If you are an American student interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Europe, one of the natural first questions might be: What language will my professors speak? Of course, if you are considering studying in the U.K. & Ireland where 97% of the population speaks English, you have nothing to worry about. As such, we won’t include schools from the U.K. on this list, but we encourage you to check out our previous article 5 Reasons American Teens Should Consider College in the U.K. as well as our Dataverse pages highlighting The Best Universities in the United Kingdom and The Best Universities in Ireland. Of course, with the U.K.’s recent break from the EU, these schools would technically be excluded from this list regardless.

With that covered, let’s launch into an exploration of the best places for English-speaking teens to study within the European Union. To begin, we will examine which EU countries have the highest English-speaking populations. After all, college doesn’t all unfold in a classroom, and while you may be working on learning the native tongue of your host county, it may be reassuring to know that you can still communicate with the majority of the local residents.

Which European Union member countries have the most English-speaking citizens?

Amazingly, close to 400 million Europeans can hold a conversation in English. Countries where more than 60% of citizens speak English (even if as a second language) include:

  • The Netherlands: 72%
  • Denmark: 71%
  • Sweden: 70%
  • Norway: 69%
  • Finland: 67%
  • Germany: 62%
  • Poland: 62%
  • Austria: 62%
  • Belgium: 61%

Other popular European destinations sport much lower numbers:

  • France: 39%
  • Spain: 35%
  • Italy: 34%
  • Portugal: 27%

Excellent Universities in the EU that offer Bachelor’s Degrees in English

Some of finest institutions in the EU for English-speaking students can be found in countries where a majority of natives speak English, while others are English-language enclaves within countries where very few will share a common language with an American visitor. The following schools do not represent a comprehensive list of quality EU-based English-language programs. Rather, these schools are highlighted because they possess a combination of superior academic reputation, a large number of international students, and a diversity of bachelor’s degree offerings delivered fully in English.

Note: Listed tuition prices are estimates—most tuition costs vary by field of study.

1) Sciences Po Paris, Campus de Reims

  • Location: Reims, France
  • U.S. News Global Rank: N/A (QS World Ranking: #3 for Politics & International Studies)
  • Number of International Students: 800
  • Tuition: ~$15,700
  • Highlights: Formally called the Paris Institute of Political Studies, but better known as Sciences Po, the Reims campus is a powerhouse in the area of political science and international studies. This specialty area attracts hundreds of students from the United States each year.

2) University of Amsterdam

  • Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • U.S. News Global Rank: 40
  • Number of International Students: 7,000
  • Tuition: ~$16,100
  • Highlights: The majority of bachelor’s programs at the UvA are taught in Dutch, but 21 programs are taught fully in English. Degrees can be obtained in a range of disciplines from Ancient Studies to Business Analytics to Psychology. A complete list can be found here.

3) Erasmus University Rotterdam

  • Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • U.S. News Global Rank: 68
  • Number of International Students: 5,800
  • Tuition: ~$18,000
  • Highlights: Choose from 15 degree programs in English, including dual/double-degree programs in Econometrics and Economics or Arts & Sciences.

4) Leiden University

  • Location: Leiden, Netherlands
  • U.S. News Global Rank: 86
  • Number of International Students: 3,000
  • Tuition: ~$12,000
  • Highlights: Offering 17 programs fully in English, Leiden has a diverse array of programs available including: International Relations, Linguistics, Urban Studies, Archeology, Philosophy, Dutch Studies, and Arts, Media and Society.

5) University of Groningen

  • Location: Groningen, Netherlands
  • U.S. News Global Rank: 92
  • Number of International Students: 6,460
  • Tuition: ~$13,000
  • Highlights: With a stunning 36 bachelor’s degree programs offered in English, the University of Groningen is very likely be able to cater to your desired field of study. Of note here are the specialty programs geared to those who want to enter the medical or pharmaceutical field.

6) Lund University

  • Location: Lund, Sweden
  • U.S. News Global Rank: 99
  • Number of International Students: 5,142
  • Tuition: ~$12,000-$14,300
  • Highlights: Nine bachelor’s degrees are taught in English including in Fine Arts, Mathematics, Physics, International Business, Economy & Society, and the newly-launched Biomedicine program which began in 2020.

7) Aarhus University

  • Location: Aarhus, Denmark
  • U.S. News Global Rank: 105
  • Number of International Students: 2,515
  • Tuition: ~$17,000
  • Highlights: Students can pursue a bachelor’s of Economics and Business Administration or Global Management and Manufacturing degree within the School of Business and Social Sciences.  There are a total of eight undergraduate degrees fully delivered in English.

8) Stockholm University

  • Location: Stockholm, Sweden
  • U.S. News Global Rank: 114
  • Number of International Students: 3,740
  • Tuition: ~$27,000
  • Highlights: Fifteen bachelor’s degree programs for English-speakers include Earth Science, Economics and Statistics, Physics, Marketing Communication, and International Business and Politics.

9) Autonomous University of Barcelona

  • Location: Barcelona, Spain
  • U.S. News Global Rank: 154
  • Number of International Students: 5,187
  • Tuition: ~$4,200
  • Highlights: The six programs offered fully in English include hard-to-find majors like Bioinformatics, Biomedical Engineering, Physiotherapy, and Tourism.

10) The University of Milan

  • Location: Milan, Italy
  • U.S. News Global Rank: 164
  • Number of International Students: 2.950
  • Tuition: ~$4,850
  • Highlights: Programmatic offerings are limited but those interested in Political Science or International Politics, Law and Economics who desire to spend their college years in Italy can find a perfect home here.

11) Pompeu Fabra University

  • Location: Barcelona, Spain
  • U.S. News Global Rank: 180
  • Number of International Students: 1,500
  • Tuition: $4,850
  • Highlights: Seven excellent bachelor’s degree options include Audiovisual Systems Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Industrial Technologies and Economic Analysis.

12) Maastricht University

  • Location: Maastricht, Netherlands
  • U.S. News Global Rank: 189
  • Number of International Students: 10,250
  • Tuition: ~$9,700
  • Highlights: Maastricht has a superb menu of academic concentrations that are fully delivered in English. The 20 offerings at this university include: Digital Society, Biomedical Sciences, European Studies, and four different areas of concentration under the umbrella of Economics.

College Transitions’ Final Thoughts

With the coronavirus pandemic still raging, studying overseas may feel like a pipedream. However, American high school students should keep their dreams of international college study alive, as the vaccine will—fingers crossed—make global travel a feasible and safe practice once again in the very near future.