Have you ever thought about doing an exchange in Europe, but in an unconventional place? So now discover two small charming countries on the Old Continent: Slovakia and Slovenia. But in addition to the name and size, these two countries are quite different from each other. Are you curious to know more about them? Then continue with us.
Slovakia or Slovenia: Where are they?
Before getting to know more about these countries, let’s find out where they are within Europe. Slovenia borders Italy, Austria, Croatia and Hungary and a small part of its territory is bathed by the Adriatic Sea. Slovakia, on the other hand, has no exit to the coast and is surrounded by Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine.
Slovakia or Slovenia: What are the biggest cities?
According to Countryaah.com, Slovakia and Slovenia are small countries, both in area and in population. Slovakia has a population of around 5.5 million. Slovenia is even smaller, with just under 2.1 million people.
Slovakia’s largest city is its capital Bratislava, which has about 430,000 inhabitants. The other most important cities are, in order, Košice, Prešov and Žilina. The main universities in the country are concentrated in the capital and Košice.
In Slovenia, according to Countryaah.com, the biggest city by population is also the capital, the friendly Ljubljana, with just under 300 thousand inhabitants. The main educational institutions in the country are also in the capital and in the second largest city, Maribor, which with less than 100 thousand inhabitants, is a small city by Brazilian standards. After these two, the other most important cities in the country are Celje and Kranj.
Slovakia or Slovenia: What are the main universities?
In the list of the 1000 best universities in the world at QS World University Rankings 2020, Slovakia is represented by three institutions: Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovak University of Technology and Technical University of Kosice. Slovenia has two universities: the University of Ljubljana and the University of Maribor. Check below the positions they occupy in the list.
It is worth remembering that, in the QS ranking, institutions are ranked by groups starting at position 500. For comparison, the University of Ljubljana is in the same group of institutions as Kingston University, in the United Kingdom; the University of La Plata, in Argentina and the University of Mons, in Belgium.
In the 751-800 group of the ranking are also Oklahoma State University, in the United States; Technological University Dublin in Ireland and the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. Next to the Technical University of Kosice, there are institutions like the Kyoto Institute of Technology, in Japan; Ryerson University, in Canada and Universidade Católica Portuguesa, in Portugal.
Slovakia or Slovenia: What about the climate?
In Slovakia, summers are relatively hot and winters are cold, cloudy and humid. In Slovenia, on the other hand, the climate is greatly influenced by the great variety of reliefs in the country and also by the influence of the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, two of its most incredible attractions. In the northeast of the country the climate is more continental, with a greater variation between winter and summer. In the coastal region the climate is sub-Mediterranean, with milder temperatures. In the Alps, on the other hand, the cold is more intense.
Slovakia or Slovenia: Which currency is used?
Both Slovakia (since 2009) and Slovenia (since 2007) are part of the European Union and the Eurozone. That is, both use the same currency used in the continent’s most famous countries, such as France, Spain, Italy and Portugal. The two also became part, in 2004, of the Schengen Agreement, which allows the free movement of goods and people between participating nations, including foreigners. In practice this means that, studying in one of these countries, you will be able to move freely among the other nations that are part of the same agreement, without the need to withdraw new visas.
Slovakia or Slovenia: Which country is cheaper to live in?
The minimum wage in both countries is below the average of the main nations in Europe. In Slovenia the minimum wage is 940.6 euros. In Slovakia it is much smaller: 580 euros. For comparison, in France this figure rises to 1,539.4 euros and in Germany it stands at 1,584 euros. However, the Slovenian minimum wage is higher, for example, than the Portuguese (740.8 euros).
Consequently, the overall cost of living is higher in Slovenia than in Slovakia. According to the Expatistan website, for example, it is 15% more expensive to live in Ljubljana than in Bratislava. But compared to the main capitals of the continent, both Ljubljana and Bratislava can be considered cheaper. Check out some examples:
- Living in Bratislava is 53% cheaper than living in London
- Living in Ljubljana is 36% cheaper than living in Paris
- Living in Bratislava is 26% cheaper than living in Madrid
- Living in Ljubljana is 20% cheaper than living in Berlin
Slovakia or Slovenia: What are the languages spoken there?
Another thing in common between these two countries is that their official languages are not the easiest to learn. Slovene is a Slavic language that uses the Latin alphabet, with the exception of the letters Q, X, W and Y, plus the letters Č, Š and Ž. Slovak is a language of the Czech-Slovak family, which is considered one of the most difficult languages in the world.
The good news is that both countries have a good index of English proficiency. In the EF English Proficiency Index, Slovenia ranks 9th, belonging to the group of nations with very high proficiency, alongside Sweden, Holland, Denmark and Finland, for example. Slovakia, on the other hand, is in 24th place, between Greece and Bulgaria, in the group of countries with high proficiency. For comparison, Brazil is in 53rd place, in the low proficiency group.
In both countries it is not difficult to find undergraduate and especially postgraduate programs in English, especially at the most important universities.