Before leaving to study abroad, several criteria are scrutinized. If the quality of life is part of it, with a special mention for sunshine, the cost of living and the cultural richness are not negligible either.
Make no mistake, when students continue their studies abroad, it’s not just for their diploma… Mobility also and above all allows you to get to know a country, its inhabitants, its customs, in short, of take advantage of another cultural and human wealth, if possible at a lower cost.
The cost of living: advantage to southern European countries
Without surprise, the countries of southern and south-eastern Europe beat their Nordic neighbors hands down in terms of the cost of living. At the top, we find the North Macedonia, Turkey and Bulgaria whose amounts for rent, transport and beer are 7 to 8 times lower than in Iceland, Ireland and the Netherlands, Norway or Finland, which are more subject to imports.
Cheapest Erasmus+ countries
Cultural wealth: Italy and Spain stand out
Among the arguments that tip the scales for choosing your Erasmus+ destination, we also find the cultural richness of the host countries. So it’s hard not to talk about italy. Between the historic centers of Florence, Naples, Siena or Urbino, the Piazza del Duomo in Pisa, Venice and its lagoon, Pompeii or the Dolomites, a total of 58 monuments and sites have been declared UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country. Germany with its cathedrals of Aix-la-Chapelle, Cologne, the cities of Trier, Bamberg, Regensburg or the Carpathian forest, but also spain with the Alhambra, the historic centers of Cordoba, Toledo or the old towns of Salamanca and Santiago de Compostela, are also on the podium with respectively 51 and 49 monuments and listed sites.
Italy and Spain also pride themselves on having already had four European Capitals of Culture to their credit between 1985 and 2022 (Florence, Bologna, Genoa and Matera in Italy and Madrid, Santiago de Compostela, Salamanca and San Sebastian in Spain). Belgium also comes first with the cities of Antwerp, Brussels, Bruges and Mons. This title remains honorary but allows cities to share their culture and heritage by organizing various festive events.
Failing to shine on these two criteria, some countries like North Macedonia, Estonia or Latvia focus instead on their history, their architecture and their diversity.
The Erasmus+ countries with the greatest cultural offer
Quality of life: benefit to the Nordic countries
Who said that quality of life necessarily rhymed with sunshine? This maxim seems in fact only partly true… Indeed, the quality of life would be better in northern European countries such as Finland, Norway, Austria or Sweden (between 7.8 and 8.1/10). Conversely, Greece, Croatia and Bulgaria register a lower quality of life (between 5.4 and 6.4/10) despite their high level of sunshine. As for ireland, if the inhabitants estimate to have an excellent quality of life, the sun hides most of the year. For those who only favor the weather, Malta is in pole position. The island is 2.5 times sunnier than Iceland.
Still in terms of the environment, people in northern Europe seem less exposed to particulate air pollution and generally reject (with some exceptions) less greenhouse gases (GHG). The Baltic countries, like most less developed countries in Europe, emit less GHGs but are more exposed to pollution. Cyprus and Iceland are among the worst performers in particular because of their geographical situation which pushes them to increase the use of transport.
The best Erasmus+ countries for quality of life
Other criteria can help you make your choice, such as school attractiveness (proficiency in English, foreign languages, reputation of higher education establishments or share of foreign students) or, for those who wish to play the extension and settle in their adopted country, employment and unemployment rate in Erasmus+ countries. It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons!