How to study in Europe for free (or at next to nothing costs!)

by Michelle on July 23, 2013 · 59 comments

euflagLots of people have asked me about living in Europe. For North Americans, we can go to Europe for 90 days without a visa, but for those wishing to stay past the 90 days, it can get complicated. There are a few other options like getting a Holiday Working Visa (although not available for Americans) which lets you live and work in certain European countries for up to a year, but what I think is the best option for anyone looking to really experience living in Europe for a few years is to study there. And it’s a lot cheaper than you think!

For one thing, tuition for public universities in most European countries costs anywhere from 0 to 500 euros a semester, even as an international student from a non EU-country! And if free tuition isn’t the best part, alcohol tends to be significantly cheaper in Europe, travelling around the continent is super easy and cheap (international partying has never been easier), and despite being free (or at really low tuition costs), Europe boosts some of the best universities in the world, like the University of Munich, the University of Vienna, and Paris-Sorbonne University.

Since none of the these universities are in English-speaking countries, the only downfall would be being able to speak in the language of the country. However there’s also lots of Masters programs taught completely in English! Plus the added bonus of studying in a non-English speaking country means that you can quickly pick up a new language during your time there, and make your resume look even more international.

For a quick look at the prices of tuition in Europe, I’ve made this handy list below!

Austria

austriaIn Austria, the tuition fee is free for EU citizens, or € 363.36 per semester for international students, which isn’t free but incredibly cheap. There’s also a students‘ union fee of € 18 per semester. For some non-EU countries, they are exempt from tuition fees, so if you’re thinking of studying in Austria, check out that list since all you would be paying is € 18 a semester!

Finland

Unknown-1In Finland, tuition is free for Bachelors and Phd programs, but some Masters programs require tuition for non-EU citizens. The cost of some Masters programs can range between  € 2,500 to € 12,000, so do some research on the programs you’re interested in!

France

franceTuition ranges from € 150 to 700 per semester at most universities and public engineering schools. All business schools are private or partly private and charge significantly more.

Germany

germanyIn most of Germany, no tuition is charged at state universities (the vast majority of universities). Only the state of Niedersachsen still charges about 500 € per semester after Bavaria removed them starting in October 2013. Semester contributions (which includes a transit pass, which in some universities can be used for travel in your entire state!) are usually somewhere between € 150 and € 250 a semester and vary from university to university.

Norway

UnknownStudying at Norwegian state-run universities and colleges is free. There is a semester fee of NOK 300-600 a semester ($50-100 USD), but that includes a gym membership and reduced fares on transit.

Spain

spainIn Spain tuition is charged by credit point, with prices ranging from 9.50 to 30 €. This comes out to at the most, 900 € per semester, which is still a really good price, especially considering how you’ll be studying in sunny Spain!

*****

Have any of you considered studying in Europe? When I tell friends that even as an international student, I can get a Masters degree in Germany for free, they were pretty blown away. It’s pretty amazing and I think if you have the opportunity to study abroad, you should go for it!

Earlier this year, I’ve applied to a bunch of grad schools in Germany, and have started to get my offer letters right now! I’m waiting until I hear back from every university before making my final decision, but I will definitely let you guys know in a week or so where I’ll be heading! And if you have any questions about the process, feel free to comment or send me an e-mail!

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Ariana Louis July 26, 2013 at 6:04 am

We should get together!!! I am a certified backpacker and I’ve been to many wild adventures in Asia (which is my favourite, by the way). Reading all those countries’ offers for prospective students made me wonder, actually ponder on teaching jobs in the EU. Thanks for the “light bulb”! And if you ever want to go to Germany (again), try out cheap deals with TravelRepublic.co.uk Thanks, Michelle!

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Michelle Michelle July 31, 2013 at 2:53 am

Yea great! 🙂 Teaching jobs are a lot harder to come by in Europe than in Asia though!

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Ariana Louis August 15, 2013 at 7:15 am

That is so true, Michelle! But other Brit friends of mine have been able to do it in Eastern Europe. Tell me i you do get the chance! Cheers!

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kirsty August 2, 2013 at 7:22 pm

I was gonna say in Scotland that it’s free but that’s only if you are a EU citizen. (Unless if you are from England, Wales or Northen Ireland then you have to pay fees but they are still cheaper than most universities in the rest of the UK.)

I’m thinking of doing a French degree that’s 4 years long with my 3rd year out, and you have the option to be a English assistant, work or study in a University. (Which for the uni I want to go to include Martinique! XD) And if you stay in the EU and you want to study for that year then you have your uni fees waviered at the uni your studing by the EU! (This is one of the few things I like about living in the EU, even if it does have laws on how straight cucumbers have to be.)

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Michelle Michelle September 9, 2013 at 3:33 am

Ahh you EU citizens are so lucky!! 🙂

I’ve heard about the Erasmus exchange, and that the government actually gives you money to study in another country!

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opinder February 26, 2015 at 2:25 pm

can i get any information about indian student?

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Physics August 7, 2013 at 4:46 am

Yeah it’s great posting very helpful for my planning. However, I heard that some germany universties are planning to receive tuition fee from non EU student. Do you think this information is correct ?

I am expecting that even they will impose tuition fee from non EU student, its amount is much lower than that of US,UK but I hope that tuition fee will equally imposed to non EU student continuously

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Michelle Michelle August 7, 2013 at 11:06 am

I haven’t heard of that, but that is a possibility! It used to be free for international students in Sweden but then they changed it, so you never know. I’m actually going to university in Bavaria, which had tuition fees until up to this year, so I’m going at the perfect time! 🙂

But yea, if you’re thinking of studying there, I’d say do it fast!

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Physics August 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I am planning to start my graduation study in Munich at Oct 2014, so I think my timming is also good even your case is much better than me.

I am sending a bunch of e-mail to university officers of Munich and they said they have no scheme to impose additional tuition, but because situation is now fluctuating I cannot be certain on anything. It makes me terribly nervous.

Anyway I sincerely congraduate your new start in Germany!

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Michelle Michelle September 9, 2013 at 3:31 am

I think you’ll be fine in 2014. They only just took away the 500 euros a semester tuition fee this fall in Bavaria, so I don’t think they’ll be that quick to bring it back!

Good luck with getting into Munich! It’s a great city! My university is only 1.5 hours away 🙂

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yousaf September 22, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I m a student of DAE Mechanical.
I wish to take admission in Mechanical Engineering

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anne October 14, 2013 at 11:53 am

Hi what a great blog! I love reading your experiences. I’m particularly interested on how you go about studying in EU country. the process and tips from you. Please blog it 🙂 Thanks and take care!

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Spencer November 30, 2013 at 7:23 am

Cheers! This is a very insightful blog! I have enjoyed learning about your experiences abroad and the information you have been able to present.

I feel as if I have a very unique educational situation; I have been enrolled in two different American universities (with a total of around 60 credits) but am moving to Europe in February for a job opportunity. What, if any, are some good European universities that might look into accepting me and providing a relatively affordable education? I know this is a loaded question but I am extremely eager to finish my undergraduate degree and am looking to finish up abroad.

Quick facts:
– 3.3 cumulative GPA in college
– Sport Science major
– 22 years old
– extensive resume with multiple international jobs and experiences
– American Football player

Any input helps!

Spencer

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Michelle Michelle December 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Thanks Spencer!

Do you know where exactly in Europe you’re moving? Germany would be your best bet, because universities here are free (even for non EU citizens!) and you would only have to pay about 114 euros a semester for student fees. However, you haven’t finished your undergrad degree yet? That can be a problem since most universities here don’t offer undergrad degrees in English. Plus, it might be really complicated to transfer your incomplete degree abroad. I would either try to finish your degree before you come here (Is it possible to get a 3 year Bachelors back home? Because Germany accepts 3 year Bachelors degrees), or ask your home university if you do a year of study abroad (then you enrol in a uni here and transfer the credits back home)

If you do finish your Bachelors, I would recommend this Masters program in International Sport Studies at the University of Konstanz…I was planning on applying to it last year actually, but it was cancelled for that year!

http://www.studium.uni-konstanz.de/studienangebot/studiengaenge-abschluesse/studiengaenge-a-z/international-sport-studies-master/

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have anymore questions about studying in Germany! 🙂

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Spencer December 2, 2013 at 4:21 am

Michelle,

Thanks for the quick response; I appreciate your honesty and integrity! I am moving to central Poland but have not had any luck finding the right fit at a university there. I will definitely look into German institutions; I checked out UofKonstanz and came away very impressed. I do have an Associate’s Degree in Global Studies….not sure if that counts for anything.

Anyways, thanks for your help and insight. Keep us posted on your travels!

Blessings,

Spencer

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Hamed January 21, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Dear Friends

do you know any university in europe tution free for master in finance or accounting in English ?
hamed_2424@yahoo.com
thanks a lot

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christina bird March 12, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Hey! Great website! I live in India and I’m gonna finish a 3 year bachelor’s degree in mass media (advertising) and I really wanna study in Germany.. The course I’m looking for is graphic designing, but I’m not able to find a free study program.. Any one know where I could look out?? Have a good day 🙂

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Isaac Adjei March 24, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Hi,
I found a couple of German universities offering no tuition for msc in mathematics and am keen on applying but I will be very glad, if you could help me with some information. Although I know is free when it comes to the tuition fees but is there a fix amount one must have in his bank statement before he can be given? maybe let’s say 6000 euro or more. then again how is the employment situation in Germany for instance I intend applying to University of Bonn for a masters degree in mathematics which is free as a non-EEA. I come from GHANA.

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john April 4, 2014 at 12:56 pm

i want to know if there are universities in Europe where i can work to pay for my tuition fee or if i could find a free university. am from Africa.

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thompson July 29, 2014 at 3:08 pm

HELLO

I would love to study in a country with tuition free university but can not fine any so please help me out and a good part-time work i am from africa.

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Erin September 8, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Hello.

Thank you for all the wonderful info that you provide. I am looking in to trying to get into the University of Helsinki Finland in two years when I get done with my bachelors for my phD. My boyfriend want to attend as well for his Doctors degree. What advice can you give me for doing this? It is a little overwhelming with all the talk of visas and getting set up.

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Shelby October 21, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Hey I am from USA , Georgia to be exact. I am at a local community college right now bc I was trying to save money and get my Associates Degree here then transfer to University go Georgia. But recently I have been looking into studying in Germany. My major is Biological Sciences. Do you have any tips on what to do?? Like will any German university accept my Associates Degree and my class credits or no?

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Michelle Michelle November 13, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Hi Shelby, I’m not too sure. You could research some universities you’re interested in and contact their international students office…I’ve had to email a few of them and they’ve all been very helpful!

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Austin November 26, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Hi.., i ‘ve had terrible issues with my first degree in the university back home here…, though i could ‘ve gone for masters to further my studies but my home university is making things unbearable as they wont give me my certificates due to financial constraints…, though i’m planning to study in any free tuition university whether in USA or Europe.., unfortunately its undergraduate studies as i ‘ve to start all over again. Please what do you advise me to do as most universities that offer tuition free understudies in Europe don’t teach in English .., though i was planing on studying at Berea college in USA..,but after going through there website recently.., they are demanding some money to be paid which was not what they required some years back. Tell me what should i do in this case as i can’t study in my home country due to financial constraints.i’m from Nigeria.

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Vic December 1, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Dear Michelle, I am graduating from school in 2015 and I want to study in Europe … What country in EU is the best for studying art, design? do you know anything in this sphere? I would appreciate your help…

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Michelle Michelle December 22, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Not sure about outside Germany, but I’ve heard good things about the Berlin University of the Arts!

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Vic December 11, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Hi everyone!
So glad I found this site, seems full of info and very useful.
I’m curious about studying theatre psychology and finance in France Norway or Spain.
I speak French well enough along with pieces of Spanish to Spanglish as we call it in California lol
Anyone else seeking the same?
Cheers

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maria noel Nabunnya February 9, 2015 at 1:59 pm

Are scholarship s really true

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Kristin McNeil February 25, 2015 at 11:04 pm

I’m so glad I found your blog! This was a really informative post! What did you end up doing for graduate school? I’m an American and looking to study either a Master’s or Doctorate in Tourism in Europe. I already have an MBA so I’m NOT looking for that and am not sure which degree makes the most since. Anyways, I want a school that is:
1. Free or cheap and in English
2. The country allows for spouses to work while I attend school
3. The area is cheap or not super expensive to live in
Do you have any recommendations or know any good resources I could seek out for help? I know I need to act fast if I want this to happen Fall semester. Thanks!

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Terry DeLeon April 21, 2015 at 4:34 am

Hi Michelle!

Thank you so much for the information! It´s great to see that even after almost 2 years your post keeps helping us…

Thant said… back in 2008 I lived in France and ever since I got back I´ve felt the pull towards the european continent. I´m Mexican, 26 yo, and currently have a Bachelor in International Business (4years, 1 of them in France) and I´ll finish my MBA in July.

I recently learn about the no tuition situation in Germany and have been trying to search a Master in Supply Chain and-or logistics to top my studies, since I´m currently working as a Global Logistics Coordinator for a big company.

The thing is, if I live my life here in Mexico, it would be for good, do you think that´s a feasible appoach?

A bit more on my background… My GPA for my bachelor´s degree was 3.5 (out of 4) and 3.8 for the Master´s degree; I´m fluent in english, spanish, french, and currently studying german,

While I´ve been looking for Masters in Germany, I´m more than willing to take other countries into consideration… could you please advise???

Thanks!

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simon teo May 21, 2015 at 1:08 pm

i am from malaysia. looking forward to studying in europe with a free tuition fee for my daughter. she wish to study fashion design. kindly advise. thank you

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hammad javed May 30, 2015 at 6:43 pm

sir,
information required how to study/education free

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hammad javed May 30, 2015 at 6:45 pm

how i can get admission in any europen college, where on fee

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vital munanira May 31, 2015 at 7:35 pm

how can i start to apply for a bachelor degree in Finland?

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oseni ahmed June 15, 2015 at 10:31 am

good day,

is there any universities in Norway, denmark, hungary and belgium which are low tuition fees institution and which i can apply to, am national diploma holder in BUSINESS STUDIES and also a CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT IN NIGERIA HERE.but am willing to have my Bachelor degree in any of this country institution. please kindly be of help in information in regars to this. most especially low paying universities for international student.
Regard.

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Kaviyarasu June 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm

I’m graduated MCA from INDIA….looking forward to study MS in computer Applications without fee in European universities ..kindly give some suggestions ..that may be useful

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omesha silva June 28, 2015 at 8:40 am

Hello,

I wanna know if I apply for college for english , french language and fashion designing, how can I make it free? Or lesser semester fee? Can I get accommodation ? What are the basic qualifications needed?

Thank you.

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Kaylee July 2, 2015 at 1:44 pm

I really wanna study in Norway.help with more information on how to apply for a scholarship

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Daniel July 4, 2015 at 4:38 pm

please i want to study in czech republic, please guide me,

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abdelbbassit bouameur July 29, 2015 at 9:20 am

Dear Sir

I would like to inform you that I am interested to continue my education at your university in the field of translation.

My name is Abdelbassit Bouameur and I have a high school and a diploma of English language from the university.

I would like to ask you kindly to guide me how to get admission for the course in transation, languages and tourism. Please let me know the necessary steps which I should follow for the next academic years , so I can prepare all the necessary documents, and I do hope with your help and guidance I can reach to my education aim in the near future at your university.
And here is my adress:
Abdelbassit bouameur
37 en nasr street
45200 ain sefra
Algeria.
In advance I am thanking you for your kind attention and hope to hear from you so soon.

Best regards,

Abdelbassit.

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PRADIPTA August 2, 2015 at 7:46 pm

Hi there !!
it is really an informative & interesting blog specially for those who is aspired to study in Europe but having finance issues. I am sure that many like me specially from Asian countries can’t think of studying in Europe for its expensive tuition fees & cost of living.
It would be great if you can share some light on fashion study in Europe on master labels.

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rather make art August 24, 2015 at 8:57 am

Hello,
Congratulations. I find it interesting to study abroad, but i don’t know of the processes on how to apply. Kindly assist me with the process. I am from Africa and wanted to apply in a Norwegian Universities. Hope to hear from you.

Thank you.

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Louie September 10, 2015 at 8:17 am

Hi! I’m interested in taking up master’s in Germany. However, I have no idea how. Glad I found your site. Can you tell me the process that you did when you applied for it? Or you can email me at bandalouie@yahoo.com thanks a lot!! 🙂

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Andra November 18, 2015 at 9:46 pm

I loved your article! Great insights. Getting an University degree in Europe is a viable choice for many American students due to lower costs especially.

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abdelbassit bouameur November 26, 2015 at 2:28 pm

Dear Sir,

I would like to inform you that I am interested to continue my education at your university in the field of languages and translation.

My name is Abdelbassit Bouameur and I have a high school and a diploma of English language from the university.

I would like to ask you kindly to guide me how to get admission for the course in transation, languages and tourism. Please let me know the necessary steps which I should follow for the next academic years , so I can prepare all the necessary documents, and I do hope with your help and guidance I can reach to my education aim in the near future at your university.
And here is my adress:
Abdelbassit bouameur
37 en nasr street
45200 ain sefra
Algeria.
or call me at : +213662524250.
Please try to help me .I am an ambitious student.
In advance I am thanking you for your kind attention and hope to hear from you so soon.

Best regards,

Abdelbassit.

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Maggie December 7, 2015 at 10:49 pm

Hi Michelle,
It’s Maggie. I’m Canadian, majoring in marketing and supply chain.
I was just reading about what you wrote and found that Germany would be the best option.
I am however interested in universities in France.
Do you know any Business Graduate schools in Europe (Preferably in France) that are free or at low cost for non EU students? Thanks a lot!!!! ( I would love to know the names of the schools, Pls)
Cheers,
Maggie Li

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ZAFAR December 10, 2015 at 5:29 pm

Hello everybody,I want to get important advice from your side.
I want to get Bachelor degree in IT in English language in these countries Germany/Norway/Finland/Austria or any EU country which have no fee.
I have completed 12 Years of Education and get 6 Bands in IELTS.
Please reply me for my better career

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anikahamed January 3, 2016 at 10:14 pm

Hi Michelle,
It’s anik. I’m bangladeshi,
I was just reading about what you wrote and found that Germany would be the best option.
I am however interested in college in bangladesh.
can you suggest me the best university in Germany that are free or at low cost for me? Thanks a lot!!!! ( I would love to know the names of the schools, Pls)
please can you provide me your social site skpee anikahamed007
Cheers,
anikahamed

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Ilham February 5, 2016 at 4:11 pm

Dear sir,

I’m keen to enroll for Master degree ( Management Sciences ) plese could provide the links of those schools which provide online program.

Thanks,
Ilham

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mohamed elassar April 1, 2016 at 1:48 am

i want to enroll phd degree in business administration

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mohamed elassar April 1, 2016 at 1:52 am

i want to enroll of phd in business administration wich includes a master , i mean an extent program includes mba&phd

thank you

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Nathan April 29, 2016 at 12:27 pm

Dear all,

I am from Ethiopia ( Eastern Africa). I have a masters degree in structural Engineering and BSc. in civil engineering. My plan is to pursue my PHD in water resource development or Environmental Engineering so that I can contribute something to my poor county who is suffering from recurring drought. The budget that have is around 15,000 – 20,000 dollars. Is there a way that I can manage to proceed ( in Europe) by finding a partial scholarship such as for housing or meal?

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Rohit May 5, 2016 at 2:40 pm

Hi
Rohit hear i am from India i completed my 12 in India
1. I want to continue my undergraduation in Germany or Italy wich is prefarable? according to u?
2.My agregate of 12 standard is 75% so i want to know that i am eligible for undergraduation in your country?
3.If eligible what is the tution fee,anual fee and acomidation charges as per there?

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Khoula June 13, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Hey Michelle!

Your article here was quite helpful and hopeful! I am a Pakistani student looking for a chance to do my masters degree in psychology in Germany. What university did you end up going to? Can you push me towards the right directions as to where to look for cost-efficient options?

Thank you!
😀

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Hossein September 25, 2016 at 10:15 am

Hi Michelle
I’m keen on studying in EU and I want to study somewhere free or cheep at least like Austria as you mentioned.
Would please take my hand through the issue??!!
I don’t know what to do!! I’m confused !!!

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shalander jeet October 12, 2016 at 3:05 pm

i am a education conceltent in insia

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adara December 28, 2016 at 11:35 pm

hello im doing a little reserch on cheap universities and found this. the fact that college is almost free is wonderful but what about living expenses? is there any kind of free homing service somewhere in europe aswell? if you could help, id really appreciate it. thanks!

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busisiwe January 3, 2017 at 12:41 pm

hello Michelle

i love you post it has ope my eyes to a whole new world. im in africa and im so interested in studying in Europe, i just dont know where to begin

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Lyssa January 20, 2017 at 1:56 pm

So are all courses taught in the native language or some are in english.

Reply

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