Studying abroad is the ultimate opportunity to widen your horizons and future career possibilities. International experience is a true asset in life. You’ll have the chance not only to travel but also to experience a new culture from the perspective of a local. In doing so, you’ll gain a new perspective on your home country and, depending where you go, have a chance to learn a new language. It can even open the door to permanently resettling in your host country, or inspire you to pursue further international opportunities. Whether you go for a semester, a summer program, a year or more, here are ten of the most popular study abroad destinations to consider.
Few European capitals are as unique as the German capital of Berlin, a place characterized by a combination of its divisive history and modern, diverse openness. Home to some of the world’s most famous landmarks, including the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate, culture-rich Berlin is also among the most sought-after destinations for foreign students. One of the most popular places to study there is the internationally acclaimed Humboldt University, which has enrolled 29 Nobel Prize winners. Freie University also has a European Studies Program (FU-BEST) for international students that is offered in English.
The stunning Czech capital is an outstanding choice for study-abroad students thanks to its world-renowned Charles University. Its low tuition fees and cost of living factors in, but the cultural abundance is its main appeal. In fact, many foreign students fall in love with the place on a first glance to such an extent that they end up settling there. The entire city is a living museum, making it a perfect destination for those wishing to study history or literature or excel in the arts.
Ireland’s lively capital combines a modern charm with millennia of history. Its high-tech education facilities make it a perfect destination for those seeking to study the sciences, engineering, the arts and social sciences. The most noteworthy educational institution is the University of Dublin and its Trinity College, founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592. For a more modern campus experience, look to Dublin City University. Dublin is an easily manageable city, thanks to its small size and compact historic center, with a wealth of nearby excursions to explore. There are plenty of undergraduate and graduate study abroad programs in Dublin to choose from, offering credits that are transferable to your home institution.
Home to one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Cambridge is the ultimate dream for many study abroad students. Its King’s College, Queen’s College and 27 other educational facilities are renowned for their intellectual, artistic and social excellence. Sporting some 800 years of academic tradition, this crown jewel of academia is only for the most successful and ambitious of students, but if you have what it takes, it presents one of the very best places in the world to get an outstanding education, even if only for a semester.
The cultural and historic center of Spain’s Catalonia region, Barcelona is also one of the country’s most popular study abroad destinations. This eccentric and beautiful city is home to a fascinating mix of cultural sites, from Gothic castles to the whimsical buildings of Antonio Gaudi. The University of Barcelona was founded more than 650 years ago and has over 90,000 students. Popular courses, instructed in both English and Spanish, include legal studies, liberal arts and international studies. There are plenty of Spanish language courses offered throughout the city if that’s your goal.
The City of Lights is home to some the world’s most famous cultural attractions and landmarks, but it also has plenty of high-end educational institutions. Ranked one of the top 50 universities in the world, Ecole Normale Supérieure is the most popular for foreign students, although the Pantheon-Sorbonne University and the Conseratoire de Paris are also highly recommended. Courses are available in English, but you’ll definitely want to use the opportunity to learn some French.
Those seeking plenty of sun, sea and sand during their study abroad program may want to head straight to the Australian city of Melbourne. Constantly ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world, Melbourne is also Australia’s capital of sports and culture. The University of Melbourne, established in 1853, is ranked as the top post-secondary institution in Australia and has a great world-wide reputation. It looks like something straight out of the Old World, yet it’s set in the midst of a delightful subtropical climate and is a vibrant, cosmopolitan, modern city.
The mega-city of Shanghai, with its population of 23 million, is a bustling metropolis is ideal for those seeking a true challenge with a dose of culture shock. Established in 1951, the East China Normal University is the most popular facility for foreign students, which specializes in humanities, social sciences and technology. It is also closely associated with the Parisian university, Ecole Normale Supérieure. With China’s prominence in the global economy, it may be a strategic move to study abroad here.
9. Buenos Aires
Known internationally for its cultural diversity and epic nightlife, the Argentinian capital is one of the most popular study abroad destinations in South America. Boasting world-class cultural and sporting attractions, Buenos Aires is also a great place to learn Spanish. The most popular universities are the University of Argentina de la Empresa (UADE) and the University of Belgrano. Most courses are instructed entirely in Spanish, although the UADE offers some courses in English, French and Portuguese. You’ll get a solid education, and some tango skills to boot.
One of Spain’s most architecturally splendid cities, the ancient city of Granada sports a vibrant atmosphere and a wealth of cultural and historic attractions. Most famously, the city was the last Muslim stronghold in Spain until it was recaptured during the Crusades in 1492. Founded in 1531, the University of Granada enrolls around 80,000 students (about a third of the entire population). Granada is an ideal study abroad choice for those seeking to learn Spanish. There are plenty of language schools here for short and long term studies in an inspiring setting.