I am from a developing country and I am looking for free or cheap Biology Master programs in Europe.

Unfortunately, there is no generalized system for the EU. Each country has its own educational system, so you have to look up each system/university to see what the scholarships or exchange programs are. However, there are sites like educamatch.com that give generalized guides on studying in different countries. Educamatch also lists many available masters programs. You would do better approaching it from a different angle, identify what area of biology you’re interested in, want to specialize in, then decide where you’d like to study within the EU, then use educamatch.com to see if the universities within the country of interest offer the masters that you are interested in. Once you have a shortlist together then start looking at their fees, scholarships, exchange programs

Can you let me know which countries I can go to study for masters and then stay for work if I find any?

It might depend on your country of origin, but Germany give 18 months to international students to find a job after graduation, France gives you a year to find a job that fits the criteria to switch to a work visa, Ireland gives you two years, and the UK is proposing a two-year scheme. You can also do 1 year of OPT in the USA after a degree, and up to 3 years if your degree (and work) is in a STEM field. It is important to note that while you can be able to work post-graduation with no sponsorship with these schemes, you will need to be sponsored at the end of the time you’re given and for that to happen, your job/field will most likely need to be on their skills shortage list.

I am from the United States and contemplating the idea of getting a Master’s degree from a University in Italy in something like environmental science or food systems. The one thing I have heard from some people is that foreign Master’s degrees are useless in the US. Is this true or it is just another case of Americans thinking they are the best in the world?

It has nothing to do with being best or worst… it works like that in most countries. For all regulated professions, such as science, health, engineering, teaching in regular education (which have laws, credentials, etc.), when you get a degree in a different country, you usually have to go through a very annoying procedure to validate your credentials and sometimes you simply can’t be depending on the course. Generally, it works like this: you get your foreign diploma/certificate, and to validate it, either you go to the Office that regulates your profession or you should go to a university/institution that has a similar course, and they would validate the document for you. But not first without all the work in the Consulate or Embassy to verify it’s not a fake document. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes they make you go through an exam, sometimes you have to take complementary courses… Also, there are different kinds of degrees and Master courses which don’t exist in other countries. For example, Italy has two kinds of Masters: Magistrate (the academic Master’s, more important, difficult and longer, you write a thesis) and what they call “Master” (it’s a professional Master’s, it’s below the Magistrate and perhaps won’t be recognized in other countries as a real Master’s). So you should look for a Magistrate if you want something at a higher level. But a “Master” would be enough to work in Italy. With a Magistrate, you could go for a Ph.D. later, with a Master no. So I guess it’s easier to get a degree in the country where you want to work. If you want to have work experience in Italy, getting a Master’s there will help you a lot.

Interested in studying in Vienna. Can you tell me how this city?

Vienna is cheap and clean. Supermarkets are a bit cheaper in Germany too. Student dorms or shared flats are around 400-500 € per month. Public transport is the best. 1€/day, metro goes all night on weekends and you make it pretty much anywhere in less than 30 mins

I’ve decided to study French in France this coming spring. I’ve been looking at Dijon, Lyon, Nantes, and Bordeaux. Which one is best for studying? Are there better options?

It depends on what you want out of your experience! They’re all decently sized cities with good public transportation and connections to the rest of the country. Lyon is the biggest city you’ve mentioned and is one of the larger cities in France. There are a ton of quartiers to explore. Dijon is about an hour away from Lyon, but smaller than Lyon. The university is on the outskirts of town so not in the centre ville, but the centre ville is full of half timbered houses. Nantes is on the west side of the country so it’s harder to take the train to another country if you wanted, but there’s an airport in Nantes. You’re also pretty close to the Loire valley. Bordeaux is closer to Spain (I’ve only been there once for a couple of days so can’t speak towards the feel there). You might want to consider the weather as well, and then also see if there’s something special about one of those cities that speaks to you (i.e. Bordeaux is very much wine country). Another thing to consider is if you have to provide your own housing, what that costs, and how easy it is to find housing, but definitely check out the cost of living in the cities to be able to budget properly. They’re all great choices, and anywhere in France will help you learn French 🙂

How will a university in Europe check the authenticity of a baccalaureate from another country?

There are many ways for a school to verify the information submitted. Most admission officers are trained to watch out for forgeries. Additionally, most schools use a third-party verification or credential evaluation service which has information on how documents are supposed to look, what the grading systems are in each country, how to contact a university or school abroad to verify a degree…etc. Besides, not it’s also very easy to simply call up a university and check a student’s grades over the phone or by email to confirm if they match with what was submitted. Some schools also required something called Apostille, which means you must get your diploma notarized and apostilled by authorities in your country to confirm their authenticity.

Which should I do first? Applying to universities or financial aid?

Many scholarships have as a prerequisite that you get accepted first, so it depends mostly on where you want to go. Narrow down to some colleges you’re serious about, and then read each website as carefully as you can, they will give you the sequence and deadlines

I live in the US am looking to get my degree abroad at a low cost. Can you recommend any countries? I am willing to learn a new language.

Consider going to community college for the first 2 years. iI your parents let you live at home for free or cheap while going to school and working part time. This should be manageable to afford while working part-time. Some Canadian schools have affordable fees and many European countries like Germany, Norway, Finland…etc have low or no tuition fees and they offer programs in English.

I want to study wildlife biology/ecology near the ocean – Suggestions?

If you are thinking about the USA, have you considered Hawaii? That would be an amazing place to study. Alaska also has a lot of hands-on work available for fishing. Tons of forest service jobs to help with the career.What about Plymouth UK? Or maybe some Australian/New Zealand universities?

I am planning to study in Holland. How many years/months will it take for me to get used to the language of the country?

It depends on your efforts and motivation. Many international students stay in the Netherlands for years now and hardly know any Dutch. Not that you need it in Amsterdam specifically. But some students take just one year to be able to communicate with locals without any problems. It depends on your attitude on learning it. Join some Dutch language groups upon your arrival, you have them in every city and they specifically target people who don’t speak the language and want to learn it. The bottom line is: if you take constant courses and practice often, you’ll be good to go in in no time.

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