Top 10 Places to Study Abroad

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The world is a big place, and when you’re trying to choose where to study abroad, the options can be overwhelming.  You have to think about the local language, the climate, the culture, and the types of programs available for international students. Luckily for you, Kelisha Menon, our Study Abroad Expert has put together this list of Top 10 Study Abroad Destinations to help you narrow down your choices!


The UK is an obvious choice for Americans studying abroad – there’s no language barrier, and it’s not too far from home. But with one of the world’s most famous cities, medieval structures and close proximity to other European locales (a weekend in Paris? Yes please!), there’s certainly no compromise on the richness of history and art available. The UK is such a popular destination that many colleges have set up their own satellite university centers in London. The Ithaca College London Center offers great courses that get you out of the classroom and in to the city. You learn in theaters, museums and on trips to places like Stratford-upon-Avon and Edinburgh.


If you’re going to spend a semester abroad, why not do it in a culinary haven? For serious epicureans, Italy is the ideal wine-and-dine destination for the best 4 or 5 months of your college career. Aside from the obvious food pull, Italy boasts some of the world’s most famous art history, and the country is small enough that it’s easy to see all of the great cities from Rome to Milan and beyond. For a step off the beaten path, CIEE offers a Language and Culture Program in Ferrara, a small city where you are unlikely to encounter tourists or other study abroad students.


Every city in Spain has a wildly different personality, so choose your program wisely! Madrid and Barcelona are popular both for tourists and students looking for a bustling city and colorful nightlife, while the smaller city of Granada exhibits Moroccan influence, lower cost of living and free tapas at almost every bar. CEA offers Granada Programs focusing on both the Spanish and Arabic cultures, acknowledging the heavy influence both have on the city.


The city of lights, the language of romance, and chocolate croissants for breakfast – which part of that isn’t appealing? Most abroad programs in France are centered in Paris, and with all its museums and shopping districts (both fancy and local), there is definitely more than enough to explore. The city’s efficient public transportation system also makes it easy to take day-trips out to places like the Palace of Versailles, which is both educational and breathtakingly beautiful. And while many Parisians speak English, it would be a boon to learn some commonly used phrases. Tufts in Paris offers homestays with French families for their students, often the best way to quickly learn a language and get a feel for what living in the country is really like.


For students who don’t want the traditional Euro-trip abroad experience, China’s vital role in the international sphere is attracting more students than ever. While many are attracted to the international business hubs of Shanghai and Hong Kong, programs concerning conservation and development abound as well. Northwestern University’s Environment, Health and Development program travels to Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai while tackling the issues of a growing economy and environmental impacts. Because China is so large, traveling to any other region of the country will inevitably immerse you in a different culture with new foods and varied dialects, so take advantage of visiting places you might not otherwise get to see.


Why, yes, studying abroad in a realm of eternal summer does sound fun! Okay, so maybe every day won’t be spent on the beach, but if you choose to study abroad in Australia, you can be sure that the sunshine and warm water waves will be calling your name. Known for its friendly and laid-back population, Australia is a popular choice among students who don’t want a language barrier but want to travel farther than the Atlantic – and because of its proximity to southeast Asia, major cities like Melbourne and Sydney have a significant Asian influence, especially in the way of cuisine. While the majority of Australia’s continent is desert, students interested in the unique ecology of this island nation can also visit the lush rainforest environment in Cairns. The aptly named University of the Sunshine Coast on the idyllic Gold Coast offers programs and courses geared towards providing academic credit for American universities.


Rich in historical significance, Germany offers much in the way of out-of-classroom educational experiences. Major cities such as Berlin and Munich are popular destinations, but choosing to study in locales that were formerly part of East Germany would provide a unique perspective on Deutschland. Boston University’s Dresden program offers specific curriculums in engineering or science, an opportunity to gain an internship abroad, and liberal arts coursework at the local university.


Because of its proximity to the United States, Mexico is a popular study abroad choice among American students who want to practice their Spanish and immerse themselves in a different climate and culture. The University of California’s Education Abroad Program in Mexico emphasizes getting out of the classroom and developing a field research program in any area of study.


Ireland’s bucolic countryside and Dublin’s city charm offer picturesque scenery intertwined with interesting environmental phenomena and significant historical structures. And another plus – English is the only language you need to know — though you’ll probably pick up a few Irish Gaelic words along the way! The University of Limerick hosts a growing community of international students, and also encourages students to volunteer abroad and get involved with the local community.

Costa Rica

For students interested in conservation or ecology, Costa Rica is a prime study abroad location. You have a chance to experience rain forests, unique species, sports, delicious food, and the Pura Vida lifestyle. This beautiful Latin American country offers a lot of experiences to study abroad students, especially for those with science or environmental studies majors. Global-Local Challenges to Sustainability, a joint program between Mount Holyoke and Goucher Colleges focuses on studying sustainability efforts, including excursions to San Jose and Nicaragua.

These are just 10 of the most popular Study Abroad Destinations, but we know there are lots of other places in the world with great opportunities for international students. Think we missed one that should be on the list?  let us know in the comments below, or write us and let us know about of your favorite study abroad program and we’ll publish it here on World Travel Buzz!

Kelisha Menon

About Kelisha Menon

Kelisha is our Study Abroad Expert, and currently a senior at Boston University. She's a geography nerd with an insatiable curiosity for anything related to travel, food and sustainability. She was born in Malaysia, raised in New York City, and studied abroad in New Zealand. A true International citizen!