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How to Study at Universities Abroad for Free

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 17 32

To have a good education is always great, but today in the globalized world it is even important to be educated with an international twist. The big question is then: Where and how to get it? And many will add one more key question: How much does it cost?
Well, it can be expensive. But there are ways to study at universities abroad for free! And because I believe that access to education is a human right, then in this article I will give guidance to where and how to get free university education. I will also inform about how to get an European Union visa.

Things You Will Need

Of course you have to decide which education you want, and in which of the European countries?
One of the barriers for most international students is the language. This barrier could make it obvious for many to focus upon UK because of the English language. However, good education in UK is not cheap, unless it is arranged as part of a student exchange program.

Step 1

My advice is therefore to take a close look at the Scandinavian countries. They have a long practice of free education; in fact they even pay their own citizens a salary for studying instead of charging tuition fees. Many of the study programs in Denmark and Sweden are in English, and there are many international students (An extreme example is BTH, a technical university in Blekinge, Sweden where more than 50% of the students are foreigners).

Step 2

Of the Scandinavian countries I recommend Sweden as the first priority. There are several reasons for this: A) It is extremely easy to search at a public (governmental) website www.studera.nu At this website all the higher educational institutions are represented with detailed information about each course, and with clear guidance about how to apply. B) The application can be made quite easily on the website and it is possible to apply (with a priority list) at several universities at the same time. C) It is free of charge to apply.

Step 3

It is possible to study in Sweden at many different levels. But the best deals are the one year masters degrees courses. At the website www.studera.nu it is clearly indicated which bachelor degrees are the prerequisite for a specific program.

Step 4

It is important to apply in good time before the program begins, in particular in order to get a visa (It will most often take more than one month). Information about visa to Sweden can be found at the (governmental) website www.migrationsverket.se but let me here give you some important information: A student visa to Sweden is at the same time a work permit in Sweden, and also a tourist visa to the Schengen countries (i.e. most of the countries within the European Union)

Step 5

So how is the visa granted and where to apply?
A) The application has to be submitted at an Swedish embassy or consulate. B) The applicant must enclose the admittance papers from the educational institution. C) Copies of academic papers, such as Bachelor Degree Diploma. D) Proof of being able to self-support the cost of living expenses (This is most often done by a bank certificate or a statement that has to show cash-assets of a little more than $1,000 per month of the expected period of study) It is important to notice that Sweden do not accept that the money is merely covered by some kind of sponsorship; however, if the student lives with friends or family then the total amount will be reduced.

Tips & Warnings

To study at a Swedish university is very much different than to study in the USA or in Asia. The study atmosphere is extremely relaxed and friendly, the students will most likely be on first names with the professors. However, even though the study itself might be relaxed too, then do not be mistaken, because the students are expected to do more independent study and research, rather than just being instructed.
In addition to get a masters degree from some of the classic universities (such as Lund University) then maybe the most important experience is the intercultural knowledge one gets from living and studying for one year in a foreign country.



Jan 27, 2010 9:53pm
You've taken a very broad topic and broken it down into concise and informative steps. The resource sites and recommendations are very helpful. Well done.
Jan 28, 2010 3:29am
Thank you. I do it because I believe that education is a human right; and I want to help all to get it.
Jan 28, 2010 8:41am
Great articel askformore, I didn't know that some of the universities pay you to attend, that's cool.
Jan 28, 2010 10:13am
It is actually not the universities that pay. It is the government that pay. The government pay a 'salary' to all students above 18 years old (normally they can receive payment for 6-8 years .. The universities are also paid by the government .. a fixed amount for each student and a large bonus when they graduate as bachelors and/or masters. Finally being a PhD student is a regular well paid job.
Feb 3, 2010 1:29pm
What a great topic. Education is so important. I lived in Spain on and off for a couple of months for a year and the submersion in another culture was amazing. If a person is American, I think it is even more important to get international experience. Good resource here.
Feb 3, 2010 1:36pm
Thank you for the compliment. Yes I agree that "Intercultural Communication" is an amazing experience.
May 5, 2010 2:01pm
Very informative article. Thanks for sharing.
May 6, 2010 7:03am
I am happy that you liked it. The bad news are that these free studies *might* be changed (in the future) for non-Europeans - (The politicians want to save money, due to the present economic situation).
Nov 8, 2010 12:07am
Congrats for the featured article!
Nov 8, 2010 10:23am
Thank you!
Nov 8, 2010 1:44am
Congratulations askformore. Great and informative article
Nov 8, 2010 10:24am
Thank you!
Nov 8, 2010 5:44am
Congratulations on being on the front page! I found this very informative, especially since I have a daughter two years away from college!
Nov 8, 2010 10:26am
Thank you! Well, the rules are about to be changed so two years from now there will most likely be a modest tuition fee. But it will still be very attractive to study in Sweden or in Denmark.
Nov 8, 2010 9:22am
very good job
Nov 8, 2010 10:27am
Nov 8, 2010 9:49am
I enjoyed the article. Even as an older student, I have considered going to a foreign country to study.
Nov 8, 2010 10:32am
As an older student you will have no difficulties of being admitted.
In Denmark as well as in Sweden the admission it isn't allowed to select (discriminate) on the grounds of age. Many begin to study at an university after having reached the age of retirement.
Nov 8, 2010 11:58am
I too have considered going for a master degree in a foreign country, and am an older student. I needed to read this- thanks!
Nov 9, 2010 2:42am
We are never too old to learn! I hope you find the right study area - i.e. subject and/or country.
Nov 8, 2010 11:40pm
Thanks very much for this article. I hope this will be an inspiration for many of us.
Nov 9, 2010 2:43am
Thank you for your comment.
Nov 9, 2010 7:16am
Wow this one featured thats great but well worth it as you have written this to help others. I have also learned more too. thanks. thumbs up
Nov 9, 2010 10:09am
Thank you! Yes, I hope that many will get inspired and benefit from my tips. I really believe in that access to education is an universal human right.
Nov 9, 2010 10:33am
I have been advising people for years that they need to ensure their children learn a foreign language so that they can study abroad (practically) for free. Most of the western EU countries have a very modest fee for studying, even for medical school or prestigious universities. I'm very happy to see this article!
Nov 9, 2010 2:08pm
I agree that all should learn a foreign language, but many courses at Scandinavian universities are actually given in English.
Nov 9, 2010 1:12pm
Well written and informative article. New information for me. I didn't know about "free" study. What a good way to get further education.
Nov 9, 2010 2:08pm
Thank you!
Nov 10, 2010 10:40am
The article deserve to get feature on homepage. You have given really good information so that one can think about study more and the cost of study is more important. I would like to have your email to stay in contact.
Jun 5, 2012 2:07am
Well, the laws and the procedures have been changed (In Sweden, and in most EU-Countries).
As a consequence it is no longer free of costs to study at the universities for Non-Europeans.
Other students will have to pay a fee and tuition, unless the belong to a student exchange program.
Apr 24, 2013 3:32am
Hey askformore, this is super interesting. I never knew this. I've just been doing a bit of a search after reading your article because I am a lucky one who holds a dual citizenship.. United Kingdom and Australian. I was searching because I think that my UK passport may well qualify me to study for free in one of these countries. It seems so, you don't happen to know do you? Great informative articles live forever! nice one...thanks
Apr 24, 2013 7:26am
I know the answer to your question. Yes, as a EU citizen you can study 'for free', i.e. no tuition fee etc.
You will of course have to buy books, but even that will not be a heavy burden as the Scandinavian university libraries are very extensive (and if you online find a book at a university in another country it will even (in most cases) be sent free (i.e. no postage)).
As a EU citizen the visa question is solved very easy.
Welcome here!
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