Of all the opportunities presented as part of the college experience, the ability to study abroad may be among the most transformative. These programs give you the opportunity to spend an entire semester—sometimes longer—living in a foreign country while you take classes at a local college or university. It’s an experience many consider to be life-changing, opening you up to new experiences and cultures in an environment completely different from the norm.
While there are endless opportunities through international travel, study abroad programs shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Consider arrangements to cover living costs, program fees and gather together plenty of documentation and other paperwork, including visas, itineraries and a study abroad health insurance policy, since most domestically issued policies don’t cover international travel.
Assuming those details are in order, you have nothing to worry about but looking forward to your adventures abroad. Here are some of the best destinations to consider for your studies.
Spanish is a popular foreign language class taken in college, and that leads many students to pursue studies in a Spanish-speaking country. And Madrid is no slouch city. It’s the capital of Spain and one of the largest cities in Europe, serving as a great place to explore the cuisines, cultures and unique sights of the area—particularly the medieval castles dotting the country.
Like Madrid, Paris is a great destination for language enthusiasts. There’s a deep history in Paris and a vibrant arts scene that attracts people from all around to one of the most impressive cities in the world. Visual arts, manicured gardens, centuries-old churches and some of the world’s finest dining—not to mention world-famous sites like The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower—await visiting students.
For those who aren’t fluent in another language, London is an ideal place to study abroad. It’s a massive, diverse city where students can sample a little bit of everything. Theater students might be particularly interested in visiting the city that was home to Shakespeare and maintains a strong tradition in the performing arts.
Rome is as historic as cities get, but its traffic and masses of people can be overwhelming. Florence is a more sedate way to experience Italian life, including the local zeal for fresh food and fine wine. Florence is also a great location to live when making smaller trips to other parts of Italy.
Berlin has a strong reputation as being a hub for international business, and it has developed strong educational programs as a result. Berlin is unique in that its tumultuous history is still very palpable in the city, from the Berlin Wall to some of the destruction levied on the city during World War II. Even so, it has a vibrant arts community and is a great place to live when you want to grab a stein of beer after classes.
There’s no perfect study abroad program that suits everyone’s interests. The beauty of having options is that you can decide what matters most to you and choose your own adventure. No matter where you end up, you’ll take away tremendous experiences that carry on with you for the rest of your life.
Holly is an Indianapolis native who loves traveling. She’s been all over the world and loves planning trips almost as much as taking them. In her spare time, she enjoys blogging on behalf of Sears and other great brands she uses.