad. Contrary to Polish universities, prestigious academic centers in Europe and beyond put great emphasis on the practical side of education and the acquisition of skills that you will be able to use later in your professional work.
- Regarding application, students have access to cheaper recruitment fees – when applying to Denmark or the Netherlands, the recruitment fee is usually PLN 0, for England it is about PLN 150 for even 5 choices. These costs are lower than application to Polish universities where we will pay on average PLN 85 for 1 choice.
- Improving your language skills – throughout your stay abroad, you will have no choice but to use a foreign language to communicate with others, so you will naturally acquire the ability to use it fluently much faster.
- More benefits and career prospects after graduation (career abroad and in a home country) – According to Goldman Recruitment, graduates of studies abroad can count on average 70 percent higher earnings in Poland than the rest.
Are there any disadvantages of studying abroad?
It all depends on your approach. Some of the aspects related to studying away from home can be called simply a challenge.
Students often point out that settling in after arrival to a new country takes some time.
However, if you are planning to start studying abroad together with a friend, it is certainly a great support which makes a new place and environment more welcoming and approachable.
Study abroad in English
Studying abroad – one of the most important moments is receiving diplomas at the end of studies
For some people, the main obstacle to study abroad is a foreign language. Will I be able to study in German or Dutch?
You don’t have to worry about that because foreign universities also offer studies in English. When you graduate from your foreign studies, you speak English fluently, but it’s also highly likely that you learn the national language, e.g. German or Dutch, and reach at least the lower-intermediate level.
In addition, most universities offer support in so-called Academic Writing, where each student has the opportunity to work on their final papers with a tutor and improve their academic writing skills in a foreign language.
Study abroad - where to go?
Naturally, you are wondering what to consider when choosing a country to study abroad. Many candidates take into account the knowledge about a given country, financial and economic aspects, or language skills. There are plenty of studies in the English language to choose from – check out some of the most popular ones.
Studies in England are very popular among Polish tutees. In the years 2016 – 2019, Polish applicants were one of the 5 largest groups of international students in this country.
The main advantages of studying in the UK are its multiculturalism, common use of the English language and good flight connections with Poland.
Many students head to the capital city – over 50% of students from Europe choose London as their study abroad destination. It is also related to the huge number of universities – there are almost 40 of them!
Universities in England are also famous for their excellent quality of education – in the prestigious Shanghai Ranking of the TOP 50 universities around the world, there are as many as 6 English universities, of which the best UK university (as of 2020) – the University of Cambridge – takes 3rd place!
Studying in Scotland attracts students with the prospect of living in charming cities
As part of your application to study in the UK, you can also choose universities abroad in Scotland.
Studies in Scotland remain at a very high level which mainly results from the fact that universities set high requirements. Yet, it does not discourage future students – over 35% of students from Europe decide to apply to study in Scotland.
Studying in Scotland is unique and attractive thanks to its education system. A so-called flexible degree allows students to explore more majors in their 1st and 2nd years (with a possibility to change the main course of study), while in the 3rd and 4th year you already specialize in a specific field that you chose.
Such a system attracts a large number of students – if this seems a tempting option for you as well, maybe you should consider studying in Scotland?
Amsterdam is one of the most popular cities to study in the Netherlands
Almost 2,000 students annually choose to study in the Netherlands. What brings students to the country of tulips?
In the Netherlands, there are many courses in English.
If you don’t speak Dutch, that’s not a problem – in the Netherlands you can easily communicate in English with everyone!
Universities in the Netherlands are at a very high level, they always take leading positions in the rankings. They can be divided into Research Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences.
The former are universities focusing on scientific research, theoretical and practical knowledge. An example of such a university is the University of Amsterdam or the University of Groningen.
Universities of Applied Sciences are universities focusing on technical knowledge, they focus primarily on practice and professional internships integrated with the field of study.
The main difference between Research Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences is in the courses offered by these universities. At the University of Amsterdam we can find psychology, biology or economics, while at the Universities of Applied Sciences we can study computer science, marketing or creative business.
By choosing to study in the Netherlands, you can certainly count on a large dose of knowledge and preparation for work in the profession.
Students going to Denmark often decide to live in Copenhagen
Would you like to study in the happiest country in the world?
For years, Denmark has consistently been among the happiest countries in the world, which is one of the reasons for attracting so many students.
Denmark is another popular country that offers studies in English for free!
The Danish government funds studies for students from the European Union countries, thus encouraging them to move to Denmark.
In Denmark you can study at 5 types of universities:
- University Colleges
- Business Academies
- Artistic Higher Institutions
- Schools of Maritime Education.
The widest range of courses in English is offered at University Colleges and Business Academies where studies last between 3 and 4 years and the study program combines university education and a mandatory professional internship. As in the Netherlands, many students looking for practical experience choose to study in Denmark.
Studying in Germany in English is a great opportunity to travel around the country
According to UNESCO data, Germany takes the 2nd place (after the UK) in destinations to study chosen by Polish students. The main aspect here is offering education at public universities for free!
Universities in Germany are known for their large number and top quality of technical faculties such as:
- Information technology
For many students, it is also important to study relatively close to home – in this respect, Germany definitely wins over other foreign study destinations.
The Book of Kells, Dublin
What are other English-speaking countries where you can study?
If the UK doesn’t appeal to you, Ireland is definitely worth a look.
The green island and the open-mindness of the Irish people attract many Poles to the islands, students of course belong to this group.
Majors in English and Irish can be studied at 2 types of universities:
- Universities – general fields of study focused on scientific research
- Institutes of Technology – mainly technical faculties, a kind of technical university
The best university in Ireland, i.e. Trinity College Dublin is in the TOP 200 best universities around the world!
One of the most prestigious universities in the world is Harvard University in the USA
Each year, 1.5 thousand Polish students stay in the United States to study abroad.
Why is study abroad USA so popular?
First of all, universities there offer the highest level of education.
Over 40 universities from the USA are in the TOP 100 best universities around the world! Their high standard and popularity is confirmed by the common knowledge of the concept called the Ivy League, which brings together the most prestigious universities in the United States. One of them is Harvard University, which has been continuously recognized as the best university in the world for over 20 years.
Study abroad - The most popular fields of study
Don’t know which field of study to choose?
There are many options – you can certainly count on a specialized and practical approach to studies.
The majority of Polish students decide to study business, economics, technology or social sciences.
The most popular fields of study abroad include:
- Information Technology
- Medical sciences
According to NUFFIC (Dutch organization for international education), annually, over 200 students from Poland choose to study business and economics in the Netherlands. Psychology takes the 2nd place.
In Germany, on the other hand, technical and business faculties are popular.
In the UK, the popular majors are not only business, technical and social fields, but also fields of study related to medicine – such as Biology, Biomedicine, Pharmacy, Dietetics or Physiotherapy.
Study abroad - study Masters abroad
The last years of studies abroad carry much learning and a lot of exams.
Year after year, foreign Master’s studies are becoming an increasingly popular solution among graduates of bachelor’s studies in Poland.
Students applying for master’s studies abroad are primarily looking for professional experience and specialized courses that may develop their skills or completely change their professional path.
Masters study abroad programs are generally available in English and the choice is quite large here – all over Europe you can find satisfying courses of Master’s studies.
From specialized courses such as UX Design or Biotechnology Management to general courses preparing for a change of profession (such as Psychology conversion in the UK).
Medical studies abroad
One of the most popular fields of study are biomedical sciences, including medicine of course.
The idea to study medicine abroad, or study its related fields in English are not as common as other fields of study. There are only a few places in Europe offering such studies abroad.
The most popular countries for medical studies are:
- the UK
Requirements for medical studies abroad are usually higher than for other fields of study in given countries or at given universities – these studies are one of the most difficult and require an advanced knowledge of English.
Of course, medical studies can be found in many other places in Europe, but you need to realize that these will not be options in English!
For example, medical studies in Denmark are free, but only available in Danish.
Here, it is worth considering studying medical-related majors, which are more widely available in English in various European countries.
Study Abroad - Costs
Are you wondering where it is cheapest to study abroad?
It all depends on your preferences regarding the field and university.
The offers of studies abroad are varied – we can find options to study abroad for free, or very affordable ones, or more expensive studies with co-financing options, and finally big-budget studies.
When checking the costs of studying abroad, it is worth thinking about your budget first, and paying attention to a few other issues:
- Whether the cost is fixed for all universities in a given country
- Whether there are any grants or scholarships you can apply for
In addition to the cost of tuition, there is a cost of living in the chosen place, so it needs to be checked as well
Here, it is frequent that in countries offering free education, you have to take into account the higher cost of living.
How much does studying abroad cost?
There is no simple answer here as it all depends on the country.
Many European countries offer free studies.
Such studies can be found in Scandinavian countries, Germany and Finland. However, we have to take into account relatively high living expenses in these countries.
If you are considering affordable studies abroad, it is definitely worth looking at the cost of tuition fees in the Netherlands or Ireland. There, the costs are fixed for all public universities and amount to (as of 2021):
- Netherlands – €2,209
- Ireland – €3,000
In both countries, students can apply for funding or a loan for studies.
In Ireland, EU residents can be fully reimbursed, while in the Netherlands, students can apply for a loan to cover their tuition costs.
But it’s not just that.
For several years, the Netherlands has been offering reduced tuition costs for first-year students – only 50% of the standard tuition fee is paid. Students admit that this is a great help, especially during the time of getting used to a new country.
The costs of studying in the UK or the USA differ from the examples mentioned above.
In the UK, we have to accept the cost of 14,000 – 30,000 pounds per year. After Brexit, Polish students are disqualified from student loans as well. But the good news is that universities offer various scholarships that help cover tuition costs (up to 10,000 pounds).
In the USA, on the other hand, the cost of studying is really high. At state colleges, tuition is approximately $15,000 per year, while at private universities tuition fees can be as high as $60-70,000 per year.
Due to the high costs, many non-governmental organizations and universities boards offer research grants or scholarships which may cover the entire tuition fee.
Study abroad - Scholarships
In the case of more expensive studies, students obviously look for various funding options, also universities try to attract potential students with their offers of financial support.
The widest variety of scholarships to study abroad is offered by:
- the UK, where granting a scholarship is most often inextricably linked to good academic results – either of school-leaving exams or in the first years of study. Scholarships are awarded in various amounts and may reach over ten thousand pounds.
- USA, which offers scholarships for tuition fees dependent on family income or grants for students (mainly graduate students) to continue their scientific work. Students can count on fundings ranging from a dozen to tens of thousands of dollars.
In addition to support in paying tuition costs, students can often put in for additional financial assistance. It is usually conditioned by the family income or the student’s earnings.
For example, in the Netherlands, if you have a low income and work part-time, you can apply for a grant for daily expenses, which will subsidize your monthly bus pass.
In Denmark, on the other hand, subsidizing the cost of living is offered to anyone who works and studies at the same time.
Many students indicate that such financial support is a great relief for them and is one of the key aspects influencing their choice of a country to study.
Study abroad for free
As residents of the European Union, we can study abroad for free in:
In the case of Germany, France or Austria, free studies are available at public universities, where international students need to know at least basics of the German or French language – so knowing the official language has to be taken into account when deciding on a public university in these countries.
Private universities usually require the knowledge of English only – but studying there is not free of charge. Usually, tuition costs at private universities are between 5 and 20,000 euros per year.
Study Abroad - Life
Do you want to study abroad, but you’re not sure whether you can get along there?
Many of your age-mates think the same!
The first weeks can be stressful, but what definitely helps settle in is the company of other international students.
Most students choose a dormitory in their first year of study. Thanks to it, they have the opportunity to meet a lot of new people. Another option to quickly get to know the university and integrate with others is to participate in the Orientation/Freshers Week at the university – many students emphasize that they usually keep in touch with people they meet on such events throughout their studies!
What’s more, foreign universities offer mutual support systems. New students are matched and contacted with more experienced colleagues called buddies – such a student supports you and helps you with various organizational issues or problems on the spot.
Many students also decide to work during their studies, usually part-time.
Classes at foreign studies take about 20 hours a week, so there is enough time for additional activities – study and work.
In English-speaking countries, you will easily find a part-time job in a store or customer service.
Even universities look for students to work on campus or as marketing support for promotional webinars.
If you have any questions about living in a given country, remember that you can always talk to mentors – people who study in a given country or at a given university.
When choosing to study abroad in Europe, access to health care in a given country is provided by the EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card). With the EHIC card, you can go to a general practitioner, e.g. in Ireland, it is totally free of charge when you have the EHIC card with you.
In the case of countries requiring a student visa (such as Great Britain or the USA), it is necessary to purchase health insurance.
The UK visa includes a mandatory health fee, while when applying for a US visa, you need to confirm you have private health insurance.
Study Abroad - Requirements
You already know what to look for when choosing a country and a university.
Have you already chosen a place you want to apply to? Wondering what needs to be done next?
How to get to study abroad?
First of all, it is necessary to prepare an application for studies.
Most countries have one system through which the application is submitted – in the UK it is UCAS, in Denmark Optagelse, in the Netherlands Studielink and in Ireland CAO.
Documents that are usually required for the application include:
- covering letter
- references from high-school teachers
Some countries may require additional documents, they include the following:
- high school curriculum
- assessment certificates / report card
- additonal exam, e.g. SAT
What document is the most important when applying for studies abroad?
Studying abroad with Polish Matura
The main requirement at most foreign universities is passing the high school final exam. Regardless of a country, a high school diploma is a prerequisite for applying for bachelor’s studies.
Most countries enable application for studies before getting the results of the final school exam. After receiving them, it is enough to send necessary documents to the university. Each document originally in Polish must always be translated by a certified translator!
IB International exam
In addition to the Polish Matura exam, you can also take the International IB exam.
It is accepted in all European countries and also allows you to apply for studies abroad.
If you are interested in a specific field of study, be sure to check what are the requirements for subjects at HL (Higher Levej) and SL (Standard Level) on the university’s website.
What English certificate is needed?
It is a very important requirement when applying for studies in English, each student must confirm the knowledge of English at the required level.
In the case of the IB exam, its passing is equal to the certificate.
All other students will be required to pass a language test and get a certificate.
The most popular certificates are:
However, before looking for certificates, it is worth checking whether the university you want to apply to accepts the Polish Matura with B2 English level – a satisfying result from this exam may exempt you from the need to pass the certificate.
Application to study abroad with EduCat
Have you read the article and want to apply to study abroad? Do you have any questions about the application?
EduCat will help you with the application process to study abroad. Our Mentors support students at various stages of preparing for the application – whether you need help with the application system, issues before going to university or the entire process from start to finish. You can use all the support in one place – on the EduCat platform.
In the meantime, write to us and we will try to answer all your questions and help you prepare for your studies abroad.