Grad School in Europe (Part 1): A Rash Decision Gone Right

As I’ve said before, graduating from college and landing my dream job in my dream city (Chicago) was short-lived because of my internal struggle to follow my head (begin my career) or my heart (travel). I had so many worries about not making the right choice. What would happen if I took a year off to teach English abroad? Would I be able to get a job once I came back? And if I chose to stay in Chicago, when would I get to travel abroad next (unfortunately, my dream job came with 2 weeks of paid vacation after one year of employment…barf!). There were about one million other questions, linked to both rational and irrational fears…but I’ll spare you the details.

As each week passed, this internal struggle became so overwhelming that I became desperate. So desperate that I just sat in front of my computer (secretly at work and shamelessly every waking moment at home) and Googled keywords in hopes of finding my golden ticket.

And one day, I did.

Unknown to me, was this made-for-me program which was based in 2 different countries, with a possibility of studying in a third country as well. It was accredited and developed by reputable institutions in Denmark, England and Spain. And, to top it off, my parents had just moved to Denmark, so I thought ‘why not move back in with my parents…IN DENMARK?!’. So I applied. And I got in. Within a month of being accepted, I put in my notice and spent my last 6 weeks in the US hanging out (another poor choice, but I’ll address that in a later post).

“I lucked out and ended up finding my true career calling during the 3rd semester of my program, but the opposite could have easily happened…”

Going to grad school in Europe changed my life in more ways than one. I’d never exchange that experience for anything; but looking back, I can see that I ultimately made a rash choice to quit my job and move to Europe for grad school (after being accepted, of course). I lucked out and ended up finding my true career calling during the 3rd semester of my program, but the opposite could have easily happened since I didn’t have a real reason to apply to this particular program other than it was related to my field of study (education) and was located in Europe.

Since graduating, I saw many who weren’t as lucky as me. They chose to study in Europe for any number of reasons; none of which were related to their future career goals. Some finished with a degree two, three…five years later and some didn’t finish at all. Some went on to get another master’s degree (one more in alignment with what they really wanted to do) and some sought out work in an unrelated field.

What a shame, that those people struggled for years to either complete a program irrelevant to their career growth or who dedicated time and energy towards something they couldn’t even finished. I think it could have been avoided if they had just thought a bit more at the beginning of the process (before applying) than once they had relocated their lives and, in some cases, families to Europe. Likewise, had I been more clear on my reasons to study in Europe, I could have made better use of my time  while in Europe.

Don’t worry. There is still hope for you.

To avoid making a huge mistake, costing you years of your life and a lot of money is to: plan ahead, do the research and make an intentional choice. It isn’t hard to do. But so many people pass by these steps and go straight to daydreaming about their new life in Europe. I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did. That’s why, based on my experience and the experiences of many others (and based on the sheer number of emails I get about this topic!), I’ve decided to write a book to help with two things:

1) Figuring out of going to grad school in Europe is right for you; and if so,

2) How to navigate the application process.

I know it’s not rocket science, but I have found resources to be scattered around the web and sometimes a bit ‘cryptic’. What helped me was having a general overview of all the information out there and then searching for the specifics once I had narrowed it down to a few programs. This book is structured in a similar way and will serve as your guide throughout the process.

Stay tuned for more stories about my grad school experiences in Europe and sign up for the newsletter and be one of the first to know when it’s released.

Interested in going to grad school in Europe?
Learn more about how I can help you here.



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