Its official. Europe is on our doorstep and the Great British public have been liberated from stag and hen parties in Blackpool. But its not just cheap holidays that can be taken advantage of. The growth of international Masters on the continent means further study abroad is more accessible than ever before.

Theres never been a better time to consider studying abroad. Universities are falling over themselves to compete for international students and governments are setting ambitious targets to double recruitment in the next five years.

Its perhaps no coincidence then that the European School of Managements motto is learn everywhere, manage anywhere. In an era of greater integration and low-cost travel on the continent, this seems an appropriate way to describe an institution that first began delivering business management education across Europe in 1973 and now has 53 partner universities worldwide.

The key to ESCP-EAPs educational philosophy is a cross-border approach to management learning in a multicultural society, with students studying in at least two countries, notes Dr David Sola, UK Director of the School. We have five campuses in Europe: Paris, London, Madrid, Berlin and Turin.

Choose your programme
There are several programmes open to UK students; including a Masters in Management, Masters in European Business and European Executive MBA. Although some of the courses are available in English, most are delivered in the native language of the country where each campus is based.

The vast majority are multi-lingual, remarks Dr Sola of the Schools student population, some 400 of which come from the UK annually. However, the introduction of programmes taught entirely in English does broaden the options available, especially to those that speak English as their only European language.

International horizons
In line with the linguistic requirements, the School prides itself on being selective in its admission policies, seeking to admit the most promising business students. Minimum entry criteria for the Executive MBA, for example, are five years professional experience and a university degree -inviting those looking to supplement their industry experience with further formal learning. The Masters in Management and Masters in European Business, meanwhile, look to recruit graduates, as Dr Sola explains.

The Masters in Management is for high-potential students eager to rise to the challenge of globalisation and follow an international career. It provides a solid grounding in general and specialised management.

The Masters in European Business is a 12-month, two-country postgraduate programme for graduates from any degree discipline. They embark on a programme which includes five months of study in the first country, a further four months in the second, followed by three months first-hand experience on an in-company internship.

Do the research
In pursuing potential and established management professionals, the School naturally professes that the standard of teaching is conducive to students abilities and expects them to be prepared for a different learning experience than in UK universities. For this reason, it is vitally important to research courses and institutions thoroughly, especially as there is no central admissions system like UCAS.

The key differentiator is the fact that our programmes aim to widen students professional horizons by adding value to their initial studies and to facilitate entry into the international job market, suggests Dr Sola. Our programmes are hard work: much like one would expect from an in-depth postgraduate course. The school is very selective but the atmosphere is very supportive.

Way of life
It is not uncommon to find universities promoting the social experience in tandem with learning to foreign students. As an essential part of the UK experience it becomes acutely more so when you are studying abroad, with a wide range of cultural considerations to take into account; everything from the basics of getting used to foreign currency to the more residual aspect of adjusting to the intricacies of your host country.

At TUDelft University in the Netherlands, there is a comprehensive approach to preparing overseas students for life in the small town of Delft, nestled between Rotterdam and The Hague. The International Student guide, which runs to 79 pages, has a particular section on Dutch society.

Masters students have the opportunity to participate in a Summer School during the summer, notes Ann OBrien, the Universitys International Student Marketing Officer. This is an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with the Dutch way of life and learning, among other things. But students need not worry about having to learn Dutch, as all graduate study is taught in English.

Wider variety
It is not uncommon to find universities promoting the social experience in tandem with learning to foreign students. Always an essential part of university life, the social aspect becomes even more important when you are studying abroad, with a wide range of cultural considerations to take into account; everything from the basics of getting used to foreign currency to the more residual aspect of adjusting to the intricacies of your host country.

At TUDelft, the largest university of technology in the Netherlands, there is a comprehensive approach to preparing overseas students for life in the small town of Delft, nestled between Rotterdam and The Hague. The International Student guide, which runs to 79 pages, has a particular section on Dutch society.

Masters students have the opportunity to participate in a Summer School in the month preceding commencement of the academic year, notes Ann OBrien, the Universitys International Marketing Adviser. This is an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with the Dutch way of life and learning, among other things. But students need not worry about having to learn Dutch, as all graduate study is taught in English.

Highlighting the vast differences between institutions across the continent, TUDelft covers a much wider subject base than the European School of Management but enrols a substantially lower number of UK students on average about ten per year. There is a marked difference in the admission process too, with TUDelft requiring a 2-3,000 word essay, extensive curriculum vitae from each applicant and a Grade Point Average of more than 75% alongside a recognised, relevant undergraduate degree. The essay is expected to cover your motivation for the Masters programme; reasons for studying abroad and, in particular at TUDelft, thesis topics that are of interest to you and a summary of the final assignment for your undergraduate degree.

TUDelft specialises in engineering and technology courses and offers 38 two-year postgraduate programmes. With faculties in Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science; Aerospace Engineering; Applied Sciences; Architecture; Industrial Design; Civil Engineering, and Geosciences; and Technology, Policy and Management, the Universitys focus is on research and innovation. As Ann OBrien points out, the demands and needs of contemporary industry guides the teaching environment.

The universitys strong links with multinationals ensures the curricula are fine-tuned to meet the demands of contemporary industry. Graduates should expect the best tuition from top scientists and the chance to perform cutting-edge research in the chosen research group towards the MSc thesis.

There are, of course, some who would argue that UK postgraduate study is as cutting-edge as its European counterparts, but that defeats a common purpose of studying abroad the chance to combine further education and travel whilst experiencing other cultures. With universities crying out for foreign students, it might be time to pack your postgraduate bags. Damien Currie

For more information on studying abroad visit:
www.prospects.ac.uk/links/Abroad