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Top Cities in Europe for International Students to Visit

One of the greatest things about studying in Europe, especially in continental Europe, is that it is so easy to travel between countries. Yet, it can be hard to know where to start, and where is particularly good for students. Well, worry not as this list will give you all the information you need.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam is the beautiful capital city of the Netherlands. It is absolutely covered by canals, and so you can get some fantastic (and cheap) canal tours! Have fun exploring the red light district, grab yourself a freshly made stroopwaffle, or hire a bike and cycle around Vondelpark. It is the perfect weekend getaway for students.

London, England

Though it isn’t continental, no trip to Europe would be complete without visiting London. Afternoon tea on the Shard, a wander around Borough market, and selfie in front of Buckingham Palace cannot go amiss. Discover the beautiful parks hidden in the city, and try to navigate the complex Underground!

Paris, France

Paris is not as expensive as you may think! it is not all about the Eiffel Tower; why not pop in to see the Mona Lisa at the Lourve, or hear the bells at Norte Dame, or snack on delicious macarons in a cafe overlooking the river Seine. I recommend booking your tickets to the attractions ahead of time as it can get very busy!

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is becoming one of the most popular destinations for students, and it is easy to see why. It is a party city, very popular with stag parties (and not to mention it has some of the best and cheapest beer in Europe!) For those who are more into the cultural side of Europe, Prague has an excellent selection of art galleries and museums- not to mention some gorgeous bridges!

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is a fantastic country to visit for you history buffs out there. It has some truly provoking WWII exhibits, famous music halls, and beautiful gothic architecture. And if you get tired of walking around museums all day, why not relax in the evening in the famous Szechenyi thermal baths?

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is the epicentre of innovative modern art, and world-famous beer- what more could a student want? With thought-provoking WWII displays, museums detailing Germany’s rich history, and fantastic food Berlin is certainly a student favourite.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is probably the only destination on the list to visit if you want guaranteed good weather. It has amazing cathedrals and museums, and a beautiful beach to sunbathe when you feel like doing nothing. Barcelona is famous for being a party city, so don’t expect a quiet night!

Why Study Art in France?

Celebrating years of historical and cultural significances, as well as boasting endless galleries and museums, France is a place which is hardly lacking in artistic inspiration.

It’s no wonder that the art capital is a hotspot for the most prestigious art schools, including Paris College of Art. But why study art in France? We’ve put together a guide to help you understand more about the application process and what France promises for you.

Top Art Universities in Paris 

  1. Paris College of Art 
  2. École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (French National School of Fine Arts) 
  3. École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs 
  4. National School Fine Arts De Lyon 
  5. École Nationale Supérieure d’arts de Paris-Cergy  

Typical entry requirements 

Although universities require your qualifications, art schools are more interested in the work you showcase. There are three things which you will definitely need to add in your application, including: 

A Personal Statement 

This is usually 500 words at a minimum and should highlight your qualifications, your skills, and how you can bring these to your applied institute.  

A CV  

This may also be requested and is simply a listed way of all your achieved grades, where you studied, and previous work experience.   


In your application, the portfolio is arguably the most important part. Here, you will usually be requested to compile perhaps 10-20 of your best work together in a portfolio, which you may either need to submit online or take with you into an interview.  

So what does France promise? 

Home of the greatest artists and arthouses  

From Monet to Picasso, and Rodin to Van Gogh, France boasts a fine array of some of the most famous artists in the world. Not only that, but France also holds the world’s most famous art galleries and museums, especially in Paris. With the Louvre promising a wide range of art spanning across centuries and civilisations, to the Centre Pompidou showcasing an unrivalled collection of contemporary works, or the congregation of local artists and their works in Montmartre, France is nothing short of inspiration for a budding artist.  

Job opportunities 

Studying art in France also leads to lots of potential careers. From curation to tour guides, museums and galleries are already a starting point for job prospects. Other career opportunities may include venturing into art direction, graphic designing, photography, prop design and art restoration and conservation.

Editor’s Note: France (especially Paris) is the home and inspiration for many famous artists. Why study art in France? Is it the culture, the architecture, or merely something in the water that creates such an artistic genius?

Why Study the Arts in Europe?


Dr Sarah Pinto, historian and Course Director for Bachelor of Arts at Deakin University, says degrees in the arts are favoured among prospective students, in part due to the flexibility and diversity that the degree offers.

But why study the arts in Europe as a study destination?

“Transferable skills are required across a range of different career professions – business, government, community sector, not-for-profits. There’s no limit to their value.” Dr Pinto says. The demand for transferable skills is forecast to increase from 53% in 2000 to 63% by 2030, and therefore a demand for graduates who studied the arts is on the rise.

Editors note: Due to Brexit, the information in this article may now be untrue for the United Kingdom. We’ll update this once we know more about the effects of Brexit on studying abroad.

Historical and multidisciplinary institutions

Many institutions across Europe, especially those in the arts, have a long-standing history in a variety of artistic disciplines. This includes fine art, design, music, architecture, dance, theatre, and more. Studying the arts in Europe would allow you to study in the birthplace of a lot of the great movements in these artistic disciplines. You can study classic opera in Italy where Lablanche sang his heart out, fine art in France where Monet was inspired, or Theatre in England where the bard was born. Gone are the days when students would be required to study at just one institution.

Multiple cultural experiences 

Programs through Creative Europe and the European Union (including ERASMUS+ and European Universities) allow for exchanges and enhanced experiences for students across cultures and between institutions. These programmes make it very easy to live across Europe and experience different areas of artistic interest and cultures. Imagine the depth and development of artistic understanding. You have the opportunity to study in many countries with the EU’s vision “in which learning, studying and doing research would not be hampered by borders”.

This European Education Area project, to be developed by 2025, aims to enable a new generation of Europeans to cooperate across languages, borders and disciplines.

Career opportunities

Europe is a hub for culture and the creative industries. So if you’re already thinking ahead to graduation, there are lots of career possibilities to consider. This is a strategic focus area for ELIA and it was the main focus of the NXT Project.

Employability for art students is on the rise, especially in Europe. Some of the world’s very best theatres, art galleries, museums, publishing houses and research projects are found in Europe. Studying at a European University would give you greater access to these career fields. That’s why ELIA is committed to making creative hubs. We make institutions more sustainable and facilitate their international exchange and collaboration in order to connect young artists with cultural and creative sectors and businesses.

Interested in applying to an art school in Europe? Check out ELIA’s member list and apply to an institution. Our network of multidisciplinary institutions has a collective history, industry connections, and a growing number of career possibilities.

Editor’s note: It was a pleasure working with ELIA. They worked tirelessly with me to ensure that this article was informative, insightful, and stayed true to their mission. Arts degrees are often put down for being “easy” or “unimportant”. But a world without the arts is a world without culture, without heritage and identity, and without history. A world without art degrees would certainly be rather dull.

Enjoyed this article? Why not check out our reasons to study art in France.