So you’re considering a semester abroad. Good on ya! Nothing enriches your education—or your life—like venturing out from the confines of the United States and exploring a brand-new place. Start by doing your research and finding out which international schools offer programs that match your interests. Don’t forget to sort out your paperwork, get a clean bill of health from your doctor and purchase a study abroad health insurance policy to ensure you’re covered in an emergency.
The hardest part of studying abroad might be choosing your destination. Here are a few that really stand out.
Study in Australia
Want a study abroad experience that offers exposure to a vibrant, English-speaking culture, gorgeous natural scenery—think Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock—and a thriving arts community? Then the land down under is the perfect place for you!
Australia’s universities are located all over the country, including on the island of Tasmania, and the capital city of Sydney offers a range of educational choices. Australian schools provide course work in just about any field you can dream of, but the schools near the Great Barrier Reef offer some of the world’s best marine biology programs. Either way, studying in Australia offers experiences you just can’t get anywhere else in the world.
Study in South Africa
If Australia’s not your cuppa, head to the other down under, South Africa. Not only does this southern country boast 23 public universities, it’s home to some of the world’s oldest archeological sites, so you know this place has got some serious history to explore.
South Africa offers large, modern cities with every convenience and amenity, like Cape Town and Johannesburg, along with rural areas teeming with wildlife. Plus, if you’re interested in linguistics, there are 11 spoken languages in South Africa, including English, Afrikaans and Zulu.
Study in Iceland
Ever dreamed of relaxing in a hot pool fed by volcanic vents from deep in the earth while the snow falls gently around you? Who hasn’t? Studying abroad in Iceland can turn this dream into reality. This remote country is home to the world’s leading geothermal technology, making it a perfect choice for those interested in green science and environmental studies.
Study in Japan
Speaking of cutting-edge technology, it just doesn’t get much more on the edge than Japan. Seriously, a bullet train that goes almost 200 miles per hour? Vending machines that spew out everything from beer to crepes to Smart Cars? Doesn’t get much cooler that that! Tech lovers will feel right at home in the nation’s capital, home to the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the National Museum of Emerging Science and Technology.
Study in Guatemala
Immerse yourself in the Spanish language on a study abroad adventure in Guatemala. This Central American nation is known for its stunning natural beauty and emerging eco-tourism industry. Hike to the top of Mt. Pacaya, one of the tallest active volcanoes in the world, or explore the Mayan ruins in Tikal to get a better understanding of the country’s rich history.
When you’re not studying Spanish, you can take dancing classes at the famed schools in Antigua or Quetzaltenango, where the merengue and the salsa dance styles rule. You can also learn traditional Guatemalan weaving and textile arts in the village of San Pedro La Laguna.
No matter where you decide to spend your semester abroad, it’s essential to be prepared. From boning up on the local language to ensuring you stay safe and healthy, time spent abroad will surely change your life. A bit of research and preparation will help you choose the perfect spot.