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What are the best cities to study in Central Europe?

Prague, Czech Republic – Ever since joining the European Union in 2004, Central European countries have become an increasingly attractive destination for foreign students from all corners of Europe and beyond.

An affordable cost of living and a geographical position at the crossroads of the European continent, coupled with a long tradition of academic excellence, are factors to understand why undergraduates and graduates flock to the region in great numbers.

1.   Long history of academic excellence: Prague

This city may indeed look like a Disney fairytale, but much more than that it is a highly attractive place to work, move to and especially study. Indeed, the number of foreign students enrolled in Czech universities have tripled over the past 15 years, and Prague is often cited as one of the most student-friendly cities in Europe, if not the world.

Home to some of the oldest and finest universities, the Czech Republic boasts centres of academic excellence such as Charles University – the oldest university in Central Europe – the Czech Technical University – whose engineering and related programs attract thousands of foreign students – or the Prague University of Economics and Business.

Comparatively cheaper living expenses, extensive public transport infrastructure and a dynamic cultural life all make Prague one of the top destinations in Europe for students wishing to pursue courses abroad.

2.   Good for economic reasons: Slovakia

The only Visegrad country with the euro as national currency, Slovakia is a hidden gem for international students. Moreover, there are fully accredited universities which have successfully gained positions in the list of top universities in the world.

Among the finest institutions of higher education in Slovakia, including for students who don’t speak Slovak, we can find: Comenius University in Bratislava, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, the Technical University of Košice, and the University of Žilina.

Some of the top courses available in Slovakia are psychology, finance, banking and investment, civil engineering, medicine, architecture, construction management and information systems and much more.

Foreign students struggling with the local educational culture and academic requirements can receive various kinds of support to help them throughout their studies, from small grants to ease the financial burden to online academic counselling or paper-writing websites to make sure they don’t fall behind in the curriculum.

3.   Quality and diversity of programs: Poland

Poland is an incredible country to visit for a plethora of reasons, and the educational history there is top-notch, dating back centuries. Lying in the heart of Europe, Poland is also an attractive destination between East and West to explore the rest of the continent.

An integral part of the European education space, Polish universities are part of numerous exchange programs that involve and engage in individual exchange programs and bilateral agreements, both in the EU and the rest of the world.

Some of the top universities in Poland are the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, founded in the 14th century, the University of Warsaw or the Medical University of Wroclaw – a famed student city in southern Poland with a bustling youth population and cultural life.

Most of the leading universities of Poland offer programs thought in English, including for medicine, engineering, humanities, business and finance.

4.   The added plus: Hungary

Hungary is one of the best and safest European countries for international students and, despite the language barrier which can sometimes make it hard to integrate, has been attracting a growing number of them in recent years.

Internationally recognised for their forefront role in scientific and technical research progress in Europe, Hungarian universities are gaining recognition worldwide. Some of the best ones for foreign students are the University of Szeged, the University of Debrecen, the Eötvös Loránd University, the University of Pécs, and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

There are abundant cinemas, theatres, art galleries and a buzzing nightlife that makes Budapest, and Hungary as a whole, one of the most popular destinations to study in Central Europe.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.