The Ultimate Travel Guide to Europe for College Students

Programs for this blog post

Summer in Lisbon

Authored By:

College Study Abroad

Forty-four countries. Thousand-year-old histories. Deep global impact. Out-of-this-world food. Iconic landmarks. Beautiful natural landscapes. Rich, diverse cultures.   

This is your ultimate guide to Europe study abroad.  

How to Plan a Trip to Europe for Study Abroad  

We have a lot of Europe study abroad programs. So, when wondering, “How to plan a trip to Europe for study abroad,” we recommend first starting with a few simple steps below to avoid feeling overwhelmed.   

Read More: How to Study Abroad in Europe: 3 Steps 

Step #1: Choose Your Program 

Determine when you want to go on your study abroad program – spring, summer, fall, or winter. Our programs are available year-round. Next, look at the available Europe study abroad programs that fit your desired timeframe and start narrowing down which countries and programs seem the most exciting. It’s also a good idea to begin browsing scholarship and grant options during this first step. We offer many, and your school might have some financial aid, too.  

Read More: Study Abroad Scholarships: Everything You Need to Know 

Step #2: Get Expert Advice 

Get expert advice from your school’s study abroad office and academic advisor to make sure your study abroad plans align with your educational and career goals. It’s smart to mention your plans to a parent or guardian, too.  

summer boat cruise paris

Step #3: Get Organized 

Organize your necessary travel documents, like an updated passport, CIEE application, and more. Our application FAQ videos will also help with this step.  

Step #4: Start Packing 

Get packing! You’ll want to ensure you have your essential documents and other necessary items like comfortable walking shoes, prescription medication, and more. More on this later. After your suitcase is stuffed, prepare for the adventure of a lifetime in Europe. 

Our four-step process is a general overview of how to study abroad in Europe with CIEE – let’s take a closer look at some details!  

Best Places to Visit in Europe for Study Abroad  

As we’ve mentioned, we have many Europe study abroad programs. In fact, we offer 12 incredible European destinations as study abroad options:  

Another cool thing about our Europe study abroad destinations is that we offer multiple-city options, depending on the program you choose. For example, our Spain programs include Seville, Barcelona, Madrid, Alcalá de Henares, Alicante, and Palma de Mallorca. Our Italy programs include Florence, Rome, and Milan, and our France programs span Paris, Toulouse, and Rennes. Your Europe travel is virtually endless with CIEE!  

And you really can’t go wrong with any of these Europe study abroad locations. They’re all incredible. With each city offering its own unique history, culture, heritage, and distinct modern-day practices, you’ll deepen your global perspective and truly learn more about the world.  

As we mentioned in Step 1, remember to align your personal, academic, and professional goals with your Europe study abroad program. This will really help narrow down your options and ensure you’ll get the most out of your study abroad experience.  

For example, if you’re passionate about fashion, our programs in Milan, Italy are your best bet. If you love all things IT, check out Tallinn, Estonia, or if you’re ready to take your Spanish language skills to the next level, you can’t go wrong with a program in Seville, Spain. A trip to Amsterdam or Copenhagen will be excellent if you want an inside look at how eco-friendly countries operate. We could keep going, but you get the point; you can really do it all when you study abroad in Europe.  

barcelona girls smile

Read More: 10 of the Best Places to Study Abroad in Europe 

How Much Does a Trip to Europe Cost for Study Abroad  

While you’re ready for the study abroad adventure of a lifetime in Europe, it’s important to keep in mind costs. You might even be wondering, “How to travel Europe cheap,” to keep within a budget that makes sense for you while still doing all the European exploration that’s important to you. And we have good news – we offer millions in funding to students each year to make their study abroad dreams a reality.  

Browse our options to see what type of financial assistance you may be eligible for, and reach out to our team if you have any questions. We’re happy to help.  

Read More: 2 Best CIEE Travel Grants for College Students  

In addition to scholarship and grant support, our Europe study abroad program costs vary depending on program length, credits, and other program details. Currently, our programs range from about $4,000 to $23,000. Summer in Lisbon and January in Prague are two of our least expensive Europe study abroad programs, and they’re fascinating. Although shorter in length, you’ll get to adventure through these historical cities while taking interesting courses – you can’t beat it!  

One of our more expensive options when you study abroad in Europe is our Business + Culture in Amsterdam program. This 18-week program yields 15 semester hours, or 22.5 quarter hours, depending on your institution’s credit system, and the opportunity to study at one of two prestigious institutions: the University of Amsterdam or the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. This will be an experience like no other.  

sunset copenhagen students smile

Read More: How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in 2023? 

What is the Best Way for Students to Travel in Europe  

Guided cultural excursions are baked into every single CIEE study abroad program, which means you’ll see some of the world’s most iconic landmarks and best places to visit in Europe while diving into the cultural significance of such sites. You’ll also get to take a variety of different cultural classes alongside your CIEE peers and truly get an authentic experience of your study abroad destination.  

Take a look at just a few of our cultural excursions in Europe:  

  • In Edinburgh, Scotland, go underground to visit the Real Mary King’s Close, a well-preserved underground street that offers a fascinating glimpse into 17th-century life in the city  
  • During your Paris, France study abroad program, take a weekend trip to Bordeaux to explore the history of the slave trade in the region  
  • Take authentic cooking classes and flamenco dancing lessons in Madrid, Spain, to better understand the country’s lively culture and the importance of festivals and celebrations  
  • In Prague, Czech Republic, visit Terezín, a former Jewish ghetto and Nazi labor camp  

While some of these cultural excursions include insight into challenging histories and realities, learning them is crucial as you become a global citizen and gain a new international perspective.  

Although your CIEE cultural excursions and coursework take priority during your Europe study abroad program, you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to explore the local culture on your own and get some exciting Europe travel under your belt.  

Europe is known for its advanced public transportation systems and inexpensive regional airfare, so make sure to use local transit to your advantage during your travels! Much of Europe is also walkable, so make sure you have some comfortable shoes packed ahead of your travels!  

It’s also a smart idea to chat with our CIEE center teams to get a better sense of intriguing and safe places to visit – you’ll be sure to uncover some hidden gems in your new city.  

italy gardens abroad students smile

Read More: 10 of the Best Study Abroad Programs in Europe 

What to Pack When Studying Abroad in Europe  

Keep in mind what we consider essential items as you prepare to study abroad in Europe:  

Your essential documents: 

  • Passport + a photocopy (just in case) 
  • Visa + a photocopy  
  • A second form of valid ID (e.g., driver’s license or government-issued ID) 
  • Plane tickets  
  • Proof of health insurance 
  • Proof of CIEE enrollment 
  • Cash (look this up ahead of time; not all countries considered to be part of Europe use the Euro, although most do)  

Other essential items: 

  • Comfortable walking shoes 
  • Camera to capture your beautiful surroundings  
  • One nice outfit for special occasions 
  • Prescription medications, enough for the stay if possible 
  • Preferred over-the-counter medications 
  • Prescription eyewear 
  • Adapters to charge your current tech in Europe’s electrical outlets (this will vary by country too)  

Read More: What to Pack When Studying Abroad in Europe 

Europe is Calling 

All that’s left to do is prepare for the experience of a lifetime in Europe – buckle up, you’re in for an incredible ride no matter where you decide to take your studies.