The opportunity to study abroad, and especially in Europe, is more accessible than it may have seemed previously. In the near future, the UCAS application will include Europe in their application process offering students easier access to fulfilling their dreams of studying abroad.
Studying abroad is very different from studying in the United Kingdom as foreign student laws could result in limitations on your time there or even on your finances. Before you purchase your plane ticket and say farewell to your loved ones, take your time to assess your options and ensure you make the right choice and have a study abroad back up plan and learn how you can stay safe when studying in Europe.
There are lots of reasons to study abroad; every potential student has his or her own reasons. Here are some of the most popular answers to this important question:
There are two European qualification frameworks within Europe that show the equivalent of what level you are studying in another country. The European Qualifications Framework (EQF), and the Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area (GQ-EHEA) which is also known as the Bologna Framework.
The table below shows the UK (England, Northern Ireland and Wales), Republic of Ireland, Scotland and European qualifications compared against each other to give you more of an idea of what level to look at when considering studying abroad.
|Typical levels of higher education within each level||FHEQ level*||FQHEIS/SCQF level**||NFQ IE level***||Corresponding FQ-EHEA cycle****|
|Doctoral Degrees||8||10||12||Third cycle (end of cycle) qualifications|
|Master’s degrees (including integrated Master’s)Postgraduate diplomasPostgraduatecertificates||7||11||9||Second cycle (end of cycle) qualifications
Intermediate qualifications within the second cycle
|Bachelor’s degrees with honours/Honours Bachelor Degrees
Irish Higher DiplomaBachelor’s degrees/ Ordinary Bachelor Degree
|6||109||87||First cycle (end of cycle) qualificationsIntermediate qualifications within the first cycle|
|Foundation Degrees (e.g., FdA, FdSc)Diplomas of Higher Education (DipHE)Higher National Diplomas (HND)Irish Higher Certificate||5||8||6||Short cycles (within or linked to the first cycle) qualifications|
|Higher National Certificates (HNC)Certificates of Higher Education (CertHE)||4||7||6||Intermediate qualifications within the short cycle|
On the left-hand side of the table, you’ll find the main stages of education, and you can find out where you are or what level you would want to study in these stages. In the next columns, it shows the different countries’ qualification frameworks for you to follow. In the last column, you’ll be able to see the nearest levels and similar types of qualifications that are used in other countries, or those that follow the Bologna framework for example in Europe.
This table shows how it is possible to draw broad comparisons at this stage of planning to aid you in the right direction.
With approximately 50 countries in Europe, you will need to start your research by narrowing down where you would and would not want to study. Some points to consider when choosing a country are the range of university degree courses on offer, how easy it is to travel back home, the cultural difference and its location in Europe.
You need to think of your time studying abroad as one big opportunity with more opportunities connected. Being able to travel to neighbouring countries and the ability to travel back home easily will make the experience even better. Cost should come into the decision-making process, how much it costs to study abroad could sway your final decision.
The United Kingdom is part of the European Union which means you only have to pay for ‘home fees’ (as much as a citizen of that country), all countries that are part of the EU have to abide by this rule. If you want to study outside the EU, in Asia, Australia, United States of America or New Zealand, you would have to pay international fees as you automatically become an ‘international student’, and the cost is much greater.
We will discuss visas and European student paperwork in more depth in another section, but if you are a UK citizen, you are also a European citizen and will only need a visa depending on your reason for visiting that country. Most countries will allow UK students in to study if they can prove they have been enrolled onto a course.
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