UK & Ireland Students – Don’t Forget To Explore Europe!
International students studying in the UK and Ireland already have plenty of options to explore within the British Isles, but with mainland Europe on your doorstep it seems a shame to not visit. Paris, Berlin, Prague and many others have much to offer in terms of culture, landmarks and relaxation opportunities, so read on for some useful advice on where to go, how to get there, and how to keep costs low.
Where To Visit
The best thing about Europe is that it is so compact, meaning you can see Amsterdam in the morning, take a train south at lunchtime, and arrive in Berlin for dinner. But while travelling without a plan is exciting and fun, it is also wise to research your chosen destinations before you leave. If you’re looking for somewhere to party and view art then Berlin is a fantastic choice, but if you’d rather enjoy the sun then the south of France or Greece is much more preferable. Prague, Budapest and Vienna offer a range of beautiful places to stroll and eat al-fresco, or alternatively, you might want to head out towards Eastern Europe and avoid the tourists entirely. Ask your fellow students where they might recommend, because they’ll also be able to tell you where it is cheap to eat and sleep, and which parts of the city to avoid.
How To Travel
Travelling in mainland Europe is generally cheaper than within the UK and Ireland, and this is especially true if you are a student. Air fares to the mainland and within are often less expensive during weekdays, so by keeping your schedule flexible you can save a lot of money. Due to its relatively small size, travelling to Europe by bus or train is also possible, and a great way to see the continent cheaply. Interrail and Eurail pass allows you to travel multiple times between countries or within a single country, as long as you do so on specific days. Many of Europe’s major rail lines pass beautiful mountain ranges, glorious country-sides and take you straight into the heart of major cities, meaning you can see some wonderful sights as you travel between destinations.
Overcoming Visa & Insurance Issues
There are two important things you must check before you make arrangements to travel into Europe from the UK or Ireland – can I enter my chosen country, and can I get home. Those studying in the UK should visit the website of the UK-based embassy of the country you wish to visit, where it will tell you if people of your nationality require a visa to enter. Students studying in Ireland should do the same, but both UK and Irish students can apply for a Schengen Visa if the countries you wish to visit are part of the Schengen zone. There are 26 countries in Europe’s Schengen area, and once you have a Schengen visa you may visit them all easily over a period of three months. Make your application for a Schengen visa to either the embassy of the country where you will spend the most time on your trip or your first destination. Once you have arranged your outward visa documents you must then check that your student visa for the UK or Ireland allows short trips outside of the country. Some student visas limit how long you may remain outside of the country during your studies, so read your visa’s conditions carefully to confirm this, and if you aren’t sure then seek professional advice from an embassy or international education consultants. It is also wise to obtain both a European Health Insurance Card and a travel insurance policy, in order to fully cover any medical expenses you may incur whilst traveling in Europe.