Study abroad? Must be an easy thing, right?
The answer is, not really.
Choosing to study abroad requires a lot of planning and preparation. Winging it along the way is not a good idea since a small mistake, or a small neglect could mess your future plans. Here is a basic step by step procedure of studying Master’s in Mechanical engineering in Europe:
Choose your country
The proper step to studying abroad is to choose the country first then the university, and not the way around. Choose a country based on the manufacturing & research output that the particular country possesses. This is important because, eventually the goal for you after your Masters is to find a good job where you can apply the technical skills you learnt during your Masters. Choosing a country first will give you on what to plan for and what to prepare for. The top countries to choose for mechanical engineering are Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland etc. if you are financially or academically weak, central European countries might work for you, such as Latvia, Czech Republic or Lithuania. Choose a country based on your financial margin. Once you have zeroed down on countries where you can afford to live, you can look for other factors.
Choose public or private universities
European countries have two type of universities – public and private. After you have chosen a country, decide whether you want to study in a public or private university. It is usually advisable to study in a public university as it offers high recognition and low fees. However, if you do choose private universities, check for accreditation. A public university is widely recognised and automatically accredited by the government but a private university will have to be accredited later.
You can check out this article for Top 5 universities in Europe for mechanical engineers.
Ensure you have sufficient credits
When you apply for a university in Europe, your grades will be transferred into ECTS credits and calculated. If you lack the necessary credits, you will not be admitted into the university. So ensure that you have sufficient credits. If you lack the necessary credits, you can try enrolling in some certified courses offered at special institutions which can be converted into European credits. In general, a good GPA is a very good qualifier.
Keep the necessary documents ready
It is important that you check the rules and regulations of the country and university you choose to study in and keep the necessary documents ready. Generally, European countries require the passport, a proof of English language certificate and bank statements proving that you have sufficient funds. Apart from these, different countries require different additional certificates. Ensure you have all of them to avoid last-minute hassle.
Learn the local language
Often, students consider learning the local language as an optional step. But it is extremely important for you especially if you are planning to work in a country where English is not the local language. Central European countries and other countries like Norway and Germany offer more opportunities for immigrants who can converse in the local language. Some universities even offer free education to students if they take up the course in the native language instead of English. But that depends totally on the university.
Check the stay back period – EXTREMELY IMPORTANT
Once you have finished the course, you will have to start hunting for jobs. By default, European countries offer a 3 – 6 month stay back period for graduates to hunt for jobs. But it is important to look for a country that allows at least 6 months, or preferably 1 year, if possible. The longer you stay back, the better the chances of you finding a job. Hence, check out the tenure of the stay back period allotted by the country you choose to study in.
Check the market
When looking for countries/universities to study at, students are generally unbothered to check out the market of the place they choose to study at. All they look for is whether the previous graduates were able to secure a job. But what you actually should be looking at is if there is a market available for taking in the graduates. For example, consider Germany. The city of Munich has a dense population of car manufacturers. Hence an automobile or mechanical student studying in Technical University Munich or nearby has a good chance of finding a job. This also means that you might face heavy competition. So it is important that you hold good academics. On the contrary, students from Delft university might have a little trouble even though they are enrolled in one of the best universities in the world. This is because Netherlands has a low market for mechanical engineers. It is beneficial to have proficiency in a particular skill set – here are some options for you to get better at CFD, FEA or Design:
- Introduction to CFD using MATLAB and OpenFOAM
- Advanced CFD for IC Engine Applications
- Finite Element Analysis Using SolidWorks
- Advanced Sheet Metal Design
It is important that you plan about this before you take up the course. In central European countries, engineers usually migrate to other countries after graduation because the pay is relatively low compared to other countries. So there is a void there that can be filled. Meaning, you can choose to work their temporarily until you find a better opportunity, even if your academics are poor. However, you must plan your path in advance about such matters.
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All the best for your future!