Guide to Summer Programs in Europe for College Students

Guide to Summer Programs in Europe for College Students

If you’re a college student looking to spend your summer immersed in European culture, history, and adventure, you’re in the right place. As a former exchange student myself, I know how transformational – and fun! – studying abroad can be.

That’s why I put together this comprehensive guide on the best summer programs in Europe. Whether you want to earn credits toward your degree, polish up your language skills, or simply wander ancient alleyways with new international friends – these programs have something for you.

In this post, you’ll discover:

  • The pros and cons of summer study abroad
  • The top destinations and programs to consider
  • Scholarships and creative ways to fund your summer abroad

So grab your passport and let’s dive in!


Why should you consider summer study abroad versus traditional programs during the school year? Here are some of the biggest advantages:

Earn credits: Many summer programs offer 3 to 6 academic credits over 4 to 10 weeks. Getting credits abroad allows you to accelerate your graduation timeline.

Travel on a budget: Summer programs tend to cost much less than semester-long study, even when airfare and travel costs are factored in. Summer sessions average $3,000 to $5,000.

Sample the student life: Spend your summer break experiencing campus culture at a European university instead of just reading about it.

Flexible timing: Summer abroad allows you to intern or work during the school year rather than miss out on campus opportunities.

I will say the one downside is that summer programs are fast-paced. Think cramming a semester’s worth of lectures, assignments, and travels into just a few weeks! However, if you’re up for a busy and engaging experience, summer is a great option.

Top Destinations for College Student Summer Programs

Dreaming of la dolce vita lifestyle along the sparkling Mediterranean? Or are misty lochs and moody Romantic poetry more your style?

Here are some of the top destinations and universities to consider:

London, England

From the storied halls of Oxford to punk rock music history, London’s endless energy, diversity, and innovation attracts students worldwide. Popular programs include: CAPA International Education – Internship programs & academic courses at their modern center. CISabroad – Exciting excursions to Stonehenge, Bath, and Edinburgh. University of Notre Dame London Centre – ND’s own campus near Trafalgar Square

Paris, France

Where else can you stroll along the Seine before debating philosophy at a café that Hemingway used to frequent? The romance and history of Parisian streets inspire creators of all kinds. Programs to check out include: AIFS Study Abroad – Renowned curriculum with French language & culture specialization; and Boston University Paris Internships – Career-oriented placements for full college credit

Rome, Italy

From standing in the Colosseum where gladiators once battled to tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain – Rome seems to enchant visitors with its ancient sites. Explore nothing less than the cradle of Western civilization with: John Cabot University – Respected English-language university founded in 1972. SAI Programs – Specialized program focusing on archaeology and classics studies. Gonzaga-in-Florence – Gonzaga’s premier Florence campus with weekend trips to Rome

Barcelona, Spain

With vibrant Catalan culture, colorful Gaudí architecture, tapas and sangria – Barcelona simply radiates energy. And as one of Europe’s most modern cities, it also hosts a huge startup scene. Check out:

  • CISabroad – Courses focusing on business, STEM, and advanced Spanish
  • API Barcelona – Quality immersion with courses taught by local university faculty

Funding Your Summer of Discovery Abroad

Now comes the big question – how do you fund adventures abroad as a student?

With summer programs that average $5,000, plus airfare, you’re looking at a decent chunk of change.

Luckily, many innovative programs exist to send promising students abroad – regardless of financial need.

Here are six options to fund your summer studies overseas:

1. Fill out the FAFSA – Federal student aid and loans can apply to approved study abroad credits at some universities. Always check with your international program office first.

2. Apply for Gilman Scholarships – Awards over $3 million annually to directly support undergrads studying critical languages abroad.

3. Check out Fund for Education Abroad – Offers grants over $10,000 for underrepresented students planning global experiences.

4. Work part-time and save up – Waiting tables or working retail over spring break is a classic way to self-fund adventures abroad.

5. Crowdfund the experience – Platforms like GoFundMe make it simple to get the word out. Share why you need support.

6. Research outside scholarships – Tons of niche scholarship apps are out there from religious groups, cultural organizations, hobby circles, etc. Get googling!

Wrapping Up

Studying abroad remains one of the most impactful and enriching experiences for ambitious college students.

And choosing summer programs in Europe allows you to earn credits, sample unique cultures, and strengthen your global perspective all while having fun and making new friends from around the world!

So explore stunning European destinations steeped in history while stepping outside your comfort zone. Then return home with eye-opening lessons that shape your character and worldview for years to come.

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