In “The Innocents Abroad,” Mark Twain wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.”
The benefits of studying abroad can’t be understated.
Yes, studying in another country will broaden your perspective of the world and teach you about people and cultures. But the list of pros doesn’t end there. This is possibly the only time in your life when you’ll have both plenty of free time and a solid reason to live in another country.
And because the world is so big, there are numerous places to go!
Learning the Language for an Immersive Study Abroad Trip
While most of your classes will be taught in English, when traveling abroad, people who can speak the local language fare a lot better than those who don’t.
Take the help of a language learning app like FluentU, which teaches you language through videos taken directly from your target country.
FluentU takes a huge collection of language video clips from real-world sources—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and uses it to generate personalized lessons for each learner.
The interactive subtitles, vocabulary lists and tailor-made flashcard decks will help you learn actively while watching your favorite videos, giving you an extra boost in language reading and listening practice.
This not only helps you fast-track your way to conversational fluency, it also gives you a lot of cultural insight about the place you’re visiting.
And with FluentU, one account gives you access to all nine of its languages! So if you’re studying in Italy this semester and interning in China next semester, FluentU still has you covered!
Study in Style: The 15 Best Places to Study Abroad Around the World
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Best Places to Study Abroad in the Americas
For people who want to study: Arts, music, social justice, development, public health, politics.
Chile is a unique country located along the western edge of South America. It has a wide array of beautiful and diverse terrain, from the dramatic peaks of the Andes Mountains to black sand shores of Llanquihue Lake.
Compared to some other South American countries, Chile is relatively stable politically and economically, and the Chilean people are notable for being warm and welcoming to foreigners.
Chile is well-known in Latin America for its vibrant arts and culture scene. If you’re a student on a semester abroad, there should be no problem finding entertainment anywhere along this coastal country.
But make sure you brush up on your Spanish, as English isn’t commonly spoken around Chil
Check out IES Abroad Chile and CIEE Chile to study abroad in Chile.
For people who want to study: Pluralism, ancient civilizations, archaeology, human rights, public health, development.
This small Central American country is famous for its big volcanoes and deep rainforest jungles. It’s also known for being a major lineage holder of the Mayan civilization with ancient Mayan ruins littering the countryside.
Having maintained much of their indigenous heritage during Spanish rule, Guatemalans also holds many interesting colonial-era cultural artifacts like the UNESCO-protected city of Antigua.
One of Guatemala’s most prominent exports is its world-famous coffee, and the quaint coffee farming villages offer visitors insight into Latin American farming life.
While there are 21 Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala, Spanish is the official language. It’ll be hard to find English speakers outside of the tourist hot spots, so make sure you study at least one of the local languages!
Check out University of Arizona–IDEAS Guatemala to study abroad in Guatemala.
For people who want to study: Ancient civilizations, anthropology, historic preservation, ecology.
Notable for its beautiful countryside and sweeping mountain views, Peru’s geographic diversity is second to none.
It’s also famous for its cultural history largely due to its association with the Incan civilization.
You can take a hike up to the UNESCO Heritage Site of Machu Picchu to see the mountaintop Incan city and then check out the UNESCO Heritage Site of Chan Chan to see the 15th century kingdom that fell to the Incas.
The modern culture is also unique because it contains a lot of ethnic diversity. Peruvian culture is very different than other Latin American countries as it draws much inspiration from its shamanic ancestry.
The spoken language of Peru is Spanish, so make sure you can speak with some degree of confidence to help you get the most out of the experience.
Check out ISA Peru, CIEE Peru and Ed Odyssey Peru to study abroad in Peru.
Best Places to Study Abroad in Europe
For people who want to study: Business, urban planning, technology, arts, humanities.
Germany is filled with hip, modern cities, as well as lots of laid-back countryside towns. It’s a place that mixes medieval history and contemporary culture with grace.
From the trendy hot spots of Berlin and Munich to the understated allure of places like Nuremberg and Leipzig, Germany has a lot of interesting places to see. The food, history and culture of Germany are unique and wholly fascinating
Germany is a major world player in business, technology and innovation. Its universities are also some of the best in the world, and all public universities in Germany are tuition-free.
Couple its high-quality, affordable schools with German towns’ vibrant nightlife scenes, and this modern European country becomes an ideal place to spend a semester or two.
But to get the most out of the experience, knowing how to speak some German will definitely help.
Check out CIEE Germany, IES Abroad Germany and CISabroad Germany to study abroad in Germany.
For people who want to study: Diplomacy, conflict resolution, international relations, world history, cultural development.
This tiny country sitting on the Adriatic Sea is largely forgotten by tourists making the rounds across Europe. But with no shortage of amazing sights, tourism has started to pick up in recent years.
Having been part of the both the Greek and Roman empires, Croatian history is rich and varied. You can find many historical and cultural Croatian artifacts stemming back from the early Middle Ages.
But apart from the cultural relevance, Croatia is also known for its geographic diversity.
Popular for its karst mountains accounting for half of the country’s landscape, Croatia also has dense forests, over 1200 islands with beautiful beaches and UNESCO-protected lakeside national parks.
Check out API Croatia to study abroad in Croatia.
For people who want to study: Art, music, politics, religious studies, fashion design, anthropology.
Italy is a modern and progressive country, not to mention an important member state of the European Union.
It has a warm and vibrant society notable for its world-famous cuisine. But apart from the amazing food culture, Italy boasts some of the world’s most stunning geographical highlights.
From the Mediterranean beaches to the rolling hills deep in the countryside, Italy is a beautiful country. With highly distinctive cities like Rome, Venice, Florence and Palermo, Italian culture is nothing short of brazenly diverse.
When not deciding between eating gelato or eating hand-made pasta, students can enjoy the vibrant nightlife that highlights the young Italian crowd.
But in order to get the most out of your time there, be sure to brush up on your Italian.
Check out SAI Italy and CSA Italy to study abroad in Italy.
Best Places to Study Abroad in Asia
For people who want to study: Digital innovation, modern development, urban planning, technology, business.
One of the Four Asian Tigers, South Korea is notable for being a worldwide technology and business hub. It’s a place that defines innovation and pushes the envelope of what it means to be “modern.”
But the country isn’t just one big internet hot spot. It also has lots of natural scenery, from jagged mountain peaks in the countryside to coastal beaches lining UNESCO-protected volcanic islands.
South Korea also has a rich cultural heritage. Once part of the Chinese kingdom, Korean society is notably distinct from its Asian neighbor but still retains some Chinese traditions and artifacts, such as the Imperial Palace in the center of its capital city, Seoul.
But while it’s a business hub with great technological advancements, English levels are typically very low, especially outside of the main cities. Be sure to study some Korean to get the most out of the experience.
Check out ISA South Korea and TEAN South Korea to study abroad in South Korea.
For people who want to study: Development, tourism, religious studies, wildlife conservation.
Indonesia is a large country made up of thousands of islands with an unlimited number of tropical beaches, volcanic mountains, jungle waterfalls and everything in between.
Each island contains a culture unique in customs, religion, food and language, but they all share a distinctly Indonesian way of life.
Indonesia’s population is extremely friendly and loves interacting with foreigners.
But apart from the people, the animals help further Indonesia’s culture. Considering the countless marine life swimming in the crystal clear waters, Indonesia is one of the world’s most biodiverse places in the world, from orangutans on Sumatra and Borneo to Komodo Dragons on Flores.
Students who come here to study abroad love the delicious food, tropical beaches, biodiversity and friendly people.
Check out ISEP Indonesia to study abroad in Indonesia.
For people who want to study: Business, technology, development, urban planning, Chinese language.
China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. As such, it has numerous awe-inspiring historical artifacts.
Combine its famous historic sites like the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors with its diverse natural wonders, and China has no shortage of beautiful places to explore.
Apart from its scenery, China is famous for its megacities like Shanghai and Beijing, boasting more major world cities than any other country.
Chinese culture is notable for its different food styles and its distinctly challenging local languages. While it’s easy to eat the food, it’s not as easy to speak the language.
But it is important to speak some Mandarin when studying abroad in China. Not many people there speak English, so knowing how to interact with the culture in some form will help you get a lot more out of the experience.
Check out USAC China, CIEE China and CET China to study abroad in China.
Best Places to Study Abroad in Africa
For people who want to study: Eco-conservation, tourism, development, humanities.
Namibia is a beautiful African country with diverse wildlife. While famous for being home to more cheetahs than anywhere else, plenty of zebras, lions, elephants and antelopes also roam Namibia’s plains and deserts.
Even though it’s one of the least densely populated countries in the world, this nation showcases a diverse African culture. The population of Namibia is represented by at least 11 different ethnic groups, all of which have their own unique cultures and traditions.
And many of the cities retain artifacts from German colonialism with German-style architecture and city planning still in place.
While Namibia sits right off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, it’s still the driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa. This gave it the opportunity to become the first country in the world to incorporate environmental protection into its nation’s constitution.
And because the official language of the country is English, getting around should be no problem.
Check out Grand Valley State University–Namibia and CCIS–Namibia University of Science and Technology to study abroad in Namibia.
For people who want to study: Farming, conservation, African business development, politics, diplomacy.
South Africa is a beautiful country with rugged mountain coastlines and interior desert plains. The scenery of South Africa is as dramatic and diverse as its population.
South Africa is famous for being one of the last major strongholds to end institutionalized segregation. But since then, this African nation has tried to move forward as a beacon of plurality and inclusiveness.
Many different ethnic groups are found in South Africa’s rich cultural tapestry, and they all come together to maintain their diverse cultural heritages.
Students find the big and modern South African cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town to be comfortable with western amenities, quality infrastructure and western-style entertainment and nightlife. This makes South Africa a very agreeable place to study abroad.
Of the 11 official languages in South Africa, English is one of the more commonly spoken ones, so getting around the country is relatively easy.
Check out CIEE South Africa, IES Abroad South Africa and AIFS South Africa to study abroad in South Africa.
For people who want to study: Human rights, development, wildlife, sustainable tourism, public policy, diplomacy.
From the world-famous Mount Kilimanjaro to the Ngorongoro Crater to the breathtaking beaches on the Zanzibar coastline, Tanzania is notable for its large wilderness and stunning scenery. It’s also famous for the hippos, lions, elephants, zebras and other wildlife that call this country home.
The Tanzanian culture is as rich and varied as the landscape. Many marketplaces line the local villages where people can be seen selling hand-crafted wood carvings and local food delicacies.
The people of Tanzania will always smile and wave as you pass by, even if they can’t speak English and you can’t speak Swahili. Though, if you’re going to be spending months in Tanzania, you should try to learn some Swahili.
Tanzania boasts a thriving, bustling and irresistibly interesting African culture, so speaking at least some of the local language will do wonders for your cultural immersion.
Check out CIEE Tanzania and IPSL Tanzania to study abroad in Tanzania.
Best Places to Study Abroad in Oceania and Antarctica
For people who want to study: Exploration, earth science, marine biology, adventure tourism.
There’s definitely no place like Antarctica elsewhere on Earth. For starters, there are no permanent residents living on this southernmost continent, except for penguins.
And there are lots of penguins! And a few seals. And some fish. And lots of ice. And that’s about it.
Numerous countries convene on one of the many study bases in Antarctica to conduct scientific research. There are plenty of interesting things to study here because the atmosphere, landscape and climate are so unique.
It was the research performed in this remote region that highlighted the impacts of global climate change.
For adventurous students, spending some time in Antarctica will definitely be a worthwhile experience.
Check out AUIP Antarctica to study abroad in Antarctica.
For people who want to study: Marine biology, ecology, conservation, business, public policy, city planning.
Australia is the only country that is also a continent!
Just off the coast is the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the world. This coral reef is extremely important to marine and coastal life as it hosts more than 1,500 species of fish, over 200 species of birds and hundreds of other wildlife that rely on the coral reef ecosystem for survival.
The interior of the country is home to the remote, arid deserts of the Australian Outback, filled with interesting wildlife like dingoes and kangaroos.
Apart from the animals, Australia’s big and bustling main cities like Sydney and Melbourne are shining examples of business, technology and modernity. And with the majority of the population living in one of these coastal cities, finding a pretty seaside view is never very hard to do.
The official language of the country is English, so getting around is no problem.
Check out IES Abroad Australia, Pacific Discovery and AIFS Study Abroad–Tropical Marine Biology to study abroad in Australia.
For people who want to study: Marine biology, tourism, development, ecology, South Pacific culture.
Fiji is a beautiful Melanesian island in the South Pacific.
Famous for its epic tropical beaches, great weather and idyllic scenery, the tourism industry is the primary source of revenue for this tiny archipelago nation.
Fiji’s scenery is some of the best in the world. While notable for the beaches, there are also plenty of inland jungles and nature parks to explore, complete with rivers, lakes and waterfalls.
But the scenery is only one cool aspect of the country. The local Fijian culture is also noteworthy. Fiji is a very multi-cultural country, with different religions, languages and customs.
Check out the local markets of Nadi to find hand-painted saris and hard-carved wooden bowls for drinking kava, the national drink of Fiji.
Being a tourist hot spot, English is spoken widely in the country.
Check out CCIS Study Abroad Fiji to study abroad in Fiji.
With so many great places to study abroad, it can be hard to narrow down your options to find the country and program that best suits your needs.
From hidden Incan villages to giant blocks of land ice, there’s a big world out there that awaits your exploration.
So find yourself the best place to study, thoroughly prepare for your adventure and go learn about the world!
Eric Michelson is a nomadic, philosophizing, peace-minded pluralist. He hopes to help bridge the divide between the diverse factions of the world by exploring various perspectives brought on by personal experience. You can follow Perspective Earth to learn more about him and his work.
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