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Thinking of going abroad to study a Masters? You’re not alone – the EU estimates that in 2016 there were around 678,000 international Masters students in European countries.
If you’re a British student, it’s worth noting that there is a chance that the UK will still be in the EU as the next academic year begins – the Brexit deadline has been extended until 31 October, although the UK could agree a deal to leave the EU before then.
In practice, this means that if you start a Masters in autumn 2019 and the UK is still a member of the EU, it’s likely that your fees, funding and visa requirements will remain the same for the duration of your studies. For more information, see our guide to Brexit and postgraduate study or check with your preferred university if you’re in any doubt.
But there are plenty of alternative countries to study a Masters in, and it pays to keep your options open when you’re looking for the perfect course. Here are four ‘alternative’ places you might not have thought of.
Given its relatively small population, Austria hosts a fair number of international students (nearly 74,000). Although more than half of these students come from Germany and Italy, Austria is clearly an appealing postgraduate destination that is sometimes overshadowed by its larger Germanic neighbour.
One of Austria’s main draws is that its public universities charge no tuition fees to EU / EEA nationals (as long as you finish your programme within two semesters of its minimum duration – i.e. three years for a two-year Masters). Even if you’re from outside the EEA, tuition fees are comparatively low at €726.72 per semester, making Austria one of Europe’s most affordable countries for postgraduate study.
Austria also frequently appears near the top of various quality of life indexes, while Vienna is often named one of the world’s most liveable cities. The country’s enviable work-life balance also makes it a great place to build a career after your studies.
The Czech Republic is another option for adventurous postgraduates looking to join a community of just over 40,000 international students. Boasting a fantastic location at the heart of Central Europe, the Czech Republic also offers tuition fee free study to all students – if they study in Czech.
As we’ve covered elsewhere on the blog, learning a new language while studying abroad can be a very beneficial experience, so why not take the plunge with Czech and save some money while developing transferrable language skills?
If you decide to study in English (or another foreign language), you will have to pay tuition fees. There are several funding schemes aimed at international students looking to study in the Czech Republic, however.
Whether your extracurricular interests lie in exploring the Czech Republic’s beautifully preserved medieval castles, sampling artisanal beer at a local brewery or experiencing one of its famous wellness spas, there’s plenty to keep you occupied.
For more information, check out our guide to Masters study in the Czech Republic.
Although there are currently only around 3,500 international students in Estonia, this Baltic country punches above its weight as a postgraduate destination. Estonia’s reputation for being one of the world’s most digitally connected societies is reflected by the expertise of its universities in information technology.
As a pioneer in the idea of a ‘digital society’, Estonia is a truly unique place to study. It’s developed an efficient system of e-governance where it’s possible to conduct many different actions over the internet (including voting!) and has become something of a hub for tech start-ups, with the likes of Skype and TransferWise calling Estonia home.
If you decide to study a Masters in Estonia, you’ll be able to take advantage of this expertise in information technology. After finishing your programme, you may even benefit from one of the several state and private initiatives designed to encourage the growth of start-ups and entrepreneurship in Estonia.
Even if your academic interests lie outside technology, Estonia is a great place to be an international student. The Estonian government runs a scholarship scheme for international students worth €350 a month, while the country as a whole is one of the safest in the world.
Home to some of the most dramatic landscapes on the planet, Iceland charges no tuition fees to international postgraduates (either EU or non-EU nationals) at its public universities, apart from a ISK 75,000 annual registration fee (around €550).
Iceland offers research opportunities that are simply not possible elsewhere in the world. Whether you’re interested in investigating the many volcanoes and glaciers across the island or its extraordinary geothermal characteristics, Iceland is a truly unique environment in which to study.
But it’s not all about Iceland’s great outdoors: Iceland is also renowned for being one of the world’s most egalitarian nations. There’s also the impressive statistic that Iceland has the world’s highest literacy rate (perhaps unsurprisingly given that around one in 10 Icelanders will publish a book!).
If you’d like to learn more about studying abroad in Iceland, take a look at our guide to postgraduate study in Iceland. You can also browse the Icelandic Masters programmes listed in FindAMasters.com.
Get helpful advice for your Masters, wherever you want to study
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