Bratislava, Slovakia – Most people overlook Slovakia when they think about studying abroad. France, the UK, Spain, and the likes pop up in their minds instead. This Central European country is just not that well-known among future international students. But it should be, considering everything it has to offer!
Now, why exactly should you consider Slovakia as your next study destination? Let’s break down six major benefits that education in this Central European country comes with.
No need to spend a fortune on tuition fees
Let’s start with the obvious: studying in the United States or most Western European countries is prohibitively expensive. A year at a four-year institution can cost you anywhere between $9,400 and $36,700 in tuition fees. Multiply that by four, add living costs to the equation – and it’s a no-brainer why studying in a less-visited country makes more sense.
Compared to other EU states, Slovakia falls into the “more affordable” category. It’s not France or Denmark where international students have to pay between €2,770 and €6,000 per year for their studies. In Slovakia, tuition fees for non-EU residents start at €1,000 per year.
What’s more, that goes only for programs taught in English. If you learn Slovak, you can study at any public university absolutely for free.
Of course, studying in a foreign language can be tough. But it’s worth the effort. Plus, you can study better with essay writing services like EssayPro if you ever find yourself in a pickle. Just keep in mind: you’ll need to enrol in Slovak language courses accredited by the Ministry of Education to get certified first.
Quality education & European diploma
If you doubt the quality of education in a country like Slovakia, don’t. Yes, Slovak universities can’t boast the same prestige as Oxford or Cornell. But the curriculum and its delivery are on par with other, more well-known European universities.
Besides, five Slovak universities have been featured in the QS World University Ranking that features 1,000 top educational establishments around the world.
What’s more, all educational institutions in Slovakia have to abide by the Bologna process when they teach their students. Think of it as a framework that standardizes all education efforts across the participant countries and, therefore, ensures the quality of teaching.
And, more importantly, this means that the diploma you get in Slovakia will be recognized internationally. As it’s an EU member state, the diploma will be automatically recognized in any other EU country.
Affordable cost of living
Slovakia isn’t affordable only when it comes to tuition fees. While the country uses euro as the national currency, day-to-day expenses are way lower than in Western Europe. This makes not just education itself but also your stay in the country more affordable.
Let’s say you choose to study in Bratislava. Here are just some numbers that you can use to draft your budget:
- Prepare to spend between €100 and €200 per month on groceries;
- Students have a 50-percent discount on public transport tickets. A 30-day pass can cost between €7 and €50, depending on the zone;
- The internet costs around €11 per month on average, and mobile plans start at €15.
Furthermore, most universities provide dormitories to their students. Accommodation fees range from €60 to €90 for a bed in a double or triple room to €100-250 for a single room.
Available scholarship options
Let’s say studying in Slovak isn’t an issue for you, but the tuition costs still feel too high. Don’t worry: you don’t have to give up on the idea. Slovakia has enough scholarships for international students.
The most popular one, by far, is the International Scholarships for All Degrees financed by the country’s government. These 48 scholarships are available for both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students and provide:
- A monthly scholarship (€280);
- A study commencement stipend (€35);
- A study completion stipend (€100);
- A monthly stipend for public universities (€80).
Of course, if you want to secure a scholarship, you’ll have to put your best foot forward. But it’ll be worth it!
Free travel within the Schengen area
The Schengen Area spans 26 countries on the European continent.
What does that mean in practice? Let’s say you’re traveling from Slovakia to the Czech Republic by bus or train. As you’re traveling within the Schengen Area, there’ll be no checkpoints or border control on the way
This means you can go to any of those 26 Schengen countries without having to apply (and pay) for a visa. In practice, that makes travel cheaper, faster, and more convenient. Want to spend a weekend in Paris? Go for it! Want to explore the EU during holidays? Europe is your oyster!
What’s more, there are plenty of low-cost flights within Europe – WizzAir, Ryanair, and Volotea are just the tip of the iceberg. And as a student, you can get a handsome discount on train tickets, too.
Erasmus exchanges & internships
Last but not least, there’s this thing called Erasmus+, a program created and run by the European Union that finances a wide range of opportunities for people of all walks of life – including students.
Here’s just a brief overview of the types of projects you can take part in as a student of a Slovak university:
- Starting the second year of studies, you can go to study abroad for two to twelve months. You can also get an Erasmus+ grant to cover your travel and living costs fully or partially;
- You can go to another country for a traineeship, internship, or work placement for two to twelve months. It’s also possible to get a grant for your travel and living costs;
- If you already have a Bachelor’s degree or are in its last year, you can apply for a joint Master’s degree. During it, you’ll move between three countries as a part of your studies.
Depending on the opportunity itself, the competition can be fierce. Your academic performance will be taken into account, too, so make sure to work towards making it top-notch since the first day you set your foot on the campus. Volunteering and extracurriculars will probably matter, too.