Higher Education Abroad | Kinmunity: Otherkin Community

Higher Education Abroad

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by TheSolitaryGray, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. TheSolitaryGray

    TheSolitaryGray Vaki'ir
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    So, I've had a bit of a kick up the arse today when it comes to my college education.

    I read a news article today that lead me to research the possibility of getting the hell out of America and pursuing my degree in Germany. Lo and behold, it turns out that, rather than paying out the wazoo even with grants and loans for a bachelor's degree I'm only mildly interested in, I could be getting a masters or higher in Germany for less than 200 Euros in student fees, and for something I'm truly passionate about; Astrobiology. I've looked into getting this degree here. Wanna know what stopped me? Money. There are only about three schools in the nation that offer Astrobiology degrees and they jack up the prices to ungodly amounts because they're tech schools. In Germany, however, and I'm quoting the school's website here, 'Education is seen as a public good—a human right accessible to everyone.' That means tuition is free.

    Where the hell is this mentality in someplace like America?! 'Land of Opportunity' my left foot!

    Anyway, I've ranted long enough on this topic. Time for the interactive part. For those of you here who live in Europe, particularly Germany if there are any here, what has your experience been with colleges and universities over there? Would you recommend it for people in other countries? And for those of you here in the good ol' US of A, would you go to another country for your degree if it meant you could get a quality education for next to nothing? I'd love everyone's thoughts on this matter!
     
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  2. Marz

    Marz A very curious kitty
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    As much as I would like to not be burdened with the amount of loans I already do have, and will gather over the next two years of years in college, I don't think I could bring myself to go so far away. I adore travel and I have visited Europe before, namely Germany and Italy, but I couldn't live there. It is too far from my family, and family far too important to me to leave the country for an extended period of time. Luckily my boyfriend (soon to be fiance. insert giddy grin here) is going through college without loans. So of course when we are married both of us will not feel the burden individually, we will both be working to pay off the loans I get. Another great thing about the field I am going into (education) I do not really have to pay much for grad school. There are a lot of school districts that pay for their teachers to get their Master's degree, using programs through the school and conferences over about a five year period. As much as I would like to eliminate the need for loans, it is not as much of a problem for me as it may be for others who are going to school. If it's a great fit for you then go for it!
     
  3. TheSolitaryGray

    TheSolitaryGray Vaki'ir
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    That's completely understandable. Family is definitely important. I've lived far away from my family before, and while I did miss them, I did love the sense of being on my own and depending on no one but myself. Of course, the fact that my mother and brother want to come with me and go to school as well helps that bit. Lol

    I suppose what really got me thinking about doing something like this is the recent realization that I'll never be happy in life unless I take the chance and follow my dreams. Yeah, programming may pay the bills, but my passion will always be with space.

    Either way, I have about three years to think about it. I'm going to finish up my programming degree while I wait for my brother to get out of high school, then we'll see what we want to do then.
     
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  4. Antares

    Antares Spawn
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    Would I recomend it? Absolutley!
    I am not American but I am currently studying abroad in Scotland, and it has been worth every sacrifice!

    The whole education system is different from what I'm used to, but in the best possible way. For example: I was diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and during my undergrad I had to deal with this on my own, any mention of that to my tutors would result in a shrug and a "deal with it" even though it was really affecting my performance. But here, I was actually encouraged to talk about it! And they made adjustments to give me a fighting chance. So, in a nutshell: they treat you like a person, its just as you said: They know education is a human right and they are willing to help in any way they can.

    Keep in mind that even though the tuition fees may look affordable, living costs may make your wallet hide under the bed in terror, is there any way you can get funding? Then again, I may not be the best person to talk about this since I am getting funded, and I've heard that living costs in the UK tend to be higher than in mainland Europe. But if that is not an obstacle then you should definitely go for it!

    Astrobiology... man! that's incredible!
     
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  5. TheSolitaryGray

    TheSolitaryGray Vaki'ir
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    Actually, the particular school I'm going for has an entire section of their site dedicated to students coming in from other countries, and it includes a section on budgeting and funding. It even gives you a basic laundry list of living expenses one should expect in the area, like 'so-and-so euros for housing, so-and-so euros for food, ect.' and lists some funding options for those with educational visas. I was actually planning on finishing up my programming degree here in the states, then using that to get a job over in Germany to pay for living expenses and whatnot while I pursue my real degree.

    So yeah, I'm almost definitely going for it, so long as everything falls into place as I plan. Thanks for the info!
     
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  6. Kaliskar

    Kaliskar Spawn
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    I’m an American that grew up in Europe, more specifically Belgium. I visited Germany many times throughout my childhood, and moved to the States when I was about 15. Although my father did, I obviously I did not attend a University anywhere in Europe. Also, I haven’t lived in Europe in 20 years, so I’m certain things have changed a little. With all that being thrown out there, please take everything I have to add here with a grain of salt. I definitely would encourage you to follow your dreams and whichever direction they seem to be pulling you, but I would also caution you to not to make a move like that without doing your homework on it extensively first. I apologize if I repeat anything you already know, but here a few things I would like to make a point about to help on your way:

    • Be mindful of European VATs. European countries have VATs (Value Added Taxes). This is a tax added to all goods and services you purchase. It’s like the 8.25% sales tax you pay in America, except it applies to more things, and the average VAT in Europe is about 20% (although this tends to be reduced for certain goods like food). Your basic expectation should be that, although certain aspects of cost of living will be lower, buying things that most Americans take for granted that everyone on the planet owns 2 of, are often things that others may consider to be luxury items and are therefore taxed to the max.

    • Get used to walking and using public transportation if you’re not already. You may already be a master of your local public transit system, but if you’re like 98% of most Americans, the idea of not having a personal vehicle to get around may be daunting. Just a note, cars (and most definitely gasoline prices) just aren’t as practical in most European countries.

    • Be careful about “free tuition” at foreign schools. I’m no expert, but as I recall, you only get free tuition under a set of very specific circumstances including majoring in certain majors and maintaining various requirements including a pretty good GPA. I’d research the heck out of this and even make a long distance call to a University’s admissions office to get the detailed 411.

    • Be ready to deal with the headache of the foreign affairs office. As a student it shouldn’t be too big of a deal to maintain a visa, but I’ll tell you, unless things have changed a lot, dealing with the foreign affairs office to keep your residency legal is hassle-some and comes with piles of paperwork.

    • Don’t expect any extras on campus. You know all those really awesome things you get for free as part of your enormous tuition fees at an American University? Yep, the student health center, those two or three massive gyms, the rock climbing and repelling wall, that gigantic indoor pool with waterslides and a wave machine on one end, the building o’ food that puts a dozen eateries and coffee outlets at your fingertips between classes, mega speed wifi and Ethernet plug-in stations in every hallway, that massive rec center with all the pool tables, on campus facilities for various tasks like laundry and banking, on campus live music and shows, etc etc etc. Well, you shouldn’t expect to really get any of that stuff over there, and if you do, it won’t be “free”, or I should say, paid for as part of your tuition.

    • Did I mention oral exams? Europeans love to give oral exams in lieu of written ones.

    • Invest in transformers. No, not the alien kind trying to protect earth from their human hating cousins, I mean voltage converters. Most power in Europe is supplied in 220 volts not 110, in fact the plugs are shaped differently so you don’t accidently blow something up. So, if you want to bring your electronic devices from America, you’ll need lots of voltage converters to use them.

    • If you like to eat, prepare to eat less or buy more. I don’t really have this problem since I’m basically a tiny person, but just FYI, food portions are served significantly smaller in Europe than they are in the States. Oh, and asking for a to-go box at a restaurant is not a normal practice there either, in fact, some countries consider it to be rude. Also, never expect quality service with a smile, that’s not their thing.

    • Prepare to live in close quarters. There are a lot of people in Europe, and not near as much land. Americans tend to be accustomed to large fenced in yards, spacious living areas, nice wide road lanes, and driving 4 hours through completely empty land to get from one major city to another. Heck, I could drive for 10 hours in one direction at 60 mph and still not leave my current state of residence (although I live in one of the larger states). Anyway, roads are narrower, rooms are smaller, etc.

    • Most importantly. . . I hope you aren’t attached to the idea of possessing and/or carrying a firearm. That’s not legal there.
    Okay, I apologize for writing a novel here, and if I may have come off as trying to talk you out of this Germany thing. That wasn’t my intention at all. In fact, I loved living in Europe. I just wanted to play devil’s advocate and make sure you consider any potential snags before making a big decision like this. Again, follow your dreams and you can’t go wrong.
     
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  7. TheSolitaryGray

    TheSolitaryGray Vaki'ir
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    Thank you for all of that information! I was pretty much expecting most of what you've listed here, but there are a few I'll have to look into now that you've mentioned it. Don't feel like you're pushing me away from the idea. I wanted honest opinions, after all. Either way, it's an option I'll be weighing over the next three years, so it's not as though I'm planning to dart over there in the next month or anything.
     
  8. Antares

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    @Kaliskar Excellent points! Its good to have a cooler opinion, since I may still be too excited over this opportunity to see how they could be a bother to someone else.

    I am not sure if it is the same for the rest of Europe but getting a student's visa for the UK was easier than getting an American visa, it was still still a hassle and a recipe for headaches, but not as much as going to a job interview or getting a passport for the first time.
    You may need to take a language proficiency test as part of both your visa and university application, too, and that can cause more headaches than the visa itself.

    ^ Excellent point! bring some extras, too! one of them may decide to die on you and then you'll be in trouble, and they can be hard to find on this side of the Ocean. But I guess you can cross that bridge once you get to it.

    Oh! one more thing! most countries in Europe use the metric system! if you're not used to that a simple converter on your phone can come in handy.
     
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