Why millennials are choosing the European Dream for college

It’s a global trend that popular culture reflects the values of the time. Whether you’re in Ukraine or the USA, the fact remains the same worldwide. Changing fashions are mirrored by evolving human motivations. Now consider this concept in the context of study abroad.

The influences behind students’ decision to study overseas are absolutely changing. To date, more and more students choose to take the leap and study abroad. When you picture the turbulent waves of this era’s tide, it’s hardly a surprise. The battle between left and right continues to divide, the internet is an increasingly complex microcosm of human civilization, and as United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said earlier this month, technological advancements occur “at a warp speed”.

Ladies and gentlemen – welcome to the digital age.

The digital pandemic has infiltrated every aspect of life, and higher education is no exception. In a bid to defy borders and capture more of the competitive (let’s not forget the billion-dollar industry) international student market, universities are hurtling towards the provision of comprehensive distance learning options and accommodating students who move away from home to settle at their chosen university.

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Degree portfolios are migrating to the internet, offering the same high-quality academics with the promise of flexibility and convenience. Students can now earn world-class degrees part on-campus, part online, or otherwise fully online from the comfort of their homes. In line with the digital trend, the way students are searching for study abroad options are undoubtedly shifting, too. Europe is therefore currently taking the lead in educating a growing number of international students.

In the US, a growing number of students choose to forego an endless battle with student loans and opt for a UK college degree, or alternatively other universities in Europe offering an English curriculum. In fact, the American student loan debt which has swelled by $400bn in the past five years, according to the Federal Reserve, prompted partly by a precipitous rise of college tuitions following the 2008 financial crisis. Budgets at the nation’s public colleges and universities, as measured in per-student spending, declined by 15% from 1990 to 2015, according to the Century Foundation.

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Student loans can feel like a trap you’ll have to gnaw your own leg off to escape. Courage: You’re not alone. It has become clear over the years that all public colleges in Germany, Iceland, Norway, and Finland are free for residents and international students. And some private schools in the European Union don’t charge for tuition either. Many are going out of their way to attract foreigners by offering programs taught entirely in English.

When they do charge for tuition, the bill is paltry compared to the U.S. Which is currently $9,410 at public colleges and $32,405 at private colleges, while a majority of programs in Europe charge less than $2,225 a year. Some of the highest tuition for international students is in the Netherlands, but it still tends to be less than $9,000.

After receiving my education at Sorbonne Law School, INSEAD Business School and the University of Law in London, I’m often approached by students eager to learn how to kickstart their educational path in Europe for three main reasons —

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1) Universities across Europe offer innovate programs at a fraction of the cost of studying in the US
2) The experience of a new culture abroad
3) They receive a prestigious university name that boosts their CV in their home country

Student by student, I try to explain the mechanics of universities and courses offered in Paris and London. From art, business and law, European universities often seek students with a personal brand that separates them from the next applicant. Every international student can, therefore, gain the opportunity to receive the best education abroad with added value than in their home country. Sometimes, the advise I give sometimes has little to do with grades or sports, and all about strategy.

Former President Obama was in his 40s when he and Michelle finished paying off their debt — demonstrating the very fact that the US education system needs to change, and quickly. The European dream is therefore in full swing for students worldwide.

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