• Thursday, December 07, 2023
businessday logo


8 European countries most friendly to international students

University given 5 Star rating by QS

Students from Nigeria and other countries are increasingly seeing European countries among their options for favoured study-abroad destinations.

Many top universities in the European region require no or less tuition fees. Cost-of-living in many of the countries is low and they offer more career opportunities, making them attractive destinations for the student.

“Europe is one of the best study destinations, thanks to its excellent infrastructural development, stable political environment, and a strong combined economy,” a recent report by AfterSchoolAfrica, an education capacity development platform, said.

It said many European countries offer the best opportunities for studying, working, living, and raising a family.

Donjeta Pllana, data researcher at Erudera, a global university and academic program search platform added that as more international students search for opportunities to study abroad, it is only fair that they also look for some of the most affordable countries to study.

“It is important to remember that while many universities worldwide do not charge tuition fees, they can still charge smaller amounts, known as administrative fees,” she said.

According to Pllana, these fees help fund the services related to the administration and supervision of students.

Higher education and work are the major principal conduits of permanent emigration. But Nigeria’s current realities such as high inflation, unemployment and fragile economic growth have now made it a major reason why its citizens, especially the younger ones, immigrate to other countries for greener pastures.

And almost all the countries in the region are seeking large young and skilled migrants to grow their economies as a result of their exit from the European Union (Brexit). It created a lot of job vacancies at the middle and low levels in the country.

According to the British government, the number of Nigerians given sponsored study or student visas rose by 768.7 percent to 59,053 in 2022 from 6,798 in 2019.

In Canada, the number of study permits issued to Nigerians increased by 17.8 percent to 16,195 as of December 31, 2022, the highest on record from 13,745 in the same period of 2021.

For Australia, the number of Nigerian students grew to 2,372 last year from 1,928 in 2021.

As students prepare for university in September, here are the top eight countries that offer no or low tuition fees and can also work part-time.

Read also: Canada unveils new job opportunities for Nigeria, others


Germany is one of the most popular destinations for international students due to its free education from its public universities. The German government believes that higher education will benefit the economy at a faster pace and development for the greater good.

The country which is also at the forefront of major scientific advancements creates career opportunities for international students.

“Almost 300 public universities in Germany offer education to international students for free. Most are universities of applied science which are famous for training their students for direct employment”, consultants at KCR Consultants, an international education management company, said.

Although the German language is the country’s official language, English-taught programs have been introduced in the name of international programs in public universities to help students stay back in the country.

Data from the German Academic Exchange Service show that for the 2021/22 session, 440,564 international students are pursuing their higher education in Germany. The figure is an increase of six percent from the previous session.

“Students in Germany only need to pay an administrative fee of around €250 per semester since tuition fees were abolished in 2014,” Pllana of Erudera said.

She said international students in Germany can work full-time for 120 days or part-time for 240 half days during their studies.

“After graduation, they can apply to stay in the country for 18 months to look for a job in their study area. The average cost of living ranges from €1,040 – €1,277/month, but students can easily spend around €934 per month with a bit of budgeting — which is also the amount required per month for a German blocked bank account,” she added.


Higher education is subsidised by the French government and the cost for students is relatively low. Some of the universities in the country are some of the most renowned Universities in the world.

Just like Germany, the country also offers courses in the English language. Erudera said non-European students pay €2,770 for a Bachelor’s degree and €3,770 Masters.

It said students in France can work up to 964 hours per year during their studies and can stay in the country for up to one year after graduation to seek employment.

Education costs less in France than in the US and UK. Funding is provided to many understudies by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, according to eduka.com, an online education portal for international education.

“There are 3500 public and private organizations which offer phenomenal projects and training.”

A recent report titled ‘A new Focus on Nigeria’ by Campus France, a French governmental organisation showed that in 2021-2022, France hosted 1,019 Nigerian students.

“At university, 40 percent of Nigerian students are enrolled in a Licence course, 44 percent in Master course and 16 percent in Doctorate course,” it said.


This popular tourist destination is gradually becoming a popular study destination for international students.

The small populated country with over 10 million people has one of the oldest nations in the world. It has 24 public higher education institutions which award Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees in a broad range of scientific disciplines from science, technology, engineering and mathematics to arts and humanities, health sciences, economics and business.

According to education consultants at Educations.com, Greece’s recent economic transition is transforming it into something of a tech hub.

“This means that if you study in Greece, you’ll find plenty of internship opportunities and you can even find a job after graduation,” they said.

Analysts at Erudera added that students can work 20 hours per week during the semester and 40 hours per week during vacations.

“Tuition fees for Non-EU students start from €1,500/year. The average international student expenses range from €761 – €895/month, which is comparatively cheaper than many other study destinations,” it said.


International students in this most sparsely populated European country are not charged tuition fees at public universities but are required to pay an annual admin fee of ISK 75,000 (around £454).

“Living costs, however, are on the expensive side, ranging from €1,369 – €1,976/month. International students in Iceland can work up to 15 hours per week during the academic year. After graduation, international students can apply to stay in the country for another six months to search for employment,” Erudera said.


Poland is one of the most affordable European countries to pursue a degree. Its tuition-free education is available for Polish students, EU/EEA, and Switzerland citizens while students from non-EU countries pay tuition fees which start from €2,000/year.

“International students can work 20 hours per week during their studies and 40 hours per week during holidays. They can also stay in the country for up to nine months after graduation to look for employment,” Pllana of Erudera said.

Other countries are Finland (Starting at €4,000 for English-taught degrees), Austria, (€762/semester), Malta for non-EU students starting from €1,080.