According to this article (and many more like it), there are many countries around the world that will allow US citizens to study for free. If you are anything like me, you immediately began dreaming of all the amazing times you would have studying abroad, only to have those dreams come to a screeching halt when you thought about how to pay for your living expenses. After all, living anywhere ain’t cheap. It is one thing to consider paying for school and living expenses using student loans, but the fact of the matter is that most loans won’t pay for your living and studying expenses in a different country. And besides that, student loans are stupid. If you plan to get your degree using student loans, you are likely to be locked into paying for that shit for years to come–thus limiting your ability to travel, live abroad, take risks like quitting a job where you are unhappy, or dedicating time to volunteering.
So is it possible to live and study in another country and do things a little bit differently? Let’s see.
According to the Washington Post:
There are at least 76 English-language undergraduate programs in France, but many are offered by private universities and are expensive. Many more graduate-level courses, however, are designed for English-speaking students, and one out of every three French doctoral degrees is awarded to a foreign student.
Unlike Germany and Finland, studying at a French university is not free. However, the cost is highly subsidized by the French government. Expect to pay €181 for undergraduates, €260 for post-graduates, €380 for PhD students, and €596 for engineering students (totally random discrimination against you technical folks, btw).
So you have the ability to cough up the €181.
Now what? Well, first determine what you want to study. Once you click on your area of study, you will be directed to a terrible database–click on the “national fees” box on the left-hand side to find programs that aren’t heinously expensive.
Working while studying is possible, with students being allowed to work up to 19.5 hours each week. Many websites are optimistic about your ability to find part-time work, suggesting that it is relatively easy to find a job as a waiter/waitress or manning a cash register. The government recommends that you have at least 7,000 euro in the bank to help finance your stay in France, but notes that expenses can easily outstrip this sum. Additionally, a bank draft with proof of finances is not necessary to secure a student visa.
One of the major problems in France is finding housing. Although students receive housing subsidiaries, there is usually a major rush to find housing that might end in tears if you’re not careful. Additionally, housing is crazy expensive, so unless you have a frail French aunt you can take advantage of, be aware of the difficulties surrounding this element of your studies.