The fall of Berlin Wall symbolizes the unification of Europe. But, even if the physical barrier has been torn down, there still exists a great difference between Eastern and Western Europe. Those who wish to pursue education abroad will find that Eastern Europe is a richer learning environment to study language, history, politics, or economics.
Unlike its western counterpart, Eastern Europe has lesser tourists and English is less spoken. It means things are cheaper and it is the perfect immersion place for a language-study program where you can practice the local tongue in the right setting. Apart from the medieval castles and panoramic landscapes that typically depict the countries in this eastern side, there are more things to know in preparation for the stimulating experience of studying in Eastern Europe.
- Prominent study options are available in Eastern European countries. Eastern European countries may be more far-flung than popular study abroad destinations in the western part. But, it doesn’t mean there are less study options. In fact, The Czech Republic is where top-notch international education organizations, such as AIFS, ISA, CET, and Panrimo have successful programs in place. API Study Abroad offers regular and summer programs in Croatia, Hungary, and Poland. The EESA’s Eastern European Travel has a semestral program that can take you to a regional tour of Eastern Europe.
- Means of travel is cheap and easy. Most countries that comprise Eastern Europe are small and closely bounded together. This makes travel from one place to another fast and easy even though road infrastructures are not at par with the west. The most common forms of public transportation are trains and buses.
- The Euro Rail System does not include some Eastern European countries. Most travellers take advantage of the multi-country ticket, a rail pass offered to non-Europeans to promote tourism. A single ticket allows the user to travel to several countries, except Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Serbia, and other Eastern European countries where the ticket is not honoured.
- Some Eastern European countries have their own monetary system. Most parts of Europe use Euro as form of currency. However, the money cannot be tendered across the remaining countries such as Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine.
- Students can visit museums and other tourist spots at a discount. By just presenting an international student ID, you can learn from cultural and historical national treasures enshrined in many museums – all at minimal cost.
- The academic year is synchronized with your school system at home. Schools in Eastern Europe follow the same academic schedule that opens in September and ends in June. You can arrange to study in Eastern Europe without missing out on any semester.
- The climates can be extreme. Temperature during January often drops below zero. Wintertime in Romania is 26 degrees (F), 12 in Russia, and 21 in Ukraine. Summers are generally mild, nearly at 70. Make sure to bring clothing items to keep you warm and comfortable during any type of weather condition.
Eastern Europe is a favorite destination for students who want to study abroad. As an international student, you are, in effect, serving as an ambassador for your own country. You’ll meet new friends, embrace the local culture, see new places, and get an education. Just remember to have fun and ingest this unforgettable experience of studying in an entirely different environment away from home.