Top 7 Study Abroad Destinations for 2018

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You’ve made the decision to study abroad – perhaps you’ve even chosen an organization to entrust with your study abroad experience. But many organizations offer programs in dozens of countries, and it can be hard to choose just one.

To help you narrow down your options, we’ve assembled a list of the top study abroad destinations from around the world, taking into consideration both educational and intercultural opportunities for international students.

For each potential host country, we note the fields of study which might pique your interest, opportunities for nearby adventure and exploration, and several top program contenders for your consideration.

(And if the USA makes your final cut, be sure to check out our FREE International Student Financial Aid Guide!)

Africa

While Africa may not be in your current list of contenders, it’s a destination worth considering if you’re interested in fields like:

  • Anthropology
  • Biology
  • Environmental studies
  • Public Policy
  • Sociology
  • Zoology

Africa offers a complex political, social, and economic climate which results in a fascinating and truly eye-opening experience for international students. Individuals who have studied in Africa note huge achievements in personal and academic growth, as well as ample opportunity to engage with locals and create lasting bonds.

Two African study abroad destinations worth considering are Meknes, Morocco – declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 – and Cape Town, South Africa, voted the world’s number one destination by the New York Times in 2014.

cape town, south africa, top 7 study abroad destinations for 2018

Recommended programs include:

  • Language, Culture, and Society, ISA – Located in the historic, imperial city of Meknes, this program allows students to select courses in history, architecture, arts, religion, gender studies, and more
  • Health, Culture, and Development, IES Abroad – Located in Cape Town on the coast of South Africa, this program allows participants to explore the effects of globalization and disease on different communities

France

France is an ideal study abroad destination for students interested in:

  • Architecture
  • Art
  • Fashion Design
  • French
  • History
  • Literature
  • Music

Known for its quaint cafes, pulsing nightlife, and stunning architecture, France is the perfect host for students seeking a comprehensive cultural experience. A simple afternoon out might find you meandering through a royal château like the Palace of Versailles or coming face-to-face with the works of illustrious French artists (think Da Vinci, Monet, and Matisse) in the Louvre, the world’s largest museum.

Literature students can explore the nation that inspired the works of Proust and Voltaire, and musicians will experience France’s musical innovation firsthand.

Interested in fashion? Be sure to peruse the “City of Lights,” where fashion houses like Chanel, Vuitton, and Dior were born.

Paris, France, top 7 study abroad destinations for 2018

Recommended programs include:

Interested in studying music? See why France takes the second spot on our list of the best destinations for music study abroad!

Germany

You may want to consider Germany if you’re interested in pursuing one of the following majors:

  • Architecture
  • Engineering
  • German
  • History
  • International Business
  • Music

So what makes Germany the perfect country to host your study abroad excursion? One defining characteristic of this Western European nation is its focus on an international curriculum. Not only does this provide students with a global education, but it may also boost employability.

Perhaps even more enticing is Germany’s lack of tuition fees, which applies to citizens and international students enrolled in public universities.

Finally, Germany promises a rich, fascinating history, unique cuisine, colorful festivals, and some of the most enchanting castles and breathtaking landscapes you’ve ever laid eyes on.

Germany, top 7 study abroad destinations for 2018

Recommended programs include:

  • European Union, IES Abroad – Based in Freiburg, this program provides students who are interested in politics, economics, business, or international relations with 22 days of travel so they can gain exposure to “the European Union and beyond”
  • Environmental Studies and Sustainability, IES Abroad – Students interested in environmental studies, forest ecology, forest management, sustainability, or tourism will get hands-on experience in fascinating locations like the Black Forest and Rhine River Valley
  • Language and Area Studies, IES Abroad – Quickly improve your written and verbal proficiency in the German language while navigating the winding streets of Freiburg

Check out these 9 countries where you can study for free!

Italy

The second most popular host city for American study abroad students, Italy is a prime destination for individuals who wish to study these disciplines:

  • Architecture
  • Art
  • Business
  • History
  • Fashion Design
  • Italian
  • Music

From the Colosseum located in the heart of Rome to the beautifully dilapidated Greek amphitheaters of Sicily, Italy offers endless lessons in history. Art students will have access to a myriad of original work, while architecture students will marvel at the structures that represent nearly 3,000 years of shifting design aesthetics.

Home to Vivaldi, Puccini, and the La Scala Opera Theatre, Italy is also an ideal destination for music majors whose interests include opera, symphonic music, and instrumental and vocal classical music. Students interested in fashion design can explore the birthplace of world-renowned designers like Versace, Gucci, and Prada, and foodies and wine connoisseurs can eat and drink to their heart’s content.

Manarola, Italy, top 7 study abroad destinations for 2018

Recommended programs include:

  • Florence University of the Arts, SAI – Liberal arts students can explore courses in fashion, design, architecture, fine arts, culinary arts, and more while living in Florence
  • Music: Tradition & Innovation, IES Abroad – Work face-to-face with world-class musicians, perform at local venues, and explore IES’s partnership with La Verdi Symphonic Choir and Orchestra – all while soaking up the vivacious culture of Milan
  • Business Studies, IES Abroad – Get both classroom instruction and hands-on business experience in Milan, the business capital of Italy

See why Italy ranks number one on our "Music Study Abroad: Top 5 Destinations" blog!

Mexico

Mexico makes a great host country for students interested in subjects like:

  • Art
  • Ethnic Studies
  • History
  • Latin American Studies
  • Marine Biology
  • Music
  • Spanish

Despite recent news highlighting the potential dangers lurking in Mexico, the nation welcomed a record 35 million international tourists in 2016. So what makes Mexico the most visited country in Latin America?

Sure, the resorts are abundant and the beaches are pristine. But when it comes to study abroad, it’s the “exuberant, lively, colorful, and warm” people who make studying abroad in Mexico the wonderful experience that it is, shares Hope Viers for GoAbroad.com.

Study abroad students can explore the Mayan ruins of the Yucatan Peninsula and visit the art and history museums of Mexico City, all while increasing their Spanish language skills and immersing themselves in the vibrant Mexican culture. Plus, the scenery is gorgeous, the cuisine is delectable, and the festivals are a cultural experience to behold.

Tulum, Mexico, top 7 study abroad destinations for 2018

Recommended programs include:

United Kingdom

The UK offers a variety of destinations for students interested in:

  • Business
  • Economics
  • Literature
  • Marketing
  • Theatre

An island nation in Northwestern Europe consisting of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the UK attracts the second highest number of international students – second only to the United States.

So what makes the UK such a sought-after host for study abroad? One determining factor is its unparalleled cultural and ethnic diversity, which makes for a truly unique educational experience. As an international student, you’ll interact with fellow humans from all walks of life, growing in both your educational and personal endeavors.

Business and marketing majors will enjoy quality programs and practical experience in the capital cities of London, Dublin, and Edinburgh, and students of literature can explore the birthplace of such legendary authors as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and George Orwell.

London, UK, top 7 study abroad destinations for 2018

Recommended programs include:

  • British Fantasy Literature (Summer), AIFS – This program is every bookworm’s dream, taking you on a journey of the landscapes, history, and culture that inspired Shakespeare, Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, and more
  • Study Abroad in London, England, AIFS – Take courses in art, business, economics, psychology, and more while living in a Kensington-based residence hall and taking classes at London’s American International University

USA

The USA is a dream destination for students seeking an education in fields like:

  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Law
  • Math
  • Political Science
  • Technology

The USA offers one of the best (and biggest) educational systems in the world. Boasting “at least ten times as many campuses as any other country,” the USA provides a wide variety of educational opportunities, from liberal arts to social sciences and everything in between, shares InternationalStudent.com.

Because U.S. degrees are recognized throughout most of the world, earning a degree from an American university could boost your employability and professional opportunities. Plus, non-native English speakers will gain valuable practical experience with this internationally-spoken language.

San Francisco, USA, top 7 study abroad destinations for 2018

Recommended programs include:

  • New York University, Washington, D.C., NYU – International students interested in subjects like business, economics, journalism, political science, and public management can study at New York University, just blocks from the Whitehouse and the Smithsonian
  • Language School San Diego, Eurocentres – Learn English while studying at the Eurocentres school in San Diego, located within the city’s colorful Gaslamp Quarter District

Want to study in the USA? Before you go, be sure to prepare with these challenges for international students.

So you’ve chosen your study abroad destination. What next?

Visit our Study Abroad blog or check out the following resources for more help planning your study abroad excursion!

Intl Student Financial Aid Guide

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