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Three of the Best European Countries for Study Abroad Students

Europe is the premier study abroad spot for American students due to its immense size and variety. No matter what country you choose to study in, others are just a few short hours away. You can learn in Paris while visiting Spain on the weekend, or take a trip to Portugal and be back for Monday classes. But how do you decide which country is the right one for you and your degree ambitions? Aside from personal interest in a culture, you'll also need to explore your academic opportunities. This list will cover the top three countries for U.S. students to study abroad based on not just popularity but also opportunity and ease of assimilation.

How to Finance a Degree Overseas

Before jumping into the list, it's a good idea to answer the biggest question on an international student's mind. How will I pay for this? For students who are only taking a semester overseas, there's less to worry about as your school's study abroad program will cover the bulk of the work. They already work with schools that have approved programs, so your financial aid can be put toward your courses and credits can easily be transferred back to your home school after the term ends.

If you want to earn your entire degree abroad, you'll need to think even more about what each country has to offer and how living there for several years will impact them and shape your future. Student loans are the most advantageous in this case as you get to set the terms for how much you borrow and how you spend the money. Rather than being reserved solely for undergraduate tuition, student loans help finance the cost of living, travel and entertainment as well. You can compare your options online for free, including flexible interest rates and loans with and without a cosigner.

Germany

German universities are some of the best in the world with top-class research centers and world-renowned professors. One of the biggest appeals for international students is the fact that none of the 400 public universities in the country charge tuition. You'll still likely have to contribute several hundred dollars a year in contribution fees, but your actual degree will be free, and you'll walk away with a full college education for less than half of what most students back home have to pay for a single semester. You'll also be able to submerge yourself in a culture that dates back beyond the Middle Ages, learn a strong language that's influenced English and explore the vast, vibrant landscape of a country that is just as well-suited for outdoors enthusiasts as it is artists and musicians.

Spain

Put those high school Spanish classes to good use by studying abroad in Spain. The insanely beautiful beaches, historical architecture and to-die-for cuisine are all perks of living in this country. Living costs are some of the most affordable in Europe, which makes it an ideal choice for students trying to keep their debt as low as possible. Spain has some of the world's top-ranking international business schools, but you can also benefit just as greatly studying the social sciences, history and art. There is no shortage of opportunity, and you'll be able to pursue plenty of personal interests as well while earning your degree.

Ireland

Most Americans immediately think of England when they want to live in Europe without having to learn a foreign language. However, Ireland is a friendly neighbor that has a much more affordable cost of living and plenty of incredible history. The passion and pride of the Irish is infectious, and you'll easily be able to make new friends thanks to the shared native language. Whether you're after your graduate degree or just starting your bachelor's, there are plenty of schools in major Irish cities like Dublin and Cork that offer programs in a variety of disciplines.