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Why Do I Want To Study In Europe (Abroad)?

Going abroad? Dig deep and see what we can help you with

The opportunity to study abroad, and especially in Europe, is more possible than it may have seemed previously. In the near future, UCAS 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.

Why do you want to study abroad?

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:

  • To gain priceless experiences
  • An opportunity to learn another language
  • A chance to meet people from different countries
  • To be able to travel around Europe or to another country
  • To learn about other cultural practices
  • To widen your perspectives
  • To make your CV stand out

You may want to answer these questions before considering studying abroad

  • Will my qualification receive recognition?
  • What jobs or degree courses will I be able to apply for with my qualification I received abroad?
  • What will my qualification mean to UK standards?
  • Which national qualification should I compare it to?

What will your qualification be equivalent to?

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(England, Northern Ireland and Wales) FQHEIS/SCQF level (Scotland) NFQ IE level (Republic of Ireland) Corresponding FQ-EHEA cycle (Bologna Framework)
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 second cycle
Bachelor’s degrees with honours/Honours Bachelor Degrees
Irish Higher DiplomaBachelor’s degrees/ Ordinary Bachelor Degree
Graduate diplomas
Graduate certificates
6 109 87 First cycle (end of cycle) qualificationsIntermediate qualifications within the first cycle
Foundation Degrees (eg FdA, FdSc)Diplomas of Higher Education (DipHE)Higher National Diplomas (HND)Irish Higher Certificate 5 8 6 Short cycle (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.

Europe is a pretty big place

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 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.

Will I be an international student?

The United Kingdom is part of the European Union which meaans 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.

What about visas?

We will discuss visas and other 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.