A quick post to circulate that another study abroad organization as reviewed my book, College Abroad, my guide on how to go overseas for your education. The nice people at Milibee Global, who are behind the Better Abroad project, gave my book quite a nice review on their website. I’m glad they highlighted the part of my book where I talk about some of the personal challenges when choosing to live in a foreign country for a long period of time, such as gender, race, and sexual orientation. I personally thought this was the strongest part of the book and the part that I spent the most time researching. They also highlighted some weak points of the book, a weak point that I tend to agree with: the lack of personal stories or quotes from other students other than myself. Well I did conduct some interviews with other Americans who chose to do college abroad but unfortunately in the final edits a lot of those stories and quotes didn’t make into the book. Maybe something to include in the second edition?!? Or perhaps I’ll consider including an interview or Q&A with some of the people I interviewed on this site.
At the same time, the website loans.org did a story on the fact that international students as a rule are not charged tuition to study in Norway. The author advertises this fact as if it were a new “program” aimed at getting more international students, when in fact, as far as I know, Norway has had its tuition-free doors open to international students for a long time. This isn’t a “program;” it is just the way it is. And of course, as readers of this blog know, and readers of my book know, this is the way it is in many European countries. In fact, I talk in much detail about Norway as a potential destination for the would-be American international student than the article offers. It is tuition-free, the quality of life in Norway is extremely high, the quality of education is also excellent, and many of the programs in Norway are taught in English. And linking back to the personal aspects of college abroad that Melibee talked about in their review of my book, Norway is certainly extremely tolerant so there would few concerns for women or LGBT living there. The author features me, my book, and a few quotes of mine about my experience studying in Germany. I appreciate loans.org reaching out to me to ask for more details about college abroad!
But here’s the rub: while tuition in Norway is certainly free for international students, Norway is one of the most expensive countries in Europe in terms of cost of living. The article doesn’t mention this (I seem to remember paying something in the neighborhood of $15 for one beer). I’m not trying to discourage Americans from considering Norway as a viable college abroad option…in fact Norway is one my most favorite European countries and I would love the opportunity to spend more time there! But even though Norway and other cities in Europe are very expensive (Barcelona comes to mind after I spent the day taking advantage of a 48 hour period of free admission to some of the city’s sites since I normally cannot afford the entrance fees to these places), there are ways to live cheaply if you’re willing to be flexible, like waiting in long lines during free admission times. I talk about how to live cheaply even in an expensive city in the book. Of course, you could also choose to study in a cheap city, like Budapest, Berlin, or Bremen, just to name a few from my own experience. If you can find a country that doesn’t charge tuition and whose cost of living is still under control, you can really save.