Many of the Indian students are spending lakhs of rupees for a foreign degree and are focusing only on America, Canada, U.K or Australia. But there are many European countries which are offering quality education without charging any fees from the students. As major universities are run by the government and lot of funds are available, countries like Germany, France, Austria, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Italy and Norway are offering higher education either free or for a nominal fee. Those who are having excellent academic record and cannot spend lakhs of rupees for higher education can actually lookout for courses in the European countries. Let us see the salient features and admission process in these countries.
There is great history regarding education and research in the European countries. Famous scientists like Einstein, Aristotle, Madam Currie, Newton, Rudolph Diesel and Carl Benjamin all belong to the European nations. Many of the universities in these nations also rank top in the international ratings. This is the reason why many research scholars and professors from European countries are frequently winning the Nobel prizes.
Many of the European countries cater 20% of the GDP in their budget towards the educational sector and many universities are run under the government aid. Many private companies are also generously providing funds to the education sector and because of this, many universities are being able to offer quality education and courses without any tuition fees while some are charging nominal fees from the students. In countries like America, Britain, Australia and Canada etc the international students have to bear more fees when compared to the local students. But in European countries there is no difference in the fee structure for both the international and the local students.
Scholarships and Internships in European Countries
Students who are studying in the European countries have to mandatorily do their internships. This is an important part of the course curriculum. Moreover IELTS, GRE and TOFEL scores are not mandatory to study in countries like Italy or Sweden. Most of the business schools also don’t require GMAT score for admissions. But if one has these scores they shall be given more preference compared to others. There are different types of courses available in the European countries. There is more prominence in countries like Germany for the mechanical, biotechnology, chemistry and automobile courses whereas France offers nuclear energies, management, mathematics, physics and aeronautics etc. There are also other professional courses apart from engineering, management, arts and humanities offered by the universities in these countries. Right now some courses related to sports, physical education and spirituality are becoming more popular.
Apart from not having any tuition fees, there are many scholarships in the European countries to bear the living expenses. European commission, governments of those countries, societies, industries and research organizations frequently sponsor many scholarships.
Germany (DAAD scholarships, Indo-German scholarships), France (Campus French, International Scholarships), Sweden, Finland etc offer different types of international scholarships to meritorious foreign students. There are also Asian quota scholarships offered by Norway country and because of this there is no problem for the students to even meet their daily expenses.
Based on the university and related schemes the total fellowship offered shall range from 1000 to 2000 Euros. Similarly in Netherlands one can get grade 4 salary as a university employee.
Coordination with Industries
The best aspect of the European education system is the coordination between the universities and industries. Universities give top priority to work along with the industries for more exposure to the students. Universities provide opportunities to the students pursuing various courses to do their internships in industries related to their subject. They can also work in the live research projects. There is also versatility in the course curriculum. Culturally there is lot of diversification and encouraging environment in the European countries. There are opportunities to learn new languages which are useful when searching for jobs. Students can also take up part time jobs during their education.
Compared to many other countries the crime rate is far less and lot of priority is given to the green environment.
Admissions are tough than getting a visa
It is tougher to get admissions into the European universities rather than visa to the country. The government universities offer 30 seats maximum in each course and out of which 50% are reserved for the international student’s i.e. 15 seats.
Major advantage in European education is the schengen visa which is given to the international students. This visa is enough to visit any of the European countries and it is also rather easy to get this visa which doesn’t even require the financial documentation. Depending on the universities there may be some changes in the visa rules which are mentioned in the admission guidelines.
Those students who are selected for any fellowship schemes or scholarship don’t need to show the financial security for visa processing else one may have to show the total deposit amount documentation required to live in the particular country as in a bank, savings account or in the form of scholarship.
Admission process in the European Universities
Students need to have a good academic record and they should check out early regarding the application process as many of the European universities close their admission process quickly. One has to apply in November or December to the admission process that starts in august 2013 and more or less by January 15, 2013 this application process has to be completed. 50% of the universities in Germany, France, Sweden, Finland and Norway countries follow this deadline. For institutions in other countries one can apply till March and April. Some organizations give preference to those who have applied early and some countries have special quota to the Asian students.
Those who are pursuing their engineering last year can also apply to these universities. It is okay though one doesn’t have their GRE, TOFEL and IELTS scores at the time of applying and these scores are not mandatory for some universities.
As there is no crisis for the funds many of the universities have excellent international research centers. With good academic record, international publication of papers and one or two years of experience in research one can easily get admission into the PhD programs too.
At the time of admissions
All over the world there is good response for free education. In Europe, mainly countries like Germany, Sweden, Austria, Norway and Finland etc are offering free education. In Europe there are three categories in the government universities. They are H.S. (university), F.H. (applied sciences) and T.U. (technical university). These are categorized by the government. There are very few private universities and when compared fees in the government universities are far less than the private institutions. In many institutions there is no fee at all. The students just need to pay the nominal admission fee and examination fees which is more than enough. The government universities are usually those that have been started hundreds of years back. In top institutions there many courses available for one to choose.
However there is lot of competition for entrance into the government universities and international courses which are completely taught in English have very few seats and hence the competition. In the same way European universities are very popular for research and development programs.
Prerequisites for Admission in European Universities
Students should have completed a total education of 16 years and have a good academic record to apply for top universities. The students should posses school leaving certificate, board of intermediate, university transcripts, provisional, CMM, original degree certificate( if available), letter of recommendation, TOFEL(90) / IELTS(6.5), GRE(not mandatory), letter of motivation, curriculum vitae, proficiency in local language(not mandatory) documents are required.
Depending on the universities there may be some changes in the rules and for government universities good marks and scores are required. In private universities there is relaxation in the percentage but most of the organizations look out for 70% marks in the academics.
The admission process takes minimum 3 to 4 months time or sometimes more than that and there may be small problems at the time of directly applying to the universities as the university officers may speak in their local language. Most of the organizations also have their websites in the local language which are some minor obstacles top to the international students.
Top universities finish their admission process well ahead of starting the courses. So, students who are applying for technical and science streams should submit their applications quickly to improve their chances of getting an admission into the universities and should not wait till the last date to submit their applications. It is better to finish off the application process before December month itself.
Language is not a barrier to study in Countries like Sweden, Germany, France and Italy etc.
In Europe most of the universities offer courses in English language and some institutions also offer few courses in the local language. So it is important for the students to take necessary precautions at the time of applying to a course and choose those courses that are 100% taught in English language. For these courses there is no necessary to learn the local languages but however if students learn local languages that would help them in finding part time jobs. It would also add advantage to join in the internship programs.
Many face a big question of what next after completing education in Europe. Here internship plays an important role where the students need to show their talent and gain experience to find jobs in the country. At the time of internship a stipend of 800 to 1600 Euros are given per month. After education students can extend their visa from 6 months to 1 year and after getting a job they can change it into work permit or PR (Permanent Residential) visa. It is really helpful that the same visa is eligible to work in any of the 27 European countries.