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Best Places to Study Abroad in 2024

College
by Annika World
December 27, 2023
9 min read
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Studying abroad enriches your time in college through a litany of new academic and professional opportunities as well as unique cultural and social experiences. The best places to study abroad depend upon your goals and interests.

In this article, I explore the advantages of studying abroad and some of the best study abroad destinations for 2023. Learn about cultural highlights and considerations, ease of travel, and cost of living to help you decide on the best fit for your study abroad experience.

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Advantages of Studying Abroad

Studying abroad enables you to form relationships with professors and students at new institutions. By studying abroad at prestigious universities, you can connect with faculty at the top of their field, so you may seek to affiliate with a specific institution abroad due to its reputation in your area of study.

Another consideration to keep in mind is how the dominant industries in a city, region, or country align with your professional goals. Spending time in a new city while in school will help you understand whether you would want to live and work there in the future. Even if you are not considering working abroad, international professional opportunities such as internships can strengthen your resume and candidacy for employment back home after graduation. This is a great option for international students as well.

Studying abroad can be a lot of fun! If you have already taken numerous semesters of intensive coursework at your home campus, you may be looking for a change of scenery or a new social environment to explore. Study abroad programs are usually more tight-knit than home campuses due to their smaller class sizes, giving you the opportunity to make new close friends. Plus, you can meet diverse groups of people while exploring new cities.

Ahead the top 10 best places to study abroad for college students.

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Best for Foodies: Italy

Italy is an amazing place for study abroad students who love food. This country is such a popular study abroad destination among foodies due to its rich agricultural history and numerous regional cuisines to explore.

Diverse cities throughout the beautiful country, like Florence, Milan, and Rome, offer a litany of unique historical cuisines and sites. For students who want to explore Italy beyond just the stereotypical stuff, the Italian countryside offers a break from the bustle of its cities. Italy's central location within Europe enables easy travel to other major cities and countries.

Sapienza University of Rome is one of the oldest and largest public universities in Europe. Its range of study abroad programs attracts thousands of international students each year. Its large size, litany of programs, and reputation as one of the best universities in Italy make it a terrific choice to study abroad.

Best for First-Time Travelers: England

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England is one of the best places to study abroad as a first-time traveler. London is one of the best cities to study abroad as a first-time traveler due to its connectedness to the rest of Europe and the ease of navigation for English speakers. English universities are also known as centers of academic excellence, offering world-class education in various subjects.

London has an international reputation as a center for creative fields like fashion, performing arts, and film and television. As an international student, you can pursue internships in these fields to diversify your work experience while determining whether you would want to live or work there in the future. London is also a melting pot of diverse cultures, attracting international students from around the globe.

University College London and Imperial College London are some of the best universities to study abroad in England. The range of programs at these higher education institutions offers something for everyone while exploring the big city.

Best for Language Learners: Spain

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For Spanish-speaking students, Spain is one of the best countries to study abroad. This country's rich history, cuisines, art, architecture, and culture offer a lot to explore for American students or international students from around the globe. Spain's coastal sun and clear weather are a big attraction to international students, especially in the winter months.

Top universities in cities like Madrid and Barcelona enable students to immerse themselves in the Spanish language and culture. For students looking to perfect their Spanish skills while easily traveling between other European countries, these are some of the best cities to study in.

Best for Art Lovers: France

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France is one of the most sought-after destinations for its art scene, offering world-class museums, a rich history of cinematic arts, and its own popular music scene. Students interested in pursuing artistic disciplines will find a study abroad experience in France particularly enticing.

France's proximity to other European countries gives you the flexibility to explore further. During a study abroad in France, spending weekends traveling to other countries and cities is possible thanks to the efficient railways and transportation systems linking these central European countries.

Best for Work Experience: Germany

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Top companies from around the globe maintain headquarters in Germany, so it is a great destination for gaining work experience across industries while studying abroad. Top public research universities in Germany are at the forefront of technological innovations and advancements in medicine, attracting students from around the globe who are interested in STEM.

Cities like Berlin attract high numbers of international students and expats due to work opportunities and its rich arts, music, and cultural scene. Many universities and institutions of higher education teach programs in English, and the contemporary German workforce is full of English speakers. The high prevalence of English speakers in major German cities makes them attractive destinations for students with limited foreign language experience or students wishing to expand their professional experience abroad.

Germany's proximity to other European countries makes it easy to travel throughout the continent during your semester abroad and beyond.

Best for Language Immersion: Japan

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Japan is one of the best places to study abroad for language immersion. Japan is known for its academic and professional rigor, so spending time studying in Japan at a renowned school like Kyoto University or Tokyo Institute is sure to deliver a high-quality education. Studying in Japan enables you to practice your Japanese amongst native speakers to truly immerse yourself in the language.

Each island along the archipelago offers its own unique cultural experience, from the dazzling city lights of major hubs like Tokyo to the rural mountains and fishing villages. It is also a great destination for foodies, with a range of regional cuisines that offer something for everyone, whether you are interested in fancy foods or trying out new street foods.

Japan's proximity to South Korea and other Asian countries also enables further travel and exploration opportunities. It is a popular destination for students who wish to travel both throughout and after their semester abroad.

Best for Wildlife Lovers: Australia

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Australia offers some of the most incredible wildlife on the globe. From the Great Barrier Reef to its unique desert ecosystems along the west coast, Australia is among the best countries for students passionate about exploring the outdoors. Australia is home to a number of massive national parks that attract nature lovers from around the globe.

Institutions like the Australian National University welcome international students studying in various fields. The nation's rich history of indigenous cultures, melting pot of diversity in urban centers, and an array of natural wonders from coast to coast offer much to explore for international students.

Best for Outdoorsy Students: Argentina

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If one of your academic goals is to learn Spanish, Argentina is a terrific destination to study abroad. Captivating surroundings like the Patagonia mountain region and Las Pampas plains make this another top destination for outdoorsy students and wildlife lovers.

For students interested in exploring South America, studying abroad in Argentina is a great choice. Buenos Aires is home to top institutions of higher education, attracting university students from around the world. This city is also a very LGBTQ+ friendly destination for study abroad students of a broad spectrum of identities.

Best for a Unique Experience: China

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The next destination for a unique cultural experience is China, which is home to a wide range of regional cultures and cuisines, as well as a varied landscape of natural wonders and bustling cities. Study abroad participants can enjoy historic festivals like the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and iconic historical sites like the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City.

Though the national language is Mandarin, many other dialects are spoken on regional levels, reflecting the breadth of unique cultures and histories within China. Depending on where you travel within the country, native familiarity with English can be limited, so studying abroad in China is best suited for those already proficient in Mandarin.

Best for Cultural Immersion: Ghana

Located along the west coast of the continent of Africa, Ghana offers incredible cultural activities like rich landscapes of music, dance, and performing arts, in addition to renowned fine arts and textile scenes. Ghana is a beacon of scholarship for students interested in the visual or dramatic arts, fashion, gender equality, global public health, education, and business.

As a center of culture and commerce and the capital of Ghana, Accra is a rapidly developing city offering various professional and internship opportunities in the public, private, or nongovernmental sectors. Ghana is also a popular study abroad destination for students pursuing international studies or for those interested in exploring more countries within the African continent due to its central location.

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Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Places to Study Abroad

How should I prepare to study abroad?

Preparations to study abroad vary according to your destination, country of citizenship, and your study abroad goals. If you plan to intern in your destination country, then it is helpful to start looking for internships and professional connections in advance of your trip abroad. Essential financial preparations include applying for scholarships to reduce the cost of your study away experience and budgeting for your time abroad and any related travel in advance of your trip.

Usually, your home university will assist with your visa application process, typically through a specialized office that supports students through this process. It is essential to meet all deadlines with ample time to spare when applying for a study abroad visa because it can be a long and complex process. In order to avoid legal complications down the line, it is paramount to secure proper permissions and legal documents from the country where you plan to study well in advance of your trip.

What important factors should I look for when choosing a country?

Some factors that may influence your decision are the existing relationships between your university and other top universities abroad, your academic and professional goals, your financial situation, and your cultural and social interests beyond school.

Your university likely already has programs in place to study abroad at top universities, either during the regular academic year or during winter or summer breaks. Researching what study abroad programs are readily available to you through your home school can help you narrow down your list of potential countries and cities.

Of course, the finances of studying abroad are an important consideration, especially if you do not have a visa to work while abroad. Picking a country or city with an affordable cost of living can ease the financial burden of studying away, and scholarships for studying away can further reduce the cost.

How can I finance my study abroad experience?

There are a number of scholarships available specifically for students seeking to study abroad. Applying to these scholarships can help reduce the cost of attendance at a study abroad program. You can also search for scholarships by major and easily apply to those matching your academic and professional goals. 

Ready to turn your study abroad dreams into reality? Explore our Scholarship Blog for all the inside scoop on studying abroad! From useful tips to inspiring stories, it's your go-to resource for making your academic adventure unforgettable.

Annika World

About Annika

Annika is a talented and versatile writer and researcher. She has extensive expertise in researching and applying for scholarships and grants, as well as the process of navigating financial aid. 

As a senior at NYU, Annika is pursuing an interdisciplinary degree at the intersection of film, psychology, philosophy, writing, and visual arts, with a minor in film production. During her time at NYU, she completed a number of interdisciplinary research projects and is currently working on her thesis film.

Experience

Through Annika’s coursework, she has engaged in a number of writing workshops and intensive seminars, honing her writing craft under the guidance of acclaimed authors and poets. Within the entertainment industry, she has fulfilled a range of diverse roles, working in film and TV development, production and distribution, sustainability consulting, and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. She also has experience working in educational services, tutoring, and libraries.

Since joining the Bold.org team in 2023 as a Content Writer, Annika has utilized her extensive background as a scholarship recipient to guide others through the complexities of financial aid, scholarships, and grants. Her expertise also extends to securing internships in the creative arts and entertainment fields.

Motivated by a desire to make a meaningful impact, Annika's work at Bold.org is driven by her passion for assisting fellow students and combatting the student debt crisis. Through her compelling writing and advocacy for educational and financial empowerment, Annika is dedicated to uncovering funding opportunities and providing students with the resources they need.

Annika is no longer with the Bold.org Writing Team, but we continue to value and appreciate her contributions.

Quote from Annika

“Knowledge is power.”

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