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Passport to Wisdom: Study in Europe on a Student VISA

Plus, Eight Countries to Consider Studying Abroad in Europe

Best Regions to Buy Cheap Property in Italy

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Written by Anne Travous

Who said learning is confined to textbooks and lecture halls? Education is a passport to adventure, offering a rich blend of cultural exploration and academic growth. Having spent a semester in Vienna, Austria, and exploring a large swath of Europe during my stay, I can honestly say that my time spent studying abroad was one of the most enriching and rewarding experiences of my life. Join me in discovering the unique tapestry of benefits that accompanies the journey of living and studying abroad.

Cultural Odyssey

Forget about being a tourist; when you are able to stay in any one place for an extended period of time, you're on a cultural odyssey. From marketplaces to historic sites, every moment is a chance to delve into the nuances of a foreign culture. It's not just about lectures; it's about embracing a lifestyle infused with global flavors.

Classrooms with a View

Say goodbye to the mundane classroom setting. Your study sessions come with a view. Imagine diving into your coursework with the backdrop of a centuries-old architectural marvel or the tranquility of a nearby park. I distinctly remember one professor who insisted on meeting for each class at the local tavern, where he taught the nuances of international branding over a pint (or two) of Ottakringer beer. Your academic journey is intertwined with the beauty of a foreign landscape and a sprinkling of local flair.

Beyond Textbooks, Language Triumphs

You aren't just mastering textbooks; you’re conquering languages. Whether it's conversing with locals, ordering a meal, or navigating public transportation, your potential for linguistic prowess extends far beyond what's taught in a language class - plus you’re learning the slang and vernacular that the locals use, which differentiates you from the tourists that are only there long enough to learn the basics.

Diplomacy in Shared Spaces

Home life takes on a diplomatic twist. Your neighbors are global companions with unique perspectives. Potluck dinners turn into international feasts, and your community becomes a cultural melting pot. The business program I attended at Vienna University of Economics and Business ran from August through December, and boasted students from all over the world. One of my favorite memories of my time there include the Thanksgiving holiday, where the Americans in my group hosted new friends from countries across Europe and beyond. For many of them, it was their first Thanksgiving experience, and they were delighted with the food and traditions we shared with them. And what they gave to us in return was a sense of belonging, community, and the sharing of their own traditions from all over the world. It was a highlight I’ll never forget.

Weekend Wanderlust

Education isn't just about weekdays; it's about weekend wanderlust. Reserve your weekends for exploring nearby wonders. Whether it's a scenic hike, a historical tour, or a leisurely coffee in a charming café, your weekends become a celebration of global adventures. Because Austria was centrally located in Europe, and because the train systems there are frequent and easy to navigate, our group spent nearly every weekend exploring new places. We’d select a country on a Wednesday or Thursday evening, hop on a train that night or early the next morning, and be in Paris, or Zurich, or Bratislava within hours. The ability to experience so many different and interesting cultures within a short train ride is an enhancement to your experience that broadens your global perspective with every new passport stamp.

Career Elevation

The student visa stamp isn't just a mark of academia; it's a career elevator. Employers value the adaptability and resilience that comes with international experience. Your resume will boast a wealth of skills that set you apart in the professional realm. Without fail, every interviewer I’ve ever met has always brought up my study abroad experience, and it often gives us something to connect over outside of the job in question. I absolutely believe that my experience elevated my portfolio over otherwise similar candidates.

Global Bonds and Lifelong Connections

I cannot emphasize this enough - you won’t just make friends; you’ll forge global bonds. Your social circle spans continents, and your connections are lifelong. From collaborative projects to shared cultural experiences, your friendships reflect the strength of global connections. It’s been 20 years (I know I’m dating myself) since I had my exchange, and I frequently talk to friends that now live around the world, that all met during that one shared semester abroad.

It’s important to emphasize that living and studying abroad is not just a pursuit of knowledge; it's a quest for wisdom that transcends textbooks and traditional classrooms. Your journey is a symphony of experiences, weaving together cultural exploration, academic growth, and a network of global companions. Your passport to wisdom is now stamped with the indelible ink of international experience, and (if you’re lucky) memories you will cherish for a lifetime. With that in mind, let’s also talk about some of the logistics involved in actually GETTING you there! Every country offers its own unique perspective, learning opportunities, and requirements for study.

So what does that actually look like? Let’s take a look...

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Exploring European Opportunities: Best Countries for American Students

When considering studying in Europe as an American, several countries are known for their welcoming approach to international students and relatively straightforward student visa processes. Keep in mind that visa regulations can change, so it's essential to check the most recent information from the respective embassy or consulate. As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, here are some European countries known for being student-friendly:


Germany is a popular destination for international students due to its excellent education system, many programs taught in English, and often tuition-free or low-cost education. The student visa process is generally straightforward, and many universities have dedicated international offices to assist students. Learn more about studying in Germany.


France has a long history of attracting international students with its world-renowned universities and vibrant culture. The student visa process is relatively streamlined, and many programs are offered in English. France also offers various scholarships for international students.

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Austria's esteemed universities, English-taught programs, and straightforward visa process make it a welcoming hub for international students. It’s central location in Europe is also appealing to students who desire opportunities to explore beyond the borders of their program country.


Spain is known for its warm climate, rich cultural heritage, and affordable living costs. Many universities offer programs in English, and the visa process is generally manageable. Spain's welcoming atmosphere and diverse academic offerings make it an appealing destination.


The Netherlands is home to several top-ranking universities and is known for its high-quality education system. Many programs are offered in English, and the country has a straightforward visa process for non-EU students. The Dutch are known for their proficiency in English, making it easier for international students to adapt.




Sweden is recognized for its innovation, high-quality education, and excellent quality of life. Many programs are offered in English, and the Swedish student visa process is known for its efficiency. Additionally, Sweden is known for its inclusive and welcoming society.


Norway offers tuition-free education at public universities for international students, including Americans. The visa process is relatively straightforward, and Norway's high standard of living and stunning landscapes make it an attractive destination.


Ireland has a rich cultural heritage, English-speaking environment, and a growing reputation for high-quality education. The visa process is generally straightforward, and Ireland's friendly atmosphere makes it an appealing choice for international students.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, markets are subject to change, and property prices may vary. Before making any decisions, it is essential to conduct thorough research.

About the Writer

Meet Anne - An adventure-obsessed destination daydreamer, experience curator, food & wine epicure and self-proclaimed jetsetting junkie. Boasting a diverse background in business, art, architecture and museum curatorship, Anne spends her days forging national and international brand partnerships to support large-scale charitable causes. By night, Anne has turned her passion for globetrotting into a thriving travel planning, blogging and content creation business. Through her work, Anne keeps a keen pulse on all things wanderlust, igniting the travel dreams of adventurers far and wide, and helping to make her clients' bucket list adventures a reality. When she's not traveling, you can find Anne in her hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona, where she lives with her bloodhound dog, Murphy. Join her on her journeys and discover the world through her unique lens, where culture meets creativity, and wanderlust becomes a way of life. IG: @jetsetandnoregrets

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