Luxembourg, officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a landlockedcountry in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. As a representative democracy with a constitutional monarch, it is the world's only remaining grand duchy. Luxembourg is a developed country, with an advanced economy and the world's highest GDP (PPP) per capita, according to the World Bank. Reflecting its geographic position, Luxembourg's culture is a fusion of Romance and Germanic Europe, borrowing customs from each of the distinct traditions.
Nestled in the middle of Germany, France, and Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a small but very picturesque Western European country. Leading this last remaining grand duchy in the world is the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, responsible for all matters affecting the country’s population of 524,853 (October 2012). The duchy is small, only 998 square miles (2,586 square kilometers), but is quite a powerful force in the European Union and abroad.
Since its beginning as a fort in 963, Luxembourg has been home to some of the most notable names in European history - Bourbon, Hapsburg, Hohenzollern - and, over the centuries, has been associated by treaty or alliance with Prussia, The Netherlands, France, Belgium, and others as history unfolded. This rich history has left its mark on the native tongue; the three official languages are Luxembourgish, French, and German.
In today’s Europe, Luxembourg is a hub for the administration of the European Union (EU). It’s the home of the European Court of Auditors; the European Court of Justice; Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities; as well as several other offices governing the EU. As a rule, the EU Parliament meets in Strasbourg, France, headquarters of the Council of Europe, but the Secretariat of the European Parliament is based in Luxembourg.
Life in Luxembourg
Although land locked, Luxembourg is close enough to the sea to boast a mild oceanic climate that includes a rainy season at late summer.
Life in Luxembourg has been described as a model of modern society, thanks to its embrace of cultural diversity and high academic expectations. Immigrants accounted for about 37% of the nation’s population in 2000, with the largest immigrant population coming from Portugal. Large populations from Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy also call Luxembourg home. In 1995 and in 2007, Luxembourg was named the European Capital of Culture, making it the first city to earn that distinction twice.
Luxembourg enjoys a strong economy although the unemployment rate rose to 6.1 percent in 2012, a lingering result of the 2008 global economic crisis. Low inflation rates and great interest in innovative business approaches have helped stabilize the national economy, identified by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the second richest in the world, with a gross domestic product (GDP) at $80,119.
Health insurance, called social insurance in Luxembourg, is required by law for all students over the age of 18. Many foreign students come from countries that enjoy a Social Security agreement with Luxembourg in which Luxembourg honors the terms of coverage in place in the student’s home land. Students from nations not covered under a reciprocal agreement or under a family co-insurance policy must apply for Social Security affiliation; a school certificate and complete passport must accompany the application for coverage. Once the application is processed and accepted, there is no charge for coverage for any student under the age of 30.
A long-stay/resident visa is required of all foreign students wishing to study in Luxembourg. In addition to the standard documentation required of visa approval, the application for student visa must include a copy of admission records from the university.
Study in Luxembourg
Higher Education in Luxembourg
The University of Luxembourg, with three campuses, is the only university in the nation. Before its founding in August 2003, Luxembourgish students traveled abroad to achieve higher education. More than 6,200 students were enrolled for study in the fall of 2012, including students from 100 foreign nations. The university’s 213 lecturers represent 20 nationalities. The highly diversified international culture of the university makes it an ideal location to pursue international studies.
The University of Luxembourg provides an excellent opportunity to immerse oneself in a multilingual environment. Most classes are conducted in two languages, either English and German, French and English, or German and French. Mastery of these languages enhances the international culture of the school while adding depth to the international studies presented here.
As of this writing, the University of Luxembourg offers eleven courses of study at the bachelor’s degree level and 27 master’s degree programs. The university’s emphasis on research enhances the study of these degree courses, which are channeled into five focus areas that are of highest priority during a student’s four-year course of study in Luxembourg:
- Education and Learning in the Context of Multilingualism and Multiculturalism
- European Law and Business Law
- International Finance
- Security, Trust, and Reliability of Information Technologies
- Systems of Biomedicine
To further emphasize international cultural relations, many courses require at least one semester of study abroad. Universities in the Americas, Asia, and across Europe work in collaboration with the University of Luxembourg to provide an outstanding international study experience.
The cost of study for one semester at the University of Luxembourg is 200 Euros, or approximately 260 US dollars, depending on the exchange rate at the time of payment. Enrollment periods are open twice a year, from July to September for enrollment in the university’s winter semester and from January through February for summer semester enrollment. Most courses of study take four years to complete.
Students who wish to start a career in Luxembourg after graduation will find outstanding opportunities in international relations, given the university’s proximity to the seat of government for the European Union. Banking and finance are also important industries in Luxembourg, the second largest investment fund center in the world, following only the United States. In addition to being the Eurozone’s most important center for private banking, it’s also the home of many of Europe’s reinsurance companies.
With full encouragement from the Luxembourg government, high-tech companies find a welcoming environment for innovation and start-ups. Two giants in the industry - Amazon and Skype - have relocated regional headquarters to Luxembourg.
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