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Study in Europe Blog

Read through some of our blog posts below to find out more about studying in Europe. Like, share and comment – we’d love to hear what you think!.

 

Things I wish I’d known before leaving India

After you are done with the application/admission process you can relax and take a break. It is usually what you would want, but that’s not the case. The real struggle starts now! You have to start making a list and gathering things that you need to take along. Do some research about the place you will be going to and check out some forums/facebook pages where students of your university share their experiences. This could help you prepare well for your shopping. One of the most important things is the clothing. Europe is usually much colder and rainy, so make sure you carry winter wears and an umbrella/ rain coat as it could just be raining cats and dogs when you step out of the Airport☺.

From my personal experience, another important aspect is communication! If you are travelling alone and abroad for the first time, your family would probably be more nervous than you (which is quite apparent). So, make sure you have a phone that is still sending and receiving signals when you reach there. Usually, you have Wi-Fi at airports and various other places but it is important to have sufficient data in your phone, as it always helps.

- Adapting to the local culture and how to make friends

I have travelled across thirteen different countries in Europe and I have found the people to be very pleasant and kind. On my course, we were 18 students from 14 different nationalities, so I think I couldn’t have had a better opportunity to know different people and culture. I not just gained friends for life but also attained valuable knowledge about their countries, people, food, and lifestyle. I wasn’t an outgoing person before but gradually as we studied together, had meals, explore places and travelled from one country to another, I have become a much more confident and outgoing person now.

- Budgeting

It is absolutely up to you as how you can save. For me, I used to cook myself and occasionally eat out since most of the eating places were expensive (as a student at least). Again, it depends on which country (and city) you are in, as some cities are quite affordable for a meal outside. Also, almost every country has student discounts on transportation. As a student, you can get student passes (monthly/yearly) which helps you save a lot. Apart from these, you can minimise your spending on parties, bills (by spending electricity wisely ☺), stationery which is much cheaper in India.

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Adapting to the local culture and tips on how to make friends on a foreign land

How to make friends on a foreign land? Is there a technique for that? I guess we all know how to make friends since we were kids. It is more of a habit than an effort one puts into but it’s not the same when you are in a different country. There you have put efforts consciously than before.  Moreover, language barrier becomes an essential factor however most of the youngsters in Denmark speak in English. When it comes to other countries in Europe, you still have a scope of learning the language through free language course. Also, there are many programs taught in European countries in English, so the students are bound to speak in English.   

If you are communicative and mingle easily then it becomes easier for you. What if you are shy and reserved? Good news! No one knows you in that country and you have all the liberty to act the way you like. If people like you that’s well and good or you have nothing to lose. You must have seen and read quotes everywhere on the internet about ‘keeping your circle small and beer cold’, you can practically imply that in Europe (they have a lot of good beers). There is no need of being someone you aren’t, as the beauty of this journey will be to explore and establish strong as well as reliable bonds with like-minded people.

Let me tell you a secret, almost everyone who comes to study is from a different country and new to the university or college. So they are as excited and scared like you are. Don’t let the latter dominate the former.

It is a good experience in Denmark, where our college had given us money to party. Yes you read it correct; we had received money so that we could arrange a party with our classmates to get to know each other.  We had Europeans, Americans, South Africans and Asians in our class. I was sceptical at first with the word ‘party’ but I didn’t let my assumption overpower the exploratory mode.

From then on, there was no looking back; I got to know a lot of people from our class. I was keen on travelling when it came to Europe. Denmark has an interesting holiday week called the ‘potato week’. In this week, the schools and colleges give holiday to their students as they would help their parents in harvesting potatoes in the farm. This was a perfect opportunity for my first trip, where I asked my classmates to join me. We planned to visit Møns Klint, and it was an amazing experience. We went by our classmate’s car and tipped in our share for the fuel. Later, we went to Sweden which another great experience also for the fact that you tend to spend more time to get to know your classmates and the place you are visiting. When I posted the pictures of our trip, more people from our class were interested in coming with us.  This leads to the quote in implication “A journey is best measured in friends, rather in miles” by Tim Cahill.

Picture courtesy: Ganesh Giri , A road trip to Italy

Every time this isn’t possible that you can go on a trip however there are a lot of communities on Facebook which gives you an insight about social gatherings. The best way is to talk to people who have been living there such as counsellors, professors and former students. The most important word in all the vocabulary words you would have ever used is ‘Networking’. It is very important to go and talk to people who have been around for a while. I had connected with such a person and he got me introduced to his network of people. There I met a lady (Susanne Frederiksen) who was a local and had interest in travelling as well as food. The tip here would be that once you get introduced to people, common interest is the way to take it ahead from thereon.

Susanne and I used to meet over a coffee or a walk where we used to exchange ideas. She was keen on knowing Indian culture and it was Danish culture for me. There we came up with an idea of hosting dinner events where Internationals could meet Danes. It was really amazing how she was kind enough to host dinner at her house where all of us brought in some food to get to know each other over a dinner. I involved more of my friends so that they get to know Danes and vice versa.  We created events on Facebook so that more people were aware of the same.  It was fun knowing Danish culture and for them to know different cultures who come to the country to pursue education.

Dinner event for Internationals meet Danes, Roskilde

There always highs and lows in our phase of studying abroad but there isn’t any fun without those. Especially, when it comes to winters in Europe. Denmark has a really dark winter and terrible unpredictability when it comes to weather. There was a phase around November and December where you would feel physically weak and depressed due to dark winters. It gets worst for me as Indian since we are used to sun at all time. At first, we tend to have a honeymoon period where everything seems new, exciting and we are on to exploratory mode. However, once that gets over we are hit by ‘cultural shock’ or ‘homesickness’. What happens when you are hit by cultural shock? That is right, you aren’t aware of the term, neither was I. Cultural shock is described as ones feeling when they leave their familiar culture to live into a new cultural or social environment. Even the most open minded people and cultural sensitive ones are prone to this. Moreover, a lot of people tend to face issue when it comes to food as many of us are used to eating homemade food for years. Hence, it is advisable to refer to what to pack list in the previous post so it becomes easier to sustain while you get used to the environment.

Now this was the reality check to your ‘All-nice imaginary world’, it is better to be aware. To avoid this one should definitely follow the rest above mentioned. My escape to such terrible winter was travelling to another country in Europe which had slightly better weather. When it comes to travelling in Europe, the best deals one can get is on Ryanair and EasyJet to fly with while hostels become smarter option to stay in. Moreover one shouldn’t forget the main purpose of their step out of their homeland- Studies!

It is always good to get involved in college communities such as Art, Science, Sports or Social cause. I used to spend my time in working for college bar where we arranged student parties and gathering for different festivities. I spent most of my winters in studying, exercising and watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. series when flights were expensive, friends went back home for holidays and locals were busy in family gatherings. It does really help to keep yourself occupied; however do communicate with your family more often because that is a boon.

Staying away from your people and country will be difficult at first but it will make you independent on a foreign land which will eventually feel yours.

This phase that is about to come in your life or is going on will be one of the best, which will be remembered and cherished forever. So go on and live your dreams!

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Excited about studying abroad- Get to know what to pack?

 All of you guys must be super excited about the thought of studying abroad and finally making it. What comes next? Oh yeah, packing our bags but how do I pack my 22 years of life in two suitcases. Don’t you worry; it is simple if that is the thought then no. Just kidding! There is a simple process though. Make a list; yes it is as simple as that.

Before you make a list, have in mind the country you would be studying in. A brief research about the climate, food, currency and culture is important. This gives an idea as what you can carry with yourself or cannot. For example, if I am travelling to a country which has cold weather round the year then full sleeves clothes, thermal wears are more logically then shorts pants. I am writing a list which is suitable for girls as well as boys.

So here is the list:

Clothing

·         Innerwear ( for at least a week or two)

·         Socks (two weeks plus woollen ones especially for cold climate)

·         Long sleeves shirts

·         Short sleeves shirts

·         Thermal wear (2 no.)

·         Trousers and jeans

·         Winter jacket

·         Blazer/ Formal jacket (in case you like to be dressed up for presentations in college)

·         Nightwear (Pajamas)

·         Workout outfit (2 no.)

·         Swimsuit (for warmer climate, as European summers are beautiful and warm for a swim)

·         Belt

·         Flip flops (home use)

·         Sport shoes (most European streets are cobblestoned, it becomes easier to walk)

·         Hand gloves, scarf, hat, hoodies, etc.  (some winter can be harsh)

·         Dress shoes/ rainy boots/ boots/ formal shoes

Toiletries (at least for a month)

·         Toothbrush, toothpaste

·         Body shampoo, loofah

·         Hair shampoo, conditioner

·         Detergent (small packets) or washing soap

·         Deodorant/ roll on

·         Feminine products

·         Hair brush/ comb

·         Razor/ shaving kit

·         Contact lenses and solution

·         Spectacles/ glasses

·         Nail clippers

·         Medicines (with prescription)

·         Tissue/ wet tissues

·         Make up products

·         Important medication (for 2 months, in case you don’t get the same brand elsewhere)

·         Ziploc bags/ disposable bags

Important

·         Documents (asked by college- keep two copies, passport, flight tickets, ISIC card, etc.)

·         Mobile and earphones (check with the company if it is not a sim-lock mobile) also make it sure that you have an international recharge done, as it becomes easier to communicate.

·         Mobile charge (2 no.) also adapter/ plug (check the plug system in the country of study if it is 2 plug or 3 plug)

·         Laptop and charger

·         Hard disk, USB cable, data card (in case)

·         Music player or Ipod (do update your playlist)

·         Local currency worth 8,000-10,000Rs. equivalent to 100 Euros

·         Travel card (which has option of pre-paid currency in it, you can opt for one or multiple currency) some banks give ISIC card along with it.

·         ISIC Card (International Student Identity card comes in handy for discounts on transportation, food, etc.)

https://www.isic.org/get-your-card/

·         Stationaries (pen, 5-subject notebook, diary)

·         Basic cutlery and crockery- spoon, plate, glass (carry plastic or steel ones)

·         Snacks (dry eatables, soup packets, IMPORTANT- Nutella jar, pickle, chutney, etc.)

Now you might think that why would I ask snacks, stationaries and cutlery to be packed.  From my example, when I had been to Denmark for the first time we were sent to a hotel for our stay. Unfortunately many European countries have conditions where the students have to find their own accommodation. In such a case, if you don’t have a room with kitchen amenities you can rely on the snacks and other ready to make packets instead of overspending. One should keep in mind the currency difference and expense of buying everything as well eating out daily.

Also, it usually take a week or two to get accustomed to the surroundings, to get to know the supermarkets, food joints, shops, etc. So it is better to have a backup.

It is also advisable to get a ticket to your study destination at least 4-5 days before your college starts. So you have enough time to get a hang of the locality and how to get around.

I hope you find this post helpful and make full use of it. Good luck to your first step in the global exposure, keep experiencing cultures, places and of course keep studying.

Here are the tips on how to pack by Sonia travels which I referred when I travelled for the first time.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pNTSm66CFg

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10 steps to choosing the right European university for you

Deciding to study abroad is a huge decision for anyone, and one that you want to get right. There are so many things to consider it may seem overwhelming, but working your way through these 10 steps can help you narrow down your choice of where to study.

1. Which country?

This is going to be the place where you will be living for the next year or two, so make sure it is one that you want to visit! There are a total of 28 countries or ‘member states’ in the European union, and each one has its own unique culture and geography, from the Northern Lights of Finland, to the bustling cities of the UK. Take a Tour of Europe on the EHEF website and see which country captures your imagination.

2. One or more languages?

All EU countries now offer degree programmes in English to international students, giving you the opportunity to improve your English language skills for the workplace, while you study. But this could also be the chance to learn a completely new language – in today’s global economy knowing more than one foreign language can be the key to making you stand out to employers. So why not choose to study in a country where you can learn the local language at the same time, and maybe add Spanish, German or Polish to your CV?

3. City or campus?

Are you a city-loving person? Some students love being in the heart of a buzzing city while they study, having the culture, nightlife and attractions within easy reach. But others find that they can work harder in a campus environment, or in a smaller town with a more relaxed pace of life.

4. The course, of course!

For the majority of potential students, the most important thing to consider will of course be the course you want to study. Are there any particular countries that are well-known for teaching or research in the subject you want to study? Where is there a high concentration of businesses in your chosen field? And in that country, which are the universities that are best known for your subject? You may find that it is better to choose an institution that concentrates purely on your subject, or you may want to study somewhere that offers you the chance to study a variety of disciplines at the same time?

5. Everybody loves Rankings

Everybody loves looking at rankings, such as the THE World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities but it is important to consider them carefully. Each uses different methods and measures to calculate their lists, so as well as checking what place universities have, have a look at the methodology that ranking uses, and what weighting they give to teaching, research, student satisfaction etc.

It is also important to look not only at the university’s overall ranking, but their place for your specific subject – all 3 of the rankings listed above also rank by subject, department or field.

And once you have narrowed down which country you’d like to study in, you may also be able to find country-specific university rankings, often complied by newspapers, such as The Guardian in the UK, El Mundo in Spain and La Repubblica in Italy, which will include a larger number of institutions for your chosen country.

6. What will it cost and what can you afford?

There is a huge variety of university fees within the European Union, including some countries that offer free tuition fees to all students and others that have a large range of fees depending on the institution and the course. Your choice will depend on what you can afford, after taking into consideration all the other important elements. But also remember that that your education is an investment and one that will bring you benefits for the rest of your life. You need to find the right balance of cost vs. benefits for you.

You also need to take into consideration the livings costs of where you will be studying – some countries are much cheaper to study in than others, and sometimes there can be a big difference in costs even just between cities within a country, with capital cities often being much more expensive in terms of rent etc. than smaller cities and towns.

7. Scholarships and funding

Many EU universities offer scholarships to international students – either through the Erasmus+ scheme, through national schemes such as the Holland Scholarship in the Netherlands and Chevening in the UK, or through individual university funding. This information should be easily available on the university website. Be prepared though, you often have to apply for scholarships quite far in advance, so don’t leave your application too late!

8. What is student life really like?

Do a bit of research to find out what it is really like to study at that university. Check their website and social media channels - do they have student ambassadors from your country that you can contact? Is there an alumni organisation in your city where you can meet people who have already studied there?

Although your priority is obviously to study, it is important that you also enjoy your social time, so you need to know what the opportunities are for keeping up with your hobbies, making new friends and getting to know your host country.

9. The local community and support

It can be hard to adjust to living and studying in another country, especially one that has a very different culture to your own. See the institution’s website for what support they provide for international students – do they offer a social calendar, student support staff, an induction week for international students? Are there student groups or societies you could join? Maybe you would prefer to live somewhere where there is already a local established Indian community, with local restaurants, hang-outs and places for prayer.

10. Work, work, work

And last but not least, you may also want to know about the job opportunities that will be available to you, both while you are studying and after; some countries have special visa schemes in place for international students after their graduate and some universities offer work placements as part of their programmes. Have a look at the institution website, usually in the ‘careers’ section to see what opportunities and support they can offer you.

Good hunting!

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Join the EURAXESS Science Slam and win a trip to Europe!

The EURAXESS Science Slam India is a competition open to all career levels researchers starting with MA/M.Sc. candidates (research-based or mixed) - from universities, research institutes or private sector, in all fields of research including Social Sciences and Humanities, Life Sciences and Engineering, of any nationality and age (18+) who are based in India. This competition is part of the 4th EURAXESS Science Slam taking place in ASEAN, Brazil, China and India.

The competition has two stages: (i) the 'Virtual' Pre-selection (online) where candidates will submit a short video in a creative, entertaining and accessible way; and (ii) the Live Finals where the finalists will perform in front of the review panel and a mixed audience who will choose the winner. Registration to be part of the audience will open in October. Stay tuned! Now is time for you to consider becoming the next EURAXESS Science Slammer in India!

The 1st prize this year will be the EURAXESS Science Slammer title and a round trip to Europe to visit Brussels (Belgium) and a research institute of the winner's choice in the European Union in 2017.

Send your video and become one of the 5 finalists to receive a short science communication training on 22 October 2016 in Bengaluru and to compete in the LIVE slam on 18 November 2016 in Hyderabad! Save both dates on your calendar!

See here for more details.

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