Getting out of your comfort zone and traveling to another country can be a life-changing experience when you’re young, if you know the best places to study abroad. Choosing where you want to go can be dependent on several factors such as transferring school credits, cost of living, culture, safety, and of course relevance to your interests. While there are often a few hoops to jump through and decisions to make, you will likely never get another opportunity to travel to an exotic location under the guise of becoming more "worldly." Regardless of what you are studying, I’ve rounded up the best places to study abroad.
Its breathtaking beaches and aquatic life are enough to make Australia one of the best places to study abroad, but this tropical paradise has more to offer than just sea turtles. While Melbourne boasts a creative energy with an excellent local art scene in the center of all the action, Sydney is perhaps the strongest in its business opportunities and cultural celebrations such as Chinese New Year. Another great option, for those who are looking for a more relaxed lifestyle, Perth is known as the "education city" amongst locals who prefer its proximity to the top wineries over the more metropolitan cities.
Italians have mastered the art of enjoying life. From their unique festivals like Ferragosto celebrated throughout the country with music, parades and fireworks, to the breathtaking art, world class food and historic architecture, this country is rich in tradition and there’s nothing quite like having the opportunity to experience it in person. Whether you’re getting fully immersed in the native tongue with Siena’s Italian Study program, or honing your culinary skills at the Apicius in Florence, Italy has so much to offer those seeking la dolce vita.
Anywhere that makes napping in the middle of the day a national pastime is okay in my book. More than any other country in Europe, the Spanish culture encourages living for the day. From the street performers on Las Ramblas in Barcelona to the quaint corners of Seville, Spain’s diverse cities are jam packed with cultural treasures that will ignite your creative side.
So the closest you’ve come to learning Spanish is ordering at Taco Bell, huh? Well, the best part about studying abroad in the UK is that you already speak the language! Though London might be the obvious choice to study in the UK, students may feel that Manchester’s atmosphere is more conducive to living on a beer budget. It’s less expensive, has the largest student population of any other European city, and is home to one of the greatest soccer teams (Manchester United).
Parlez-vous francais? Learning French can prove to be a valuable skill as it’s a widely used language in the work force and studying the language is so much more effective when you’re doing it along the Champs-Élysées. While Paris is one of the most progressive and prosperous cities in the world, France has incredible small towns and villages rich in their own right. Experience the culture that gave us an array of wonders: the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, French fries.
Prague is having a moment in the travel scene. It’s lively bars, beer gardens, and an entire district of castles are no doubt alluring to young travelers, however we also owe much of our scientific insight to Czech scientists, making it a popular destination for students. It is also the center of Europe, ideal for planning trips to other countries on your weekends and holidays while at school.
Even if your Irish jig is a little rusty, Ireland has a world of tradition and culture to offer. Walk the streets of Dublin amongst live music performers and stop into one of the local bars, you’ll never look at beer the same way again. From the National University of Ireland in Galway to Trinity College, Ireland’s universities offer friendly atmospheres and student organizations that will fully immerse you into the Irish culture.
Imagine New York City with a little bit of Vegas mixed in and you’ll begin to understand the livelihood that Montreal offers. A true party city in every sense of the word, the city has internationally recognized festivals like the Montreal Jazz Festival and Just For Laughs (the world’s largest comedy festival) that will blow your mind. Not to mention the fact that Canadians are the friendliest people on the planet.
Let’s face it, the exchange rate of the Euro can be brutal when you’re already a starving college student. Budapest has extremely affordable room and board and offers a unique experience to its Eastern European counterparts. This is a great option for Poli Sci students who are interested in international affairs as the country is still adjusting to new alliances with NATO and the European Union and an internship with a government ministry could prove not only interesting but educational as well.
One word alone should get you excited about studying in Germany… Oktoberfest. That’s right, Germany is the birthplace of the world-renowned festival and Munich offers one of the best club scenes in Europe, with weekend parties lasting into the wee hours of the morning. Aside from the pub crawls, Germany also boasts some of the best engineering programs, not to mention large corporations (Volkwagen, Siemens, and Allianz among them) with opportunities for internships.
Whether you’re looking to be inspired by other cultures and ways of living, or just need to get out of a monotonous routine, studying abroad is one of the most life-changing experiences for students. The time to go is now, because it only gets harder to travel the older you get and more established you are in a career. Apart from the incredibly fun party scenes that many of these major cities have to offer, studying abroad can be the best way to meet people and learn how the other half of the world lives. Have a life-changing story from a studying abroad you’d like to share? Leave a comment!
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