Fast cars, fancy yachts, and glitzy casinos set the stage for dramatic study abroad programs in Monaco. This tiny independent city-state is steeped in wealth and luxury, with belle-epoque buildings looking out across the glittering Mediterranean. The world’s second smallest country comes complete with a royal palace, steel and glass high rises, and dozens of rich and famous faces. It also has several options for study abroad students looking for a program with a touch of glamour and intrigue, for those bold students who believe “off-the-beaten-path” doesn’t have to mean back-country rural areas. Study in Monaco and see it’s dazzle for yourself!
With a total population of around 40,000 people, Monaco is extremely small and compact. International students can easily explore all the different areas of Monaco — it’s even possible just on foot. As a city state, let’s zero-in on the key neighborhoods for your studies and wanderings.
Monaco-Ville, also known as Le Rocher, is the oldest part of the city, where some medieval architecture still lingers. The royal palace perches on this rocky outcrop, and a small old town gives quaint vibes. One of the higher points in the city, the views from Le Rocher are nothing short of dazzling.
Monte-Carlo is the main business center of the town, where you can find the famous Monte-Carlo Casino. Shiny, expensive cars crowd the front of the casino, and even from the outside you can get a glimpse of the excessive marble and gold dripping from every surface. Monte-Carlo is also where the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival takes place, and of course, the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Other areas include Fontvieille and Condamine, which are pleasant to wander through. Streets wind around Monaco in a completely confusing manner, and you and actually ride elevators up and down some of the steeper sections of the hills. You’re almost guaranteed to get lost, but its is all part of the fun of exploring.
With frequent train connections to Nice and other small towns along the Cote d’Azur, there is also the possibility of living in France and commuting to Monaco for classes (although be prepared to fight tourists for space on the crowded SNCF trains).
Studying Abroad in Monaco
The International University of Monaco (IUM) is a respected center for learning subjects such as business, finance, and economics. In a country where residents pay no income tax, these are all very interesting subjects. Because of Monaco’s small size and the limited tertiary education providers available, you might find it difficult to find courses outside of these core subjects.
If the high-life calls to you though, you’re in luck. Monaco is all about luxe and style. It makes the ideal location to study fashion design and merchandising, and luxury management. You will get plenty of inspiration for these courses by just strolling around Monaco and people watching Although English and Monegasque are widely spoken, the official language of Monaco is French, so it is perfect for studying this romantic language. Monegasque itself will fascinate linguists.
Most courses are available in English, yet course structure resembles the French education system.
Scholarships & Costs
With its status as a tax haven and casino destination, Monaco has always been something of a magnet for high-rollers. It is one of the richest countries in the world, with a disproportionate amount of millionaires and billionaires for its tiny size. An affordable study abroad destination it is not.
Program fees are expensive. The high costs of accommodation and dining are primarily responsible for the high costs of studying in Monaco. To give you an idea of costs, rent can set you back anywhere between $3000 and $6000 a month, depending on how fancy you need your apartment. Eating in a restaurant is usually around $20-40 per person, while basic items such as bread, eggs, and Coca-Cola can cost two to three times more than you’re used to.
Fortunately for international students, the costs of housing and meals are usually covered by program fees, so you will know all of the costs up front. If you have your big heart set on studying abroad in Monaco but not the bank account to match, you can investigate financial aid options under the GoAbroad Scholarship Directory.
Accommodation & Visas
Accommodation options for international students in Monaco are largely limited to homestays. This is a convenient way to get some good French exposure, and to quiz locals on what it is really like to live there. As a modern, wealthy country, you can expect every amenity imaginable from your homestay. You can hunt for your own apartment or long-term hotel room if you really want more independence, but be prepared for high rental prices.
The visa requirements for Monaco are very similar to those in France. This means that if you come from a country outside the European Union, you will need to apply for a student visa to study in Monaco. The best way to find out how to apply for a student visa in Monaco is to contact your nearest French consulate: check out the GoAbroad Embassy Directory for contact information.
Benefits & Challenges
Monaco is one of the stranger countries in the world. It is not as beautiful as neighboring Nice, and lacks the vibrant culture of its other neighbor Genova. There is something bland about the uniform concrete buildings that line Monaco’s hills. The casinos and excessive money add up to a city that can be seen as superficial and lacking substance — or the perfect backdrop to intensive study. Although it is interesting to see and experience, we would not chalk Monaco as a destination to come to if you want an authentic “local” experience, with lashings of culture.
Monaco’s location is spectacular though, and international students will be able to enjoy Mediterranean sunshine all year round. The twisty, hilly roads give jaw dropping views of the whole country, and the feeling that James Bond will come zipping around the corner in a sleek car at any second isn’t easily ignored. Flanked by France and Italy, it is easy to explore more of Europe from Monaco. Its proximity to both the Alps and the sea give students plenty of chances to escape from the densely populated urban center.
Bet your bottom dollar that a study abroad experience in Monaco won’t be a sunk cost. We’ll see you there!