Before leaving to study abroad, several criteria are examined. If the quality of life is part of this, especially the sun, the cost of living and cultural wealth are also not negligible.
Make no mistake, when students continue their studies abroad, it’s not just for the diploma… Mobility also and above all makes it possible to get to know a country, its inhabitants, its customs, in short, in a take advantage of other cultural and human wealth, if possible at a lower cost.
The cost of living: an advantage for southern European countries
No surprise, the countries of southern and southeastern Europe beat their Nordic neighbors hands down in terms of cost of living. At the top we find the North Macedonia, Turkey and Bulgaria whose rent, transport and beer prices 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 weigh in choosing your Erasmus+ destination, we also find the cultural wealth of the host countries. So it’s hard not to speak Italy. Between the historic centers of Florence, Naples, Siena or Urbino, Piazza del Duomo in Pisa, Venice and its lagoon, Pompeii or the Dolomites, a total of 58 monuments and sites have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the country. Germany with its cathedrals in Aix-la-Chapelle, Cologne, the cities of Trier, Bamberg, Regensburg or the Carpathian forest, but also Spain with the Alhambra, the historic centers of Córdoba, Toledo or the ancient cities of Salamanca and Santiago de Compostela, are also on the podium with 51 and 49 monuments and listed sites, respectively.
Italy and Spain are also proud to have had four European Capitals of Culture to his 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 through the organization of various festive events.
Failing to shine on these two criteria, some countries like North Macedonia, Estonia or Latvia focus on its history, its architecture and its diversity.
The Erasmus+ countries with the greatest cultural offer
Quality of life: benefit for the Nordic countries
Who said that quality of life necessarily rhymes with sun? This maxim seems, in fact, only partially true… 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). On the other hand, Greece, Croatia and Bulgaria record lower quality of life (between 5.4 and 6.4/10) despite its high level of sunshine. As for Ireland, if the inhabitants consider having an excellent quality of life, the sun hides most of the year. For those who prefer just the weather, Malta is in pole position. The island is 2.5 times sunnier than Iceland.
In terms of the environment, people in northern Europe seem to be less exposed to particulate air pollution and generally reject (with some exceptions) less greenhouse gases (GHG). The Baltic countries, like most of Europe’s least developed countries, emit less GHGs but are more exposed to pollution. Cyprus and Iceland are among the worst performers in particular due to their geographical situation which leads them to increase their 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!