It isn’t hard to understand why Europe has always been such a fabulous option of any eager traveler. An electric history that can be traced back centuries, monuments that stand as a testimony to a glorious past, the birthplace of western civilization, culture and modern philosophy and thought Europe is a dream destination for anyone looking for a rich cultural and educative experience. It’s no wonder then that international students are increasingly flocking to a host of European learning centers to pursue higher education.
Whether it is food and wine in France, fashion in Italy or engineering in Germany – Europe’s oldest and finest universities and institutions have marketed their traditional cover competencies to lure foreign students to their shores. However, this trend is a recent one. While the UK has always attracted foreign students by the droves, others were not as fortunate. Although France, Italy and Germany have been centers of learning for many centuries, students hesitated to spend time and money on programs there on account of the language barrier. Fast diminishing communication and cultural borders have changed this however, and Europe’s high caliber and reputed universities now offer a range of programs with English as a medium of instruction.
All across Europe countries and universities are engaged in a process of modernization to claim their share of the global education market. Most European countries, like France and Germany, have succeeded in making their education systems more compatible and comparable, more competitive and attractive for students and scholars from other continents. Now, almost all reputed universities and institutes offer a variety of courses in English, with France leading the way, followed closely by Germany and Switzerland.
France has emerged as the second most popular destination in Europe after the UK, on account of its prestigious grandes ecoles and universities. International students flock there to study management (France has six of the top ten B-schools in Europe), hospitality and the culinary arts, wine management, engineering literature, and fashion and design.
Today, postgraduate programs in France are conducted completely in English. With the exception of a few courses, students can pick and choose from a plethora of programs including the various branches of engineering, management, hospitality, fashion studies and economics that are offered in English. The language barrier in France only exists when you try to interact with other French people. However, there are a lot of international students who speak English, and it is easy to communicate with them. Also, the professors know English and are usually helpful.
Germany has traditionally been a popular destination to pursue the sciences – particularly engineering, automobiles, aerospace, power, energy and the biosciences. In Germany there are plenty of institutes teaching complete programs in all disciplines in English. A student may often begin a course in English and learn the language at the same time so that he is fluent enough to take course later in German. Under-graduates engineering programs at traditional universities are almost entirely taught universities are almost entirely taught in German, as they are highly subsidized by the Government, and are available at very low tuition fees for local and international students. Fluency in German is highly recommended for a great student experience.
To make your sojourn in Europe a more fulfilling experience, most people recommend you gain fluency in basic French, German, Italian or Spanish, because you might end up having a limited cultural student experience if you cannot interact with locals. Within the boundaries of the university, you can do without French, as most people – if not all speak English. However, if a foreign student manages even a little broken French, it is appreciated as most youngsters in France, despite having learnt English do not have the confidence to hold a sustained conversation in English and might avoid interacting with you, coming across as rude to a foreigner.
One needs to know or understand basic French while traveling within the country, though it gets much easier in Paris or towns with a large international population. Hence, though learning French is hardly mandatory, it can only make your life easier.
Similarly if you’re planning on studying in Germany, Italy, or Spain, it makes sense to pick up the basics of the language before you head out. Italian universities are coveted for their design and fashion courses, while Spain has some excellent business programs. Delivery of courses in English is still limited in countries like Italy and Spain. Universities in Italy and Spain are yet to offer a range of courses with English as the medium of instruction. Institutions Empressa in Madrid, Spain, offers business courses, while the International University of Monaco, SDA Bocconi in Italy, IESE in Spain, have gained renown for their MBA programs. ESSEC in Cergy-Pontoise is the only MBA programs fully devoted top (international) luxury brand management.