Working and Studying in Europe

Created by students at Hochschule der Medien, Stuttgart/Germany, Spring/Summer 2006 class, with a special credit for Andrea Schillinger.

This pathfinder is designed for those adventurous contemporaries who are considering working and/or studying for some time in Europe. In this pathfinder, Europe primarily refers to the member states of the European Union (EU). However, partially due to this pathfinder having been created by library science students in Germany, a number of subcategories will have a special focus on Germany, depending on the home country of the contributors to this pathfinder.

Before You Go
general suggestions, learning about different laws, finding a place to live

Money Makes the World Go Round
grants, scholarships, funding programs, currency conversion

Setting Up Your Studies Abroad
contacting research institutions, contacting universities and colleges, studying abroad in Germany, books on studying abroad

Search, Apply and Get the Job in Europe
job hunting, au pair, internships, volunteer programs

“Do as the Romans do”
cultural guides, books, learning a language, cultural institutes

Before You Go

General Suggestions

Before embarking on your adventure abroad, here are some general suggestions for getting assistance and advice. The rest of this pathfinder provides links to help on some of the topics below, like contacting embassies or finding places to live. Other topics are country specific, but here we give you an idea of what you should be looking for.

Whom to contact in the host country


  • The university you will be studying at or others
  • Grants authorities
  • Academic offices will also help students who are from abroad
  • Student unions

Official authorities

  • Consulates
  • Immigration authorities
  • District offices et al.
  • Town halls, local councils, registry office
  • Social assistance offices
  • Housing benefits

Other sources

  • Banks
  • Job centers
  • Job advisors
  • Trade unions/associations

Whom to contact in the home country before leaving for Europe


  • Grant authorities
  • Scholarship agencies
  • The university you are studying at right now
  • Student unions

Other sources

  • Religious organizations
  • Fellowships
  • Find out if the place you are heading for has a twin city in your area/country and contact the local councils
  • Banks
  • Job centers
  • Job advisors
  • Trade unions/associations
  • Consulates of the destination country in your area

Learning about Different Laws

If you want to live, work, or study in the EU for a longer period of time, then you have to bear in mind that there may be legal differences to your home country. In some EU countries e.g. Germany, there is a legal obligation to have health insurance, and you cannot drive a car under the age of 18.

Consulates and embassies all over the world are usually very good sources for any questions regarding working and studying in another country.

Claims to have every possible combination of country of origin and embassy/consulate in the host country in its database. It also has links to information on relocating to other countries, maps, telephone directories, links, properties, employment opportunities, voltages, conversion engines.

Embassy of Germany in the US

European Union
The EU itself has many portals about regulations of the respective countries.


Your Europe

Finding a Place to Live

Most big firms, universities, research institutes or organizations are in one way or the other helpful in finding a place to stay for a limited time. Some even may provide accommodation in their own guesthouses or dormitories.

Interns or volunteers should ask the local youth hostel about the terms and conditions for putting up young people for a couple of weeks.

Euro Hostel Traveler
Select the country first and then, from the destination bar, the city.

A convenient way to find apartments in European cities is to check the classified ads of the local or regional paper or — if you want to stay for a longer period — to contact a local real estate agent. For the latter, find them in international white and yellow pages (phonebooks).

International Yellow Pages and White Pages
“Contains a list of links to online yellow pages and white pages sorted by the country and region.”

IPL’s Newspaper Collection
Select Europe, then the country and finally the city.

Money Makes the World Go Round

Europa European Youth Portal
If you are thinking of going to another European country to study or work, or on holiday… or just simply looking for activities or opportunities in Europe… this site has links and information on scholarships, volunteer opportunities, jobs and more for young people.


All kinds of information on how to seek grants, write proposals and apply. This portal offers general help rather than links to specific grants.

National Academies
The National Academies perform a public service by bringing together committees of experts in all areas of scientific and technological endeavor. They also provide grants which are listed on this site.

Information on grants for students provided by the German government. You can find information about how to apply, who can receive it and how much money you can expect.


Student Funding and International Office at the University of Oxford
This website of the University of Oxford has some general information on how to be awarded a scholarship in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, the University itself awards grants. Regulations and application forms are provided.

The Fulbright Scholar Program
Supports visiting U.S. and non-U.S. scholars.

Study in Europe
Lists an overview of EU programs for non-European students.

The following are sources from the Portal of the European Union. You can always use the search option to look for funding schemes by name. Here are a few interesting ones:

PLOTEUS – Portal on Learning Opportunities throughout the European Space
Learning opportunities and training possibilities available throughout the European Union. Pick your home country and where you want to study.

In general, there are several scholarship programs. Whether you are a pupil, a student, a teacher, a professional looking for opportunities for studying or work placement/internship or voluntary service or training or would like to exchange experience and best practice with your counterparts abroad, the EU Portal offers a range of sources for anyone.

If you are a teacher and would like to undertake a period of teaching in the European countries, you may want to have a look at these links.

The Tempus Program – Europa – Education and Training
“The Trans-European mobility scheme for university studies funds projects between the higher education sector in the EU and its 25 partner countries to facilitate university modernization, mutual learning between regions and peoples and understanding between cultures.”

ETF – Sharing Expertise in Training
“The EU agency which supports education and training in countries surrounding the EU.”

Currency Conversion

XE.com – The Universal Currency Converter
Perform “interactive foreign exchange (FX, or forex) rate calculations, using live, up-to-the-minute currency rates.”

Setting Up Your Studies Abroad

This section contains helpful links as well as printed material about European universities, colleges and research institutions.

Research Institutions

Some web directories have arranged lists of research institutions by their field of research. These lists are probably not comprehensive, but they are a good place to start.

The following could be a sample search if you are looking for a research center focused on chemistry.

  1. Go to the IPL’s List of

    Web Directories
  2. Click on “Science”
  3. Choose your subject “Chemistry”
  4. Click on “Research”
  5. By choosing “Research Centers” you will get a list of worldwide research institutes focused on chemistry.

Another resource for searching research institutes is the website for a given country. Research organizations are usually summarized in categories like Education, Research or Science.

A simple search using the search strings research institutions, research institutes or research organizations and the subject you are looking for plus country can prove successful as well. For example: “research institutes + chemistry + Germany“.

Colleges and Universities

When looking for lists of colleges and universities in Europe, you can follow a search strategy similar to the one for research institutes.

Terms you may want to include in your search could be reference, education, college, and university.

Web directories normally also have subject categories.

With search engines, you easily can find websites of colleges or universities from different European countries using search phrases like “studying in Europe” or “universities in Europe”. Most of them are listed by country. You can also search by the name of the country. Just type “universities + country” into the search box. For example: “universities + france“.

Find schools and links to information about how to study abroad in Canada, UK, Australia, Europe, South America, USA, and New Zealand.

Universities Worldwide
A “searchable database of Universities around the world,” based on the “World List of Universities 1997” published by the International Association of Universities (IAU).

studieren.de: Study in Europe – List Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges
Find Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs at universities across Europe through this German website.

Studying In Germany

Graduateshotline.com – Germany
A useful website, with many colleges and universities in Germany.

German Academic Offices for Students
Lists German Academic Offices for Students based at universities and universities of applied sciences. These offices help students wishing to study abroad with any problem.

The Deutsches Studentenwerk
The German head organization of all student unions in Germany. It cares for all needs of German students as well as for those coming from abroad. If you are looking for general information on all aspects of studying in Germany, this is the right website for you.

The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)
The main program for all academic exchange activities. It supports scholars, students, teachers and others. On the website you can also find useful information about the German language and culture.

Deutscher Bildungsserver
More info on Germany’s educational system.

Books on Studying Abroad

World List of Universities and Other Institutions of Higher Education: 24th edition. By International Association of Universities. Palgrave MacMillan 2004. ISBN: 1403906874.

Innovative Research Organisations in European Accession Countries. Centre for Social Innovation. By Borsi, B., Dévai, K. 2005, ISBN: 92-894-8649-X.

This book provides information on excellent research organizations in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovak Republic and Slovenia, which were assessed in course of a benchmarking exercise.

Search, Apply and Get the Job in Europe

Good resources to start with are

Transition Abroad
A comprehensive collection of articles, resources, programs, and links for working abroad: au pair, internships and volunteer programs.

Here you get access to academic programs, language programs, etc., with guidance how to navigate the site: programs by country, by city, by subject.


Information on jobs and learning opportunities throughout Europe.

These job databases for Europe will give you a hand. In most of them you can choose a country.

ManpowerGroup – Work Abroad
If you are looking for temporary work, use this link.

The World Press
It can be useful to check the job offers in newspapers. Here is a site where you can find newspapers from all over the world.

The IPL’s Newspaper Collection
Links to many international newspapers.

To find some general information about working conditions use these sites.

Descriptions of certificates, degrees, and others can be very different in other countries. It is often necessary for future employers or universities to know exactly what qualifications the applicant holds. The following is a good source for anyone who needs one’s skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in Europe (European Union, EFTA/EEA and candidate countries). This site also gives good resources if you want to move anywhere in Europe.

Applying in Europe
The following site offer some useful information about how to apply in Europe. Application criteria and language and procedural conventions in Europe can differ from those in your country.

Wages, Living Costs, Etc.


“Eurostat’s mission is to provide the European Union with a high-quality statistical information service.” Find statistics about wages, living costs and a lot more in Europe.

Au pair
As an au pair you live with another family and care for their kids. Both the family and au pair are expected to respect cultural differences and display tolerance towards one another. The Council of Europe recommends that every au pair is issued a standard contract with each family.

Aupair World – Au Pair Job Database
The Internet database of “Au-pair-world” aids families and au pairs who want to find each other without using an agency.

Student Exchange
Student exchanges offer the chance to participate in organized programs. Of course you have to keep in mind that those program-providing organizations may ask for rather expensive fees. But you can live with a host family and gain cultural experiences.

StudentExchange.net Student Exchange Resource Center
Devoted to High School Student exchange programs. Talks about what student exchange means in detail as well as how to become an exchange student.

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program
A program jointly funded by the U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag that awards scholarships to 300 U.S. High School students to spend an academic year in Germany.

AFS (American Field Service)
An international, voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit organization and offers international exchange programs in over 50 countries around the world.

Youth For Understanding (YFU) International Exchange
A non-profit educational organization which offers opportunities for young people around the world to spend a summer, semester, or year with a host family in another culture.

Rotary Youth Exchange for Teenagers
“Rotary Clubs in the USA and Canada sponsor high school students…to study at a high school abroad and live with host families in a foreign country for an academic year” or to explore another country for 3-4 weeks during the summer. In return, a student from that country comes to the USA or Canada for the same period of time.

Internship positions can be found in businesses, government departments, non-profit groups and organizations. They are often closely related to the student’s academic and career goals, and may serve as a precursor to professional employment.

Universities are often in close contact with firms or institutions that offer an internship not only in your country but also abroad. Usually addresses and a contact person are provided.

Should Do an Internship? from About.com:Career Planning
Covers questions like “why should I do an internship”, “how can I find an internship”, “jobs of an intern” etc. Also offers links to finding internships.

Volunteer Programs
A volunteer is a person who volunteers outside his/her own country. Please note that short-term international volunteers usually receive no stipend, and sometimes have to take care of his/her own transportation and housing expenses. Institutions that offer jobs for volunteers are often non-profit organizations, civil society organizations or even initiatives that originate in the public sector (schools, city offices, etc.).

The International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA)
An alliance of non-profit and non-governmental organizations that partake in international volunteer and internship exchanges.

“Do as the Romans do”

Cultural Guides

Travel Destinations Europe | Lonely Planet Travel Guide
“Lonely Planet” presents a brief survey of some countries, providing some references about social customs and tips for correct behavior in each country.

European Etiquette/Customs – Durant Imboden’s Europe for Visitors
General information on European etiquette, etiquette tips by country from two European travel experts.

Global Etiquette Guide to Europe. Everything You Need to Know for Business and Travel Success. By Dean Foster (Global Etiquette Guides) 2000. ISBN 047138663.

EuroDiversity: A Business Guide to Managing Difference (Managing Cultural Differences). 2002. Ed. by George F. Simons. ISBN: 0877193819.

There are also some book series about specific cultures.

  • “Culture Shock!” series (for example, “Culture Shock!: Philippines” or “Culture Shock!: Italy”)
  • “Culture Smart!” series (for example, “Culture Smart! India: A Quick Guide to Culture and Etiquette” or “Culture Smart! Spain: A Quick Guide to Culture and Etiquette” )
  • “The…Way” series (for example, “The German Way” or “The Italian Way”)

Searching About.com is also recommended. Either use the search function on their website (http://www.about.com), or do a search on Google (http://wwww.google.com) for “About.com” and the name of the country you wish to visit.

Learning a Foreign Language

BBC – Languages
Great multimedia online courses, quizzes, and resources for beginning more advanced speakers (and for tutors and teachers) in various foreign languages

Links to free online language courses of varying quality in and quantity of the material presented.

Some general advice would be, of course, to catch up on language classes at your local university, college, school, or community center.

There are also private institutes located almost everywhere which can help you learn the native language of the host country.

Check your local public libraries as well. They often have books, CD-/DVD-ROMs, or online databases that aid in the learning of foreign languages.

Finally, look at the Cultural Institutes section below. Many provide free language-learning resources.

Cultural Institutes

Goethe- Institut
The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institution operating worldwide. It promotes the study of German abroad and encourages international cultural exchange. The Goethe-Institut has built up a network of 141 institutes in 80 countries.

Humboldt- Institut
The Humboldt-Institut has 18 centers in Germany and offers different types of courses.

Instituto Cervantes
The Instituto Cervantes is a public institution created in 1991 for the promotion and teaching of the Spanish language. Its mission is to teach Spanish and Latin-American culture as well. Centers of the Instituto Cervantes can be found in Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America. There are 44 institutes in 29 countries.

Istituto Italiano di Cultura
The Italian Cultural Institute organizes its own events as well as there are cross border events in cooperation with institutions for example from Austria. Also take a look at their language classes.

Institut Français
Founded in 1910, the Institut Français is the official French governmental center of language and culture. It is one of 150 institutes in more than 50 countries throughout the world.

British Council
The British Council has 91 teaching centers in 57 countries. With its language courses, it can give you the confidence and skills you need to communicate effectively in English.