I started my life in Monaco as a student of the Masters program in the local university, International University of Monaco (IUM). After one of the Internet publications, I received many questions about how, how much, and so on… Thus, here is the article answering the questions and sharing my student experience.
1) Firstly and most importantly, if you consider studying here – reply to yourself why you need this education, and why in Monaco. For the majority of the Russians the process is hard and expensive, and you must clearly understand why you are pursuing it. Most of my own classmates were foreigners, fresh graduates from their Bachelors programs. Thus, they came to Monaco to get more specialized knowledge of certain subjects, to live one year in Monaco, and to take on partying hard. I wanted similar things; but rather than “take on partying hard”, I wanted to take my mind off my corporate career where I had spent 11 years before. I did succeed in taking my mind off things, but I had no time for rest because studies took most of my time.
Russian women (as well as indeed a broader category of women from Eastern Europe) are known for coming to Monaco in search for a wealthy sponsor, a future spouse or an admirer; in one word they are looking for a Prince. Maybe that’s why many ‘typical’ Russians have poor language skills, and as a result, study poorly, too. Often, if they start going out to hotels and nightclubs with different men, then… bad reputation spreads fast here because Monaco is one big village. So if your aim is to find a prince, the university will not help you, but rather will distract you. Sign up for French classes, learn the language, and keep looking for a man if that’s the point, this way will be both smarter, and cheaper.
If you want to stay ‘in Europe’ and work after graduation, Monaco is not the best option, and I would recommend going to London, Berlin, or Paris. Labor market is very small in the Principality, and for Russians it is difficult to compete with Europeans, who have no visa problems, speak several languages (French, Italian, English is the minimum), and (attention!) who work for less money than you can get in Moscow (we are not comparing the quality of life).
2) The University. The International University of Monaco is a small one; it is located in the stadium building (there is little space in Monaco, so do not be surprised). There are benefits and drawbacks of the small size. One of the benefits is that everyone knows you, and you know everyone at the university. One of the drawbacks is that the university has limited funds, and hence can’t afford inviting cool prominent professors. There are exceptions, for instance, if it is the professor’s wish to live in Monaco or in the Riviera, or if the family likes it here, and he can teach.
Personally, I would not want my child to study at the Bachelors program here. The first step of higher education is formation of the personality of a young man, and these are the best student years in life. Let young men and women find themselves in the capitals, such as London, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, or even Moscow. There they will be able to see real life, and find themselves in it. In Monaco young people are limited by a small, quite specific world, where mainly material values reign. It might be a tough challenge for a fragile psyche of a Bachelor. The guys will try to fit in by spending thousands of euro at nightclubs, while girls will consider the “attractive” offers of old men in the same clubs. There are very few young men in Monaco. They come here already with families, or move for retirement, indeed. Surely, there are adequate normal people, who work and live here. However, they rarely go to nightclubs, they stay within their closed circle, and, somewhat alienated, observe the life of tourists and guests.
3) The language. I often hear questions about the level of the language required to study here. The entire education process is in English. The university will be happy to accept you with any English level. BUT! In my opinion, there is an important moment: it is worth going to study only if you at least have an intermediate level of English. That means that you will be able to make yourself clear to and understand the professors. Otherwise, and such cases were real, the university accepts people, but the latter are unable to pass the first session, and fail. Meanwhile, you have paid part of the tuition to the university.
Everything in your student life is in English. If you do not know it well enough, it will be tough for you. You will not be able to participate in the group tasks, other students will not want to work with you, and overall it will be difficult to study.
My advice: spend one year of your life learning English, and with the knowledge of the language apply to the university. I would not advise you to study English here, it’s not their main specialization, and you will be better off going to the language schools.
4) If you want to enter the same program I did, it’s a Masters, and it’s the next level up after the Bachelors, and hence you cannot enter this program immediately after high school. Masters program is a continuation of higher education, a more specialized level after the basic Bachelors.
While studying at the Masters program, I received the knowledge I wanted, and I would give 3+ out of 5 points to the institution for the entire process. At the same time, the vast majority of my classmates were quite unsatisfied. They were comparing the university with those higher educational establishments from which they have recently graduated, and these were often leading Western schools. After the Foreign Languages program at the Russian State Pedagogical University in Saint-Petersburg, I was not as critical, but it was indeed much worse than the US university in Connecticut, where I used to be an exchange student once.
Do employers hire the university graduates? It depends, the majority of my former co-students without work experience had to start their grand career from starting positions, to which they could have been hired without the Masters degree. The university has connections with the luxury companies, but there are no guarantees, and everything depends on a particular person, situation, or personal connections, in the end.
If you have read this, and you still want to study here, congratulations, and welcome. This means that, just like me, you are an optimistic person by nature, and we might even become friends. Drop me a line once in our neck of the woods!