As an EU citizen, you are entitled to study at any EU university under the same conditions as nationals, although entry conditions vary in each country. You may also have the chance to do part of your studies abroad or complete a traineeship in a company through the Erasmus+ programme. This guide gives an overview of the options available and what you need to know before you leave.
University abroad – entry conditions, fees and grants
Entry conditions vary significantly between countries so be sure to find out about the higher education system in the country you wish to study in before you leave home. Although you cannot be refused access to training or education in another EU country on the grounds of nationality, you may have to take a language test in some EU countries to show your knowledge of the language of your chosen country.
Attending university is free in some countries while in others it can be expensive. If the university in the EU country of your choice is non-fee paying, you will not have to pay either. In any event, you cannot be charged higher fees than nationals of that country. You are also entitled to the same grants to cover course fees.
As far as maintenance grants and loans are concerned, some countries award these to foreign students but you are not automatically entitled to them (except if you have been living in the country for five years or more). Ask the ministries of education for more information.
Studying abroad via Erasmus+
If you are interested in doing part of your studies abroad, you should first contact your own university to find out what options are available to you. Over 4 000 higher institutions participate in the Erasmus+ programme across 33 countries (all EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Turkey and Macedonia).
When you go abroad to study via Erasmus+ you won’t need to pay registration or tuition fees to your host university. You will also receive an EU grant towards your living and travel expenses. Once completed, your home university must recognise your period of study abroad as counting towards your degree, provided you complete the study programme agreed in advance of your exchange.
Postgraduate study via Erasmus+
Erasmus+ gives you the chance to enrol in a postgraduate degree programme jointly offered by universities based in different countries, sometimes even outside Europe. Scholarships are also available for partnerships with universities from around the World, allowing European students to study in non-EU countries and vice-versa.
Traineeships, vocational education and training and research
Traineeships and work placements are a good way of adding to your CV. A traineeship abroad could help you learn a language or work skills that you might not be able to develop at home. If you’re a student you may be able to go on an Erasmus+ exchange traineeship in a company.
If you are in vocational education or training, or have just finished training and want to develop your skills further by going abroad, then the Erasmus+ programme may provide financial support. EU researchers can also take up training and employment positions funded by national scholarships and grants, even if they are not a citizen or resident of that country.
More valuable information about studying abroad within the EU can be found at the Your Europe website.