RegisterSign In

Should You Go To College Outside the US? A Look at Your Options

May 30, 2011 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

If you’re looking to escape American college tuition prices—and have an altogether different college experience—you might want to consider studying abroad.

What kind of tuition would I pay?

It depends on the country. Up until recently, some European countries charged zero tuition—to international students as well as citizens. However, these deals are becoming more rare. Sweden, for example, recently passed a tuition hike of up to 14,000 Swedish krona, or approximately $12,699, for non-European students. Norway, however, still offers free tuition as of April 2011.

In some countries, such as France, all universities are public. Undergraduate students pay approximately €165—no matter their nationality. However, admission into French universities tends to be competitive for non-French students. In England, fees nearly tripled between 2011 and 2012 academic years—from £3,290 in 2010 / 2011 to £9,000 in 2012.

Some countries actively seek to attract international students. India, for example, offers scholarships to international students each year that may cover some or all of tuition for undergraduate and graduate study.

Eiffel Tower And Student

Choosing a college isn’t easy—and when you open up your options to consider international schools, it can be even more difficult.


Can I study for one semester only?

Most American colleges offer study-abroad programs that allow you to study in another country for a semester or a year. For many students, this is enough—they get a college experience in another country, without having to attend for four years or more.

Study-abroad programs at different schools can vary wildly. Some programs are extremely structured, and have American students staying with other Americans and attending an American wing of their home university in another country. Others allow students to stay with local families or within a dorm for local college students.

What languages do I speak

If you’re attending college internationally through an American college’s study-abroad program, or if you’re attending an American college in another country, you may speak English in classes. If you’re attending a local college, however, you may have to speak a foreign language in class. If you’re not already fluent in that language, look into options for taking some or all of your coursework in English.

Can I afford to stay in the country as long as I need to?

As an international student, you may or may not have student housing available to you—depending on the country and the college. While a student visa will allow you to stay in the country as long as your program lasts, it may place restrictions on the amount of time you can work. In the UK, for example, you may be able to work only 10-20 hours per week.  In Canada, you can work only 20 hours per week, while in France, students are usually allowed to work a total of 884 hours per year.

Can I work in the US with a degree from abroad?

It depends on your industry. While many companies will give a degree from another country the same weight as one earned from a US college, there are some industries where you need to pass certain certification and licensing exams if you did not earn a US degree. For example, to be a medical doctor in the US with a non-US medical degree, you need to pass the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates certification.

If you want to work in the US as a lawyer with a foreign law degree, your success will depend on which state you move to. To practice law in the US, you must sit for the bar exam—and to be permitted to sit, your law school must be accredited by the bar. No foreign law schools are currently accredited. However, in Massachusetts, for example, you can sit for the bar if you graduate from one of a few approved Canadian schools. In New York, if you graduate from certain foreign law schools, you can sit for the bar without studying law in America. If you don’t graduate from one of the approved law schools, you may be able to sit for the bar after attending a one-year LL.M. course in the US. In most states, however, you will not be allowed to sit for the bar without a law degree from a US law school.

Choosing a college isn’t easy—and when you open up your options to consider international schools, it can be even more difficult. Consider the culture, the language, and the quality of education you’ll get—as well as the tuition you’ll be charged and the possibility of working in the US after you graduate, if that’s what you plan to do. Earning an international degree can be a highly rewarding experience—if you choose the right college in the right country.


blog comments powered by Disqus