With an expansive history that has always placed it at the heart of Central European affairs, Slovakia is one of the most fascinating countries on the continent where you can study abroad. From its days under the reign of the Habsburg empire to its formation of Czechoslovakia under communist rule to its independence in 1993, Slovakia has always managed to retain a distinct cultural identity. Today an integral part of the European Union with rising influence in many fields, you will have the educational adventure of a lifetime while you study abroad in Slovakia.
Slovakia sits at the point where Eastern and Central Europe intersect, and so the local culture has been heavily influenced by both of these regional associations. The countryside is largely mountainous and it is bordered to the west by the Czech Republic, to the north by Poland, to the East by Ukraine, and to the south by Hungary. The country has a diverse population of over 5 million citizens, the majority of who identify ethnically as Slovaks (Hungarians and Roma are the largest minority groups).
Sitting pristinely on the banks of the River Danube, Bratislava is commonly considered the top destination where to study abroad in Slovakia. As the country’s capital and largest city, Bratislava has throughout history been an important political, economic, and cultural vein of Central Europe. Many of the country’s most prestigious universities, museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions are today centered in Bratislava.
While Bratislava is perennially the the most popular destination where to study abroad in Slovakia, you might also look into universities located in other smaller cities such as Kosice, Presov, or Zilina. Slovakia is a fairly small country that is well connected by train, so wherever you end up studying abroad you can easily travel around to visit other destinations.
Subjects & Courses
Most study abroad programs in Slovakia will enable you to either study at a full local university or else at an international satellite school which designs courses specifically for foreign students. This latter option, while not offering as extensive a potential course load as a full university, can be a great way to take introductory classes which survey a wide scope of Slovak history and culture.
Classes will be taught in English as well at international schools, whereas at local universities the language barrier can be an inhibitor to your enrollment if you do not speak Slovak. Still, if you are adept in or plan on learning the local language, then studying at a Slovak university can be an amazing immersive experience into local student life.
Some of the most popular subjects to study abroad in Slovakia include international relations, language studies, economics, and the liberal arts (although you can obviously expand your studies into many more academic fields than just these). Study abroad programs in Slovakia are generally offered over the summer term, during fall or spring semester, or for a full academic year. There are pros and cons to all these options, so begin a dialogue with your home university about which might be most plausible given your degree track.
Scholarships & Costs
As a principle Eastern European countries are much more affordable these days than Western European countries, and the same holds true in Slovakia. However while living expenses will thus not be as burdensome as in many other European countries, other program fees can still wind up taking a significant toll on your wallet.
Some universities will offer to rollover your tuition while you study abroad in Slovakia, and there are also a huge amount of scholarships out there that you can take advantage of if affordability is a concern.
Accommodation & Visas
You will generally have the option to choose from a variety of accommodations while you study abroad in Slovakia, the most common being student dormitories, group apartments, or homestays. There is something to be said as to the benefits of all these different types of housing, so do some research into your different options and take the time to weigh the decision carefully.
What type of visa you will need to study abroad in Slovakia largely depends on the duration of your program and what country you are traveling from. While some students staying for under 90 days will not have to worry about obtaining documentation, most will need to apply for a student visa in order to remain in the country. For more information regarding your individual circumstances, check out our Slovakian Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Stand Out. Slovakia is an off-the-map destination for many students who are considering studying abroad in Europe. Choosing to immerse yourself in this fascinating country and welcoming culture will be a tremendous and distinct experience.
Central History. Slovaks have always maintained a strong presence in the heart of Europe, enduring regime change after regime change going all the way back to the middle ages. This complex national history makes Slovakia a vastly educational place to study abroad.
Travel. Because of its central location, studying in Slovakia offers you the opportunity to travel to all parts of the European continent; be it east, west, north, or south.