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The Top Countries To Study Abroad In Europe (And How To Get Your Student Visa)

Studying abroad is a thrilling, life-changing adventure that many university students have the opportunity to experience over the course of their education. It’s becoming more accessible for students across the country, with many scholarships and grants targeted toward those who want to learn outside of the confines of their home university. There’s a reason why 2 million more students visited European territories in 2014 than in 2000!

Luckily, securing a student visa is still relatively painless, as long as the right paperwork is submitted in a timely fashion. Once you’ve decided exactly where you want to go and how you’re going to get there, you can spend less time worrying and more time planning the semester (or academic year!) of a lifetime.

We’ve already talked about specific cities that are great for studying abroad. Here are some of the most popular countries for international students in general, as well as some information about how to secure the proper documentation to get there.

Germany Is Eager For You To Come

Germany is actively seeking to recruit prospective students throughout the year. University fees in Germany are relatively low, especially when juxtaposed to the inflated tuition in North American regions. Many public universities in Germany are just a few hundred Euros a semester.

Germany also wants you to learn the language, with student visas extending to two years to give you a chance to secure the German language. If you need help managing finances, you can also secure work through a variety of work-study programs.

France For The Over-Achiever

France is known for its particularly selective process when vetting international students. It’s also perfect for those who have a thorough, yet unsharpened command of the French language.

If you graduated top of your class and are looking to add international flair to your linguistic repertoire, you will feel right at home in France. Nuclear scientists, medical professionals, and history majors will benefit from France's rigorous academic programs.

Erasmus Program Makes Spain Attractive To Students

Outside of its inclusive culture, its beautiful language, and unique landscape, Spain enjoys the visibility put on by the Erasmus Program, where European Unions encourage international students to come study. Many students stemming from Latin America or with a background in Spanish in the United States will mesh well with the Spanish culture.

Securing A Visa For These Countries—And Then Some

The education system in Europe is one of the oldest in the world. Its rigorous programs offer Bachelors degrees, Masters degrees, and Ph.D.'s to confident students who are comfortable managing the difficult but satisfying coursework.

To enjoy your stay at a European institution, you will have to secure a visa. The Schengen visa is the go-to visa that will allow you to visit any of the aforementioned European territories, plus Austria, Belgium, Lithuania, Hungary, and Finland. If you are studying for a few months, then this is the perfect visa for you, as it covers up to 90 days of travel. Resident permits may be needed if you are staying longer than 90 days.

Along with the official application, you will also need to be able to provide:

  • Current Passport. It's best that there are at least 6 months left of validity, starting from the day you are planning to come back to your home country.
  • Documents that prove that you are staying in Europe. Traveler's checks, credit cards, and different forms of hard currency is recommended.
  • Proof of accommodations. This may be proof that you are staying in a dorm in your university, or have secured student housing off-campus.
  • Travel insurance. You can usually secure this through your university’s study abroad program or through an independent broker.

It's also important to bring all documentation from your university with you, including copies of your letter of acceptance. For the most up to date information, check with your local embassy to see if you need additional documents.

Once applied, your visa should be processed and on its way within 3 months. If it has not, then that is a strong indication that your visa has been denied or needs additional information. Typically, you will get a response within a month.

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