As the first semester of college is starting to wrap up, I thought I would explore the world of study abroad for university students who are interested in traveling. Spending a semester (or even a year) in a different country can be a great opportunity to learn while immersed in another culture and is often used as a jumping off point for extended world travel.
Choosing a study abroad program can be an overwhelming decision. There are so many options! Of course, you’ll want to pick a program that fits with your major or areas of interest. It’s also important to ask yourself, “Do I want a program in a major city or something off the beaten path?” Are you selecting a program entirely on your own (and are you comfortable traveling alone), or do you want to travel abroad with friends or other students from your college or university?
If you speak a foreign language, you might want to consider a location that speaks that language. If not, don’t worry. There are a multitude of English-speaking destinations abroad, and in many other countries, you can get by without speaking the language since English is so widely spoken.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular places to study abroad.
Italy is a wonderful location to study abroad, especially if you love food, history, fashion, art, architecture, or religion. It’s not necessary to speak Italian, but if you do, you may get more out of your study abroad experience. Without knowledge of Italian, you may want to choose programs in larger cities like Rome, Venice, and Florence where mostly everyone speaks English.
Because many students in the United States learn Spanish, Spain is a popular choice for study abroad. Barcelona is a perfect for students interested in art and architecture, but all of Spain is rich in culture and history, making it a wonderful study abroad destination. Plus, it is generally more affordable than Italy.
If you’re looking for a study abroad location where English is the official language, England is a very popular destination. London is a wonderful choice for students whose interests lie in business and economics. For students who want to travel beyond just their study abroad country, London is an excellent starting point for traveling to other parts of Europe as well as Asia and Africa. However, some students may find that the culture in England is not different enough from the culture of the United States, and it’s also important to keep in mind that London is a very expensive city.
Art and art history (ok — and wine and food) are an important part of French culture that attract study abroad students. You can still study abroad in a major city like Paris even if you don’t speak French. Paris is also a great place for students with an interest in the hospitality industry or fashion. However, one of the best ways to experience French culture is to leave the big cities and check out smaller towns. Plus, it is very easy to take the train (or fly) to other European cities – London is only 2.5 hours away by train and the prices of European budget airlines are unparalleled with – you can fly around Europe for as little as $10!
Did you study abroad? Have any tips for choosing a study abroad program or destination? I’d love to hear from you!