written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/4/2011
If you want to hop across the pond for film education you have some special things to think about when selecting a program.
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For many hopeful film school attendees the idea of obtaining your education domestically may not have the same amount of intrigue as going international might have. Looking toward the international realm may fit your needs for culture and experience more appropriately or open up your final pool of possible schools. There are not as many stellar programs on the international frontier as there are stateside, so you have to be even more focused when applying.
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The fist thing to look at is the most obvious but often overlooked. Find out if the program is taught from an English centered standpoint even though it is in another country. This is not a problem for places like Australia or Britain, but if you want to go to school in France you will be hard pressed to find a program in English. Even if you have a strong second language it is going to be difficult to do a several year long course of study in a language that is not your primary one. This can be part of the charm, so then find one that has these limitations, but note that this is not the most effective way to do this if you are going to primarily do film work in the U.S. This is what is notable about schools like the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, which will do their programs in English for a truly international approach.
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Make sure that the schools you are interested in still offer the degree programs you may want. For example, if you already have a Bachelor’s degree you are likely going to want a Master’s of Fine Arts degree for extended film study. Do not make sacrifices in regards to the standards of our curriculum. The National Film and Television School in Britain is highly regarded, yet it does not offer traditional fine arts programs and may not give you exactly what you are looking for.
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Look to see what the differential is in price both because of the exchange rate and because of international tuition rates. Everything in the European Union is going to be a difficult transfer for American students because of the strength of the Euro against the dollar. If you decide to head somewhere like the Korean University of the Arts you are going to end up with a cheaper exchange rate, but it may not be the experience you are looking for. Many schools, such as the National Film School of Denmark, will tell you that tuition is paid for by the state. This may not apply to you so you need to find out well in advance of applying.
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The most important thing you need to look for is that these are international schools and not just ones in other countries. They need to be focused on creating artists and filmmakers without borders. It is not enough that they use English and help international students, but they need to foster a creative atmosphere that is not centered on their country alone.