1,2,3,4,5 ........ 100...1000....10000...100000...1000000...And counting. Yes, the number of students from India who are going to study abroad is increasing.
The numbers are shocking, to say the least. Here are some more statistics:
- As of September 2023, there were 13.2 lakh Indian students currently studying abroad. (source:worldbank.org)
- In the coming years, as the Indian economy moves towards a $5 trillion economy, international student migration can be expected to grow by leaps and bounds. (source:worldbank.org)
In 2023-24, the flow (exodus is a better word) is towards Europe for many reasons. Not everybody can afford to study in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, or Australia (the three most favoured foreign study destinations). Hence, there is a new emerging pattern to study in European cities. European countries are favoured more due to the lower cost of study, the stable political climate, and the cultural paradigm.
In this article, we will explore why Slovenia stands as an increasingly attractive destination for those eager to broaden their horizons and thrive in a unique and welcoming academic setting and try to answer the question: "Is Slovenia good for International Students?"
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Is Slovenia Good for International Students?: The Advantages of Studying in Slovenia
Slovenia, a small yet diverse and beautiful country with a central location in Europe, has become an increasingly popular study destination for international students in recent years. With its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and strong educational system, Slovenia offers a unique experience for students looking to study abroad. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of Slovenia that make it an attractive destination for international students, including tuition fees, living conditions, and educational opportunities.
Study Degrees in Slovenia
In Slovenia, the secondary school diploma, known as "Spričevalo o zaključnem izpitu" (Secondary-School-Leaving Certificate), is obtained after a four-year secondary education program. Secondary education in Slovenia includes general (grammar schools) and vocational and technical education. Students choose their academic preference in the last two years and can pursue subjects like languages, mathematics, physical education, and the arts. The diploma is recognized nationwide and is a requirement for higher education studies.
Studying in Slovenia offers a unique and enriching experience for international students. Slovenia has a twin-track higher education system that includes academic and vocational programs. The country has four universities, 37 faculties, and three art academies or professional colleges. The education system offers a degree diploma, a graduate degree, a master's degree, and a doctoral degree. Degrees in all three cycles can be taken as joint degrees.
The University of Ljubljana (largest city) is the largest educational institution in Slovenia and is ranked in the top 3% of the best universities in the world. The country's central location in Europe provides easy access to travel around the continent. It offers excellent views of natural wonders, including amazing caves and animal species) and fosters a diverse and enriching cultural experience.
The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) facilitates foreign student mobility and exchange programs in Slovenia, operating at local, national, and international levels. ESN Slovenia organizes activities and events for international students, showcasing Slovenia's incredible views and promoting cultural exchange.
Slovenia's high-quality education system is known for its strong focus on research and innovation, with many universities offering advanced degree programs in various academic fields. This makes it an ideal destination for doctoral students or specialized fields of study. Furthermore, the country's small class sizes and personalized attention from professors contribute to a high-quality educational experience. The professors are lenient towards international students; they will spend additional time with you and are less demanding. You can even get individual time for expert guidance if required.
Slovenian universities comprise public and private institutions and smaller independent higher education institutions. The higher education system offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, with all study programs accredited and measured in credit points according to the ECTS. The University of Ljubljana, the largest educational institution in Slovenia, is ranked in the top 3% of the best universities in the world. The country's universities, faculties, and art academies provide study programs for all cycles, including bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Additionally, there are private institutions that offer various fields of knowledge programs in different subject areas, providing a diverse range of educational opportunities for students.
Slovenia has several public universities, such as the University of Ljubljana, the University of Maribor, the University of Primorska, and the University of Nova Gorica. The largest among them is the University of Ljubljana, which is considered one of the top universities globally. These universities provide bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, and their study programs are accredited and measured in credit points using the ECTS system. They offer diverse study programs in various areas, including the arts, sciences, and humanities.
One of the main advantages of studying in Slovenia is the relatively low tuition fees. Tuition fees for non-EU students and third-country nationals vary depending on the chosen institution and course. While tuition costs may vary depending on the university and study program (undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degrees), they are generally more affordable than those in many other European countries. This makes Slovenia an attractive option for students seeking quality education at a more affordable price.
For undergraduate studies (first cycle), if you've completed upper secondary studies in a Lisbon Convention signatory country, possess a valid school leaving certificate, and meet the higher education qualification standards in your home country, you may be eligible for undergraduate studies in Slovenia.
Slovenia offers a vibrant student life, with numerous student associations, clubs, and organizations catering to various interests. These groups help international students adapt to their new environment and provide opportunities for personal growth and networking. Additionally, Slovenia's small size allows students to explore the green country easily for sightseeing and to experience its unique culture and traditions. Clubs are a part of student life; you can enjoy music (blast loud) and dance, apart from finding endless time for beer. Student parties are common every week.
In Slovenia, the system of subsidized meals, known as "BONs," is a form of support provided by the state, allowing students to have at least one hot meal and 2 dcl of water or non-alcoholic beverages free of charge for each working day of the month. The subsidy can be used by full-time and part-time students, graduates, and graduates of postgraduate studies. The system is widely used in restaurants across Slovenia, and the number of student benefits is limited to the number of working days in a month, usually around 20.
Higher Education Studies
Higher education in Slovenia includes bachelor's level programs, master's degrees, and doctoral studies. These degrees can be obtained from public and private universities and other institutions like faculties and art academies. The main goals of Slovenian higher education are to ensure quality, excellence, diversity, and accessibility. The focus is on providing internationally recognized qualifications. The University of Ljubljana is the largest educational institution in the country and ranks among the top 3% of universities worldwide. Slovenian higher education aims to foster the development of science, expertise, and art while integrating knowledge from these fields.
To get a student visa, you must be enrolled in a study program at an educational institution recognized by Slovenia. Students can apply for a student visa at the Slovenian embassy, the nearest embassy, or the consulate in their home country (or a neighbouring country). To apply for a Slovenia student visa, you will need a national visa application form, a valid passport, one recent photo, an acceptance letter from a Slovenian university, proof of accommodation, proof of financial stability, copies of certificates, and a personal identity card. The student visa typically lasts 12 months, with the possibility of an extension to complete studies.
In Slovenia, a residence permit is required for individuals who stay there for more than three months. The temporary residence permit is valid for up to three years, and the permanent residence permit is valid for ten years and can be renewed. The application for a residence permit must be submitted at a Slovenian diplomatic mission or consulate outside of Slovenia. The required documents include a recent photo, evidence attesting to the purpose of the stay, a clean criminal record, and proof of financial means of supporting oneself and health insurance. The process for obtaining a residence permit depends on personal circumstances and expectations.
So to the question, 'Is Slovenia good for international students?', here is the answer.
Slovenia is a compelling choice for international students due to its high-quality education system, offering a perfect blend of academic excellence and a supportive environment for success. With universities accustomed to hosting international students, Slovenia ensures a welcoming atmosphere for scholars worldwide. The cost-free education system adds to its attractiveness, making it a financially viable option for many international students. Additionally, student life in Slovenia is thoughtfully designed, providing opportunities for travel, sports, and cultural exploration through foreign language learning, even if the language of instruction is English.
Do students get health insurance from the university?
Health insurance is mandatory for international students in Slovenia, offering two options. The first is public health insurance provided by the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (ZZZS). This requires registration at a local ZZZS branch with a valid passport and proof of enrollment. Please check with the concerned authorized sites for updated costs. The second option is private health insurance. This is for non-EU/EEA students or those preferring private coverage purchased in their home country or Slovenia. Cost varies based on coverage and provider.
Do I have to know the Slovene language as a foreign student?
Having an apt command of the Slovenian language opens up new intellectual and emotional horizons, widening the view of today's (and tomorrow's) world, which is shrinking due to globalization. Certain study programs, such as those in education or languages and communication, require students to demonstrate their level of knowledge in Slovenian during the first year of study. The University of Ljubljana, University of Nova Gorica, and other institutions offer 60-hour language courses, providing 3 ECTS credits.
How is the cost of living comparable to other European countries?
The cost of living for an international student in Slovenia is generally lower than in many other European countries, with affordable housing, transportation, and dining options. However, students need to budget their finances and consider factors such as private flats and student dormitories when planning their living arrangements.