Why studying abroad could boost your games career

Why studying abroad could boost your games career

By Regis Le Roy

January 31st 2014 at 10:00AM

Howest University College’s academic director for Digital Arts and Entertainment, Regis Le Roy, discusses what prospective students stand to gain from studying abroad

This month, as part of our New Year, New Job 2014 special, Develop brings you a university representative to explain what path is best for you to pursue when approaching higher education courses, apprenticeships and more for the games industry.

Studying is part of a student’s life, and it defines largely the professional future of a person. When looking for a university, the primary focus should be the curriculum, how a degree fits the personal and professional needs and makes it possible to break into the industry.

But there is more to it than the courses itself, and maybe it can be found across the ocean, in Europe.

Cultural advantages
Europe is a mélange of different cultures, layered on top of each other over the ages. When being surrounded with this, students get immersed in their everyday life. Walking along the maze of winding cobbled alleys and romantic canals of cities like Bruges or Venice, you imagine yourself to be in medieval times.

Within the studies, but also in free time there is the benefit of travelling across Europe. Within a few hours, every major city is in reach and, during a holiday break, it is even possible to visit whole regions like Scandinavia or southern Europe. On top off this, students are enrolled with other nationalities and can collaborate with local companies.

Languages
Speaking different languages is always a plus. English games education is possible and most of the game studios in Europe are English-based, but in reality other languages are used as well in the workplace. If a graduate can add an extra language to his or her CV, this is definitely a plus. Besides the technical knowledge, communication is key in a working environment.

Financial advantages
Studying can be very costly, and the idea of finishing your degree with a large debit scares a lot of people. Lots of countries in Europe have government-accredited schooling, which makes it a lot less expensive than private studies, without losing quality. At Digital Arts and Entertainment for example, EU-students pay €1610,60 for an entire year of study. And we gladly compare our students’ portfolios with those from colleges where students pay tenfold.

Recognised degrees
As a result of years of hard work, there is an international recognised degree waiting. In 1999, the Bologna Process made it possible to recognise bachelor and master degrees, in the whole of Europe. It even made it possible to transfer ECTS credits from one degree to another, so students can switch to other degrees.

Job market
The job market in Europe is very diverse. Ranging from small independent developers to large, triple-A studios. Once graduated, alumni will be scattered around the globe. In other words, a large professional network is within reach.

At Digital Arts and Entertainment, the international aspect is key in our degree. Every student should at least have one international experience during his or her studies. When studying in an international context – where terms like ‘countries’ and ‘boundaries’ become obsolete – you see the world as a playground full of possibilities.

We are now seeing the benefits of this state of mind and can find our students throughout studios in Europe, USA, Canada and China.

You can find out more about Howest and other university courses in Develop’s Training Spotlights archive.

This feature is part of New Year, New Job 2014, Develop’s month-long guide to games recruitment. You can read more at www.develop-online.net/jobs2014.