The Most Important Cultural Festivals in Europe for Students

Being an international student in a country abroad is to have the opportunity to educate yourself both inside an educational institution and in the streets, squares and parks of a city totally at your disposal. You will learn to live with the typical folklore of each country or social group, its different traditions, events, slang or languages, ways of expressing themselves, expressing opinions and interpreting life.

When it comes to arriving in a country absolutely different from yours, we recommend you take with you the best energy, disposition and mind to be able to live with the most particular and extraordinary customs that you will find during your stay abroad. This could undoubtedly be the perfect opportunity to live the best experiences of your life.

Getting involved is essential to having an unforgettable experience. You have probably heard "when in Rome, do as the Romans do", an old proverb that invites us to adapt ourselves to the customs and habits of the place we are visiting, as well as to respect its rules, laws, beliefs and ways of acting.

Deciding to study abroad is to choose to explore a huge variety of cultures completely different to yours. Discovering the history and the characteristic aspects of each society will make you grow in personal scope, as well as help you to develop relevant skills for a future professional environment.

A cultural festival is clearly a representation of the essence of a country. A combination of their music, dances, gastronomy, typical costumes, legends, superstitions and so on. In short, it is maximum historical, artistic and cultural manifestation offered by locals and seen from different perspectives throughout the world.

Here we will tell you some of the most important cultural festivals that you cannot miss if your study destination is located in the European continent. Take a chance to live and experience as a local the best cultural events that will give you the most rewarding memories and unforgettable stories to tell for life.

Oktoberfest - Munich, Germany

Living as a student at the most popular beer festival in the world in Germany could be one of the most exciting experiences during your stay abroad.  It has taken place in the Bavarian city of Munich since 1810 as a result of the marriage between Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria and Therese of Saxony. Currently it continues to be celebrated every year for approximately 15 to 18 days during the end of September and beginning of October as a state tradition.

Beer is a characteristic element of German culture, so having the opportunity to experience an Oktoberfest is undoubtedly the best place to meet people from all over the world, among the almost seven million visitors to the festival annually. In addition, you will be able to try the famous German sausages and some other gastronomic delights, including alternatives for vegetarians. You will experience the essence of the festivity with litres of the best beers, culture and fun in the tents of the event located in the Theresienwiese field.

Also, you will enjoy many attractions inside the festival, polka shows and you will be delighted with the parade of traditional costumes for both men (lederhosen) and women (dirndl) of German nationality on the morning of the first Sunday of the event. Undoubtedly this great festival is a representation of the Bavarian culture and all its folkloric components that you can enjoy while being a student abroad.

The carnival of Venice and its traditional masks – Venice, Italy

As one of the oldest cultural festivals, we can find the Carnival of Masks in Venice, which arises from the ancient tradition of the nobility disguising themselves to go out to the town and create a space of celebration, where their masks became the protagonists of the occasion. It was officially recognized as a carnival in the 18th century when it reached its maximum splendour and became an Italian cultural reference.

Currently, Venetian society celebrates the carnival of masks for approximately 10 days between the months of January and February each year. The main characteristic of the carnival is to see people in disguises: costumes, wigs and masks; typical of the seventeenth-century comedy of art. In addition, the city is the scene of several events and artistic manifestations around the squares, streets and canals of this magical place.

Do not miss the opportunity to venture and discover the wonders of the carnival, enjoy great theatrical shows with dances and acrobatics and even get to know music that best represents the country. Of course it is a carnival that you must attend at least once in a lifetime and there is no better time to do so than during your studies abroad. Take the opportunity to take the most popular photos in totally picturesque places and why not dare to mix with the natives using the mask that you like the most.

Tomatina - Valencia, Spain

Be part of one of the most popular Spanish speaking cultural festivals inside the European continent. The Valencian Tomatina emerged in 1945 following an unexpected event in which some young people enraged a crowd during a local parade. After the argument, the entire community unexpectedly decided to face each other in the middle of a tomato battle. In this way, year after year the event was repeated in a recreational way until it was recognized in 2002 as a traditional Spanish festival of international tourist interest.

Indeed, this kind of festival represents the culture of the municipality of Buñol in Valencia. Providing a space for the inhabitants of the community and international visitors to have fun without fear of getting dirty among thousands of tomatoes that go from one place to another. It takes place on the last Wednesday of the month of August during the holiday week of Buñol.

This is the perfect opportunity to have fun like a child, laugh and share with locals and foreigners from all over the world in the middle of almost 150 tons of tomatoes between the streets and squares of the municipality. While it is important to stay focused during your studies abroad, you can also dedicate time to cultural recreation in one of the most important tourist attractions in Spain.

St. Patrick's Day, Ireland

On March 17, Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated annually in order to commemorate the death of the patron of the whole island of Ireland in north-western Europe. Despite having started as a religious event it has become one of the most popular and multitudinous traditional festivals in the world.

Currently the holiday lasts approximately five days in the city of Dublin. There you will have the opportunity to experience the cultural beliefs and traditions of the country by identifying some representative symbols of the event such as clovers and leprechauns. In addition to seeing how practically everything is green during the festival.

Venture to discover these as well as many other representative aspects of their culture, get involved with the community and let yourself be carried away by their legends or superstitions and discover in person Irish national pride.

White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia

The white nights are an atmospheric phenomenon that occurs during the last weeks of June in which the days get longer and the community sees the sun hide around 10 o'clock at night. For this reason, St. Petersburg becomes the ideal setting for the realization of one of the best music festivals in the world. The festival of stars of white nights. In which the best of ballet, opera and classical music is exposed.

On the other hand, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the best cultural events from May 26 to June 23 each year since 1993, when the festival emerged in order to give a "musical gift to the city", from Valery Gergiev - General and Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theatre, official venue of the event. The festival offers a wide program of theatrical shows, concerts with great guests and representatives of the best operas worldwide.

Undoubtedly you can’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the classical musical culture of Russia, delight yourself with the best shows and of course, be amazed by the incredible phenomenon of the midnight sun, being an international student.

Cannes Film Festival, France

If you are passionate about the seventh art, Cannes Film Festival is perfect for you. Hundreds of international film-related students travel annually to experience the best high-quality film productions in the most important film festival in the world.

Attending one of the most important festivals of the film industry in France will give you endless unforgettable experiences and you will have the opportunity to appreciate the diversity of film creation. In addition, according to Thierry Frémaux, general delegate of the festival since 2007, this is a space created to "discover new talents and serve as a springboard to creation", so if you study or work in the film industry you could face the perfect opportunity for your future.

The festival offers a red carpet with the most important film artists worldwide and exposes new upward talents. It takes place annually in the month of May since 1939 and promises to continue promoting the projection and evolution of cinema in other parts of the world.

Tomorrowland in Belgium

Tomorrowland is known as one of the most popular electronic music festivals in the world since its first edition on August 14, 2005. With its main headquarters in the municipality of Boom in Belgium, it is an event held at different times of the year that you do not want to miss.

The festival offers a wide recreational space of almost 100 hectares, full of attractions, shops, restrooms, restaurants, exclusive lodging areas and a variety of eccentric scenarios in which incredible presentations are carried out with the presence of the best representatives of electronic music worldwide such as Afrojack, David Guetta, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Dua Lipa, Fatboy Slim, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Tiësto and so on.

Tomorrowland is completely a world to explore for the more than 400,000 annual visitors to the festival. A place with a totally fantastic atmosphere, mythical and surrounded by fairies that turn the festival into a real-life musical tale. So if you can, do not miss the opportunity to witness this event during your stay abroad.

As well as these you can find hundreds of other cultural events, which you will have the opportunity to visit as an international student based in the European continent. You can definitely discover a myriad of cultural aspects completely different to your own, you will make great friendships and you will accumulate hundreds of memories and stories that are only lived once in a lifetime.

Do not forget that Europe has great opportunities and facilities to get from one place to another. So it does not matter if you study in a certain country, you can reach any other in just a few hours by train, or pay a few more dollars or euros to take a plane.

We recommend that you enjoy each moment to the maximum during your stay abroad, get the most out of your situation as an international student and venture to experience the myriad of cultural events that are within your reach.

Do not wait any longer to find the best course or program for you in your dream destination. The opportunities are waiting for you, venture to seek them!