Student-friendly countries in Europe

A comprehensive compilation of the most popular student-friendly countries in Europe

This year’s international student survey reached 10,000 students across 181 countries who are currently thinking about studying overseas, and is an accurate indicative of which nations are being favoured by the global student community to pursue higher education. Using the top reasons for studying abroad, ranked by students who prioritize finding the right destination country over program or school, this list of education rankings comprises the best countries to study in Europe in 2022:

1. Germany

Owing to several reasons, Germany has emerged as the most favoured study destination for students who want to study in Europe. Germany is the center of many activities since it shares its borders with 11 countries, making it the focal point of cultural and socio-economic transformation. Germany has the largest economy in Europe, thereby offering opportunities for students to fulfill their career goals while studying at the world’s oldest and most well-known universities – a combination that not many nations around the globe can boast of.

Germany’s increasing popularity is partly because of the growing number of courses offered in English. Another advantage of studying at a German university is that the public universities do not charge tuition fees, which makes it a conducive place for students to build their futures.

It’s little wonder therefore that Deutschland is at the top of the list of best countries for international students who want to study abroad in Europe for the third year in a row. You might be thinking of dirndl and lederhosen at Oktoberfest or a Mercedes-Benz on the autobahn, but there are even more iconic German activities to delve into, to learn from and to grow with. Explore the enchanting mountains of Bavaria, fairy tale castles along the Rhine, serene Baltic coastlines, and the lakes of Mecklenburg for dreamlike experiences, while you learn from the nuances of the wonderful tapestries. You’ll find that German cities are cultural hubs with rich histories, with each of them holding the potential to greatly contribute to your learning.

Whether you choose to enjoy the enticing nightlife and museums of Berlin, the gorgeous canals and street art of Hamburg, or the lush biergartens and unique architecture of Munich, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time while you study in Germany. As the country with the largest economy in Europe, there are plenty of opportunities to advance your career goals during your studies at some of the world’s oldest and most well-known universities – an opportunity that only a select few are blessed enough to earn. So, save up for some Weissbier and bratwurst and head to Germany for the experience of a lifetime – an experience you’ll treasure well beyond your schooling years!

2. Switzerland

Career-driven students who want to pursue careers in the banking or finance sector choose Switzerland for their higher studies, because of its repute as a country that specialises in the sector. It’s little wonder that some of the world’s biggest finance brands, like Credit Suisse, hail from Switzerland. It is popular for having one of the most complex and advanced economies globally, and one of the most sophisticated too. Switzerland is not just the land of the highest mountain peaks in Europe, but it is also well-known for ground-breaking research opportunities, attracting numerous talented students to its shores every year.

If you want to experience the unreal beauty of European wilderness, explore regal and picturesque towns and cities, and sample world-renowned cuisine, while studying at a renowned university, Switzerland is for you. Besides being one of the best countries to study abroad, Switzerland is also famous for being one of the best places in Europe to catch stunning views and go skiing in the Alps – experiences that will broaden the ambit of learning for you.

Even Swiss cities such as Basel, Lucerne, and Geneva and the smaller towns of Interlaken and Fribourg hold sights and histories that are bound to leave you speechless and pining for more. Career-driven students, especially those interested in banking or finance, have found their paradise over the years, and so can you, if you aspire to. If you’re a language lover, depending on the region you choose to study in, you have the opportunity to learn not one but four new languages – German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Bainvegni! Now that’s an exciting prospect for avid learners – one that will add immeasurable value to their lives in the longer haul.

3. United Kingdom

A country that houses universities like King’s College London, Cambridge, Oxford, and University College London, is one of the best higher education providers in Europe. Scotland, Wales, England, and Northern Ireland attract international students every year, making the United Kingdom one of the best destinations to study in Europe.

Universities in the UK offer a wide range of courses to choose from, a facet that makes it a versatile education hub. London boasts of a large international students’ community and provides the chance to meet people from various cultures and backgrounds, thus offering you wider horizons for growth. Besides academic excellence, the UK is a place for adventurous students to explore William Shakespeare’s home in England, Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, and castles in Wales – atypical experiences that will most certainly help you grow your worldview.

The United Kingdom is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world, offering unparalleled curricular experiences to students. England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are ripe with adventure as some of the best countries for international students even beyond academics, which ensures all-round development for those who choose to make these countries their meccas of learning. From castle hopping in Wales to searching for the Loch Ness monster in Scotland, and from stepping through the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland to ducking into William Shakespeare’s home in England, the UK feels like it’s straight out of a fairy tale – except that all these experiences are very much real. You can sip on tea and nibble a scone, visit ancient historical ruins, and visit world-class museums, all in the span of the very same day. As a home to many modern sports, a buzzing social scene, and easy access for traveling all over the world, it’s no wonder that students flock to the UK for the study abroad experience of a lifetime.

4. The Netherlands

The Netherlands hosts several international students every year, with more than 2,000 university programs taught in English in this nation that’s considered to be one of Europe’s most progressive. The emphasis on student-centered teaching style and an innovation-driven curriculum train students to become experts in their fields. Universities in the Netherlands offer a degree that integrates current events and issues, which makes learning contemporary and practicable.

The Netherlands is different from other countries because the Dutch government is keen on retaining international talent such that the economy benefits from their expertise in the longer haul. It provides a residence permit for students to stay back for one year after graduation, and the bridging format makes it a popular destination to make a career after completing the degree.

The Netherlands is a country known for its café-culture lifestyle and love of cycling, making it home to life’s simple joys. Blessed with a culture of entrepreneurship and engineering, the Dutch are open-minded and free-spirited, with a natural problem-solving attitude that helps them live better. The Netherlands is also one of the best places to study in Europe if you’re interested in learning about European history and art, a treasure-trove of antiquity. The Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Anne Frank Museum are must-see cultural highlights.

With one of the most reputable higher education systems in the world and a competitive economy, the Netherlands is a great place to further your career during and after your studies, so that you can live a fulfilling life in the years to come. Sports clubs are incredibly popular, and the EDM scene is often seen as the best in the world, with plenty of events and festivals to enjoy on your days off, which means you’ll never run out of things to do here.

5. France

France enjoys a stellar reputation of being a great destination for higher studies and takes fifth position in the list of best European countries for international students. Over 3500 higher education institutions and public universities form a part of the country’s education system, offering prospects plenty to choose from. Tuition fees at French public universities are nominal as the government subsidizes education, and a degree from the same can be obtained at approximately 200 EUR per year (INR 17,000), thus making it an extremely lucrative value proposition. However, private universities are more expensive and charge an annual 20,000 EUR (INR 17 lakhs), which is slightly on the steeper side.

This country is a dream come true for any history, cuisine, or art enthusiast, for the French certainly pride themselves on their cultural influence. The country hosts the world’s largest and most-visited art museum, many high-end fashion houses, and some of the best universities in the world, making it a culture hub like none other. Whether you choose to study in the middle of Paris, Lyon, or Toulouse, culture will always be at your fingertips when you’re here. France is one of the best countries for international students hoping to try out world-renowned cuisines, because of the immense culinary depth it has to offer. Anything from aromatic cheeses to hearty stews and seaside mussels can be paired perfectly to a specific bottle of French vin, and there’s plenty here to appeal to the discerning taste of enthusiasts. With each region as distinct as its wine, there are countless places to explore and to learn from.

6. Spain

Spanish people are well-known for their inclusivity, and the country welcomes foreign students to its shores with wide-open arms. Besides, the universities in Spain have affordable tuition fees compared to the US and the UK, a factor that makes it an ideal choice for students with budgetary concerns. Besides being home to some of the distinguished business schools, the Journalism, Hospitality, and Social Sciences courses, are the most in-demand in Spain, making it a nation that offers a bit of everything that’s significant.

Fancy yourself wandering down alleys looking for the perfect tapas bar, cheering for your favorite fútbol team, and taking a soulful siesta before a night out that lasts until sunrise, when you’re in Spain. Walk along elegant boulevards in Madrid and admire the works of Goya in the Prado, or swim in the Mediterranean and explore the colorful Gaudí-inspired neighbourhoods of Barcelona – many colourful experiences await you here. With some of the oldest universities in the world and a distinct culture, taking your higher education in Spain would give you a truly unique experience.

7. Sweden

Sweden has earned a top place amongst the Scandinavian countries for higher education, on account of its consistency in delivering quality. The country has educational institutions like the University of Boras and the Linnaeus University, which provide creative and progressive education, befitting the growth-oriented culture of Sweden.

Considered a hub of innovation and inclusiveness, students who earn degrees from universities in Sweden get many exciting opportunities, especially in the tech industry, which adds it to the legion of countries like Germany. Another added advantage of working in Sweden is work-life balance, which the country’s people enjoy, along with an incredible sense of well-being, making it one of the most liveable destinations in Europe for students.

This Scandinavian country is one of the best places in Europe for outdoor enthusiasts, because of the countless experiences it has in store for you. All Swedish cities are a short trip away from a lake or forest, which means you’ll always be at the pulse of nature. You can go cross-country skiing, see the northern lights, dip in saunas in the winter, or head inside candle-lit cafes for a social coffee and pastry break with friends, called a fika in Swedish – all earthy experiences that will help you grow your soul. Various museums offer more snowy escapes and capture captivating times in Swedish history, from the rule of pop-group ABBA to ancient Viking times – there’s so much historic pride here to glean inspiration from. Whether you choose to study in bigger universities in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Uppsala, and Lund, or a smaller school in Sweden, you’re bound to have an incredible experience no matter where you go.

8. Denmark

Excelling in factors like study costs, teaching quality, and career goals, schools in Denmark, provide 1300 courses and 700-degree programs which are taught in English, making the country an optimal choice for students to pursue higher education. The Danish education system shares excellent links with the industry, thereby helping students gain critical skills and mould themselves into career-ready professionals.

If you want to study where the people are happy, the quality of life is high and the benchmark of education is premium, look no further than Denmark. It is not only one of the best countries to study in Europe, but also the cosiest, due to the cultural practice of hygge, or cosy social gatherings with family and friends. Also, you’ll never be short of inspiration while you study here. Creativity, innovation, and critical thinking, are a huge focus both in Danish universities and in the wider society – factors which help students ace at their chosen discipline. You’ll find that Danish art, furniture, and fashion design reflect cutting-edge modernity and sustainability – values that percolate well into learning systems here. Environmental consciousness is also reflected in the prevalence of bikes – which are the primary form of transportation in Denmark. The hippie commune of Christiania in Copenhagen, The Little Mermaid statue inspired by Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen, the modern Iceberg of Aarhus along with Renaissance palaces and Baroque castles – there’s so much here to learn from, to get inspired by!

9. Portugal

Portugal is home to some of the oldest higher educational institutions like the Catholic University of Portugal, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and Instituto Superior Técnico, making the nation a faithful custodian of quality education. Besides excellent higher education, Portugal offers a friendly and lively atmosphere, thus helping students evolve and unwind in equal measures. Lower tuition fees and living costs attract many international students in the country. Every year, Lisbon and Porto welcome students worldwide who want to make a career in Journalism, Medicine, Social Sciences, and even law – all core fields that need demand high quality education. Make your dream of spending an endless summer come true, by enrolling for education in this wonderful country.

10. Italy

Italy ranks 10th among the best European countries for international students as the universities are popular for quality education. Arts, world history, and architecture are some of the most preferred courses in this country, holding in its ranks education aces like the University of Pavia, University of Siena, and Politecnico di Torino, renowned for their excellent teaching facilities and opportunities to network with potential employers.

Italy is a country that is likely to be on most of the students’ bucket lists, and it’s not just for the pizza, pasta, gelato and all the gastronomic delights it’s known for. The magnificent villas of Lake Como, the spectacular Cinque Terre, beautiful beach towns of the south, and numerous other monuments, make Italy one of the best places in Europe.

Home to the world’s oldest university, Italy’s higher education system is both well established and of the highest quality. This, coupled with its rich lineage of culture, history, food, and adventure, makes it an ideal destination for higher education.

We at Europe Incoming are a team of European travel specialists, sharing our extensive destination knowledge and planning expertise, with agents, event planners and their clients from across the globe. We specialise in helping students identify their dream study destination in Europe, and also provide them with end-to-end assistance. Associate with us today, to make your academic and career dreams come true!

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