Studying abroad is one of the best, most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have during your college experience. While choosing a program can be daunting, there are so many incredible cities just waiting to be explored! Whether you go across the pond to Europe, down under to Australia, or past the border to South America, there’s no doubt that your time abroad will be unforgettable. Here are the 10 best cities to study abroad in college!
1. Florence, Italy
The food alone is reason enough to head to Florence, Italy, for your study abroad adventure. With pizza, pasta, cappuccinos, and cannolis galore, Florence is a romantic city that will capture your heart. Seriously, you’ll never want to come back. Food-lovers and art-lovers will no doubt be in heaven in Florence, as the city is home to many gorgeous historical sites. From the Ponte Vecchio stone bridge to the Uffizi Gallery art museum, you will never get bored wandering the city and exploring all of the amazing sites that Florence has to offer. Prego!
2. Sydney, Australia
If you consider yourself a summer-person, then you’re sure to thrive in Sydney, Australia. Sydney is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, cultural sites, and exotic animals. You can take surf lessons in the mornings, attend classes in the afternoons, and have a wild night out on the town! What more can you ask for?
In Sydney, you have to make sure to see the Sydney Opera House and the Royal Botanical Gardens. Or, take a boat tour of Darling Harbor! There are so many incredible things to do in Sydney, so get going, mate!
Oh, and if you need another reason to love Sydney: everyone speaks English. It might not seem like a big deal now, but trust me, it is a major bonus.
3. London, England
If you want to live out your Harry Potter fantasy, then London is the place to be. London is a unique mix of traditional British culture with a young, urban population, and each district has its own distinct personality! Again, art-majors and theatre-lovers will no doubt be drawn to London’s galleries and historical landmarks (William Shakespeare was born here!).
London is a great place to make your temporary home. The public transportation in London is seriously so easy, and the education system is renowned! While the weather isn’t always sunny, the city makes up for it with its charm and personality.
If you’re in London, you need to take a ferry down the River Thames and check out Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. There are a ton of free museums that are also must-sees. A personal tip: head to Shoreditch! It’s my favorite district of London and has an edgy, urban street vibe.
4. Galway, Ireland
Even Ed Sheeran wrote a song about a Galway girl. And with good reason! Galway is one of the best (yet lesser-known) cities to study abroad.
I have to admit, I’m a little biased because I spent my study abroad experience in Galway, Ireland! But guys, it is the cutest, most wholesome town you will ever visit (and no, that’s not just the Guinness talking).
While people might be drawn to the big city of Dublin, Galway is a medium-sized city located near the coast of Ireland that boasts gorgeous green views and friendly residents. Galway is a city that is known for its people: everyone in Galway is overwhelmingly kind and considerate!
What I loved most about Galway were culture and music! There are buskers (street performers) on every turn, and the music in the pubs is lively and exciting. I bet you want to be a Galway girl!
5. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Spain is definitely the most Instagrammable place to study abroad! With incredible views like La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, Barcelona will bring you all of the flavor and culture you could ever dream of during your time abroad.
Barcelona has incredible weather (sunny and warm all year long), and the food and culture is unlike any other. It’s no wonder that Barcelona is one of the most popular places to study abroad year after year by college students.
Plus, if you’re learning to speak Spanish, studying abroad in Barcelona will help you improve your skills. Talk to the locals, order some Paella on the beach, and embrace your experience! Barcelona also has one of the wildest club scenes, so prepare to party until 6 am and do it all over again.
6. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is one of the most vibrant places I’ve ever been to, and it is an incredible city to study abroad! Lisbon offers the ultimate bohemian lifestyle, and you’re bound to experience loads of culture and excitement during your time there.
In Lisbon, you’ll have to visit Belem Tower, and Castelo de S. Jorge to soak in some views overlooking the entire city. Lisbon is also home to popular public squares with adorable restaurants and coffee shops. Seriously, you’ll never want to leave!
7. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is a little bit of a hidden gem. Not many people from my university studied abroad in Prague, but those that did were absolutely stunned by the city!
Prague is an incredible city to spend your time abroad. With a rich historical past and a budding hipster scene, Prague offers a lively and meaningful study abroad experience to students from all across the globe.
An added bonus: the cost of living is Prague is a lot lower than in most countries, making everything a little bit cheaper. You’ll be able to have an extravagant time abroad without breaking the bank!
8. Amsterdam, Netherlands
I can say with all honesty that Amsterdam is the best city I’ve ever been to. And no, I’m not just talking about the fact that weed is legal.
Amsterdam is a gorgeous metropolitan city that has canals galore and enough excitement to last you your entire trip abroad. There’s a reason why residents of Amsterdam have been found to be the happiest people in the world.
You can rent a boat and take a canal tour through the city, or hop on a bike and cruise around like the locals. Either way, you will be amazed by the different districts, parks, and historical sites in Amsterdam.
9. Paris, France
Who doesn’t want to go to Paris? French wine, french baguettes, and french cheese is just the start of experiencing the romantic and captivating city that is Paris!
Paris is a bustling city jam-packed with Parisian charm. When your average school night involves enjoying wine overlooking the Eiffel tower, I’d say you made a pretty good choice. And, Paris has a rich history and a ton of historical sites to learn more about French culture.
Art-lovers and history buffs will be in heaven, as Paris hosts tons of museums and galleries to explore. Be sure to go beyond the tourist traps and really experience the hidden gems that Paris has to offer!
10. Buenos Aires
If you’re looking to improve your Spanish, Buenos Aires should definitely top your study abroad list. Buenos Aires is a unique city to study abroad because it combines European influence with South American culture.
With an incredibly rich and diverse culture and food to match, you’ll have no problem finding things to do in Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires has a huge soccer culture, which you can get into and make yourself a fan! Plus, their nightlife is vibrant, so definitely take advantage!
What are you most looking forward to during your study abroad experience? Let us know in the comments!
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Hi! My name is Allison and I'm a senior at UW-Madison majoring in Strategic Communication and Political Science. When I'm not fueling my passion for writing with my coffee addiction, you can find me listening to live music or binge-watching Parks and Rec.