Friday, March 1, 2013

Top Language Universities: Europe

Since we've already looked at the best language universities in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia, we're now turning our eye to Europe as a whole. You don't need to study languages from within an English-speaking country... in fact, you may be better off elsewhere! We've got the best options from Europe, and if you're an EU citizen, consider these options without a visa requirement.

A graduation at Leiden University, circa 1650.
Leiden University, Netherlands

Obviously, the courses at Leiden University are in Dutch, so make sure you brush up. Leiden University is the only Dutch institution that makes our list so if you're in the Netherlands, make sure this is the place you're going.

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany

The first German entrant on our list offers a vast range of languages and linguistics courses for all you linguaphiles out there. Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Latin are some of the many languages offered.

École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France

The first of two French universities to feature, the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris has an outstanding reputation and is in Paris, after all. If you need a reason to move to one the world's greatest cities (though some Parisians like to say otherwise), the ENS may be the right choice.

Aarhus University, Denmark

Throughout the years, Denmark has been no stranger to intellectual superiority. It is the birthplace of Lego after all. Though not in Billund, Lego's hometown, Aarhus University, unsurprisingly in Aarhus, would be a fantastic place to study languages. It should be noted that the cost of living in Denmark is rather high but most universities on this list are in cities where the cost of living can hardly be considered cheap.

University of Vienna, Austria

It's very difficult to say anything bad about Vienna, and it's even more difficult to say anything bad about the quality of the language education provided by the University of Vienna. It's also the oldest university in the German-speaking world.

Piazza Maggiore, Bologna
University of Bologna, Italy

The only Italian university on our list. If Denmark, Germany, Austria and France are too cold for you, perhaps a better climate and a highly-rated Italian university may be the one for you. It's the oldest continuous university in the world, so you can expect the quality that comes from nearly 1,000 years of educating. You can study languages including Finnish, Japanese, Dutch, and Polish.

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany

The courses at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) are taught in German, so make sure you have a good grasp of the language. The language faculty is the biggest of any of the faculties at LMU and a good range of linguistic courses are on offer.

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Aside from being a great place to be, Berlin boasts two of Europe's best language-learning institutions. The first, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, is just over 200 years old. That's fairly young given the heritage of some of the others universities in this list. That said, these whipper-snappers sure can teach languages!

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Berlin's other great university offers programmes for English, French, German, Greek, Latin, Italian and Spanish. It's also the largest research university in Berlin and even younger than the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, but don't let that put you off. It ranks higher than its older brother in this list.

The buildings at Paris IV are pretty nice, too.
Université Paris Sorbonne, Paris IV, France

Though heavily populated by German institutions, it's the French who have the last laugh when it comes to having the best university for languages. As one of the oldest universities in the world, dating back to the 13th century, Paris IV has had plenty of years to hone their trade, especially when it comes to language education.

If you're looking to study languages in Europe but you think you'd get sick of Oxbridge students, Paris IV is the place to be.

Have you attended any of the universities on our list? Are there any that you think should have been included? Tell us in the comments below.