22 Unique Study Abroad Destinations Every Student Should Consider

Top Articles on Studying Abroad from Students and Experts

story by Trixie Cordova

“Adventure is out there!”

If you watched the animated film Up, you probably recognized its message and can relate to it. You’ve spent your early years learning in classrooms, from teachers and books and tests. But there’s that yearning and restlessness, and the need to explore outside the confines of a school.

Students get the chance to expand their horizons in the classroom, but pursuing further study abroad will help you take that experience to the next level.


Photo courtesy of Peggy Marco via Pixabay


One of the main seats of Asian civilization, China gives visitors many opportunities to learn and enjoy: the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, the pandas, the Shaolin monks, even the food, which is much better than the Chinese takeout you’re probably used to (or tired of). As one of the world’s economic superpowers, it’s an ideal place for those who want to learn how global business works while experiencing an inarguably exotic culture.


If you’ve never tried authentic Thai food before, go to Thailand and discover what study abroad destinations are all about. Aside from its singularly spicy cuisine, Thailand is home to Buddhist temples, deep blue oceans, exotic jungles, and thrilling martial arts (many boxers cringe at what Muay Thai fighters are subjected to).


The only Catholic country in Asia, the Philippines offers an eclectic blend of American culture and Asian sensibilities. As an archipelago, its rich marine biodiversity has charmed tourists from all over the world. With tropical beaches and ruins from the Spanish era, it’s a good place for an enriching study and travel program.


The city-state of Singapore has established itself as a major global financial center. Comprised of 64 islands (one main island and 63 offshore islands), its main attractions include man-made waterfalls, the world’s first night zoo, and a colorful musical fountain show. Visitors will also have fun listening to (and trying to decode) Singlish, a unique mix of English and the local lingo. To experience the best of Asia’s urban lifestyle, Singapore is the place to go.


The Philippines and Thailand aren’t the only places in Asia which have heavy religious influences. Turkey has a diverse cultural heritage with Greek, Islamic and Christian characteristics. It was home to Byzantine Christians, Ottoman sultans, and the legendary city of Troy. While the country has rich cultural and religious significance (of which many locals are understandably proud), it’s also proudly cosmopolitan, making it a hidden gem for those who want to experience a Eurasian product of the old and the modern.

North America and the Caribbean

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The birthplace of Bob Marley, Jamaica boasts of a rich musical heritage that includes influences from West Africa and neighboring Caribbean countries. The island is covered with a blanket of green, its edge a rim of soft sand that sinks into the clear ocean. Eating Jamaican food is a religious experience, with rich tropical fruits, spices, root crops, fish, meat and rice coming together to create a uniquely hearty flavor. Students have their pick of various courses, ranging from health science to architecture.


This Northern American country exudes a strong European feel. Canada is famous for its friendly and tolerant residents. It’s not just hockey games and maple syrup that make Canada special, though—the seas where you can surf and fish, sub-arctic regions where you can marvel at the Northern lights, and urban metropolises like Toronto and Montreal where you can enjoy city life are all reasons to consider visiting America’s friendly neighbor to the north.

The United States

The land of opportunity, the United States remains a popular destination for many global students and workers. Arguably the center of global pop culture, it offers many options for entertainment and leisure, ranging from movies and musicals to sci-fi/fantasy conventions and theme parks. Those looking for world-class education can also find it in the US, with premier institutions like Harvard and Stanford looking to improve campus diversity by offering opportunities to global students.

South America

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A land of extremes, Argentina’s climate runs from subtropical to subarctic as you go from north to south. Its unique geography is home to a wide variety of wildlife, ranging from armadillos to penguins. Dubbed as the “Paris of South America,” its architecture and metropolitan feel will surely appeal to Europeans and Americans who want just a dash of the unfamiliar.


The world-famous statue of Christ the Redeemer keeps watch over the country of Brazil, a country blessed with a vibrant culture. Its popular powder-sand beaches attract tourists who want plenty of fun in the sun. With its fair share of Spanish colonial history and a national obsession over football, Brazil a great place to spend your summer and brush up your Portuguese .


Straddling the equator where it derived its name, the country is known for its Andean peaks and volcanic islands that are home to fascinating flora and fauna. Ecuador is perfect for nature lovers who want to experience summer programs that focuses on the environment.


The home of the Incas, Peru offers visiting students a chance to explore nature and the ruins of ancient civilizations. The climate can be tropical and humid or cool and wet, depending on where you are in the country. If you’ve always wanted to climb mountains and trudge through rainforests, this is a great destination.


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South Africa

Museums, bistros, mountain ranges, vineyards, and Victorian houses—you’d think you’re in Europe, but you’re actually in South Africa. Students can visit wineries, mansions, and villas—attractions one would normally expect under the Tuscan sun. With an active art scene and a laid-back academic atmosphere, students can get a chance to enjoy leisurely overseas learning in an unexpected place. It’s also home to Robben Island, where human rights advocate and apartheid fighter President Nelson Mandela spent years as a political prisoner.


Morocco has a predominantly Muslim culture, though it was exposed to most major religions in the world. It’s also a former French colony and home to diverse sun-beaten landscapes dotted with oases. Souqs, sultans’ palaces, ramparts, and parapets give Moroccan cities a unique feel. Those who want to learn about international relations, particularly involving Middle Eastern countries, will want to explore the unique study abroad programs here.


Those fascinated with ancient history will want to visit the Egyptian pyramids, a cultural marvel and a feat of ancient engineering. Those who actually do can enjoy other attractions, including temple ruins, the largest reading space in the world (where you can read literature in different languages), and open bazaars. If you consider yourself a true student of world culture and archaeology, then this is the destination for you.


Photo courtesy of pattyjansen via Pixabay

New Zealand

One of the many benefits of studying abroad is that you get to experience an unusual education, a kind of learning that comes from experiences. That’s exactly what you can expect from New Zealand. With the country’s soaring mountains and verdant but jagged plains, there’s plenty of opportunity for thrilling activities like bungee-jumping, hiking, and river rafting. One can also experience the best New Zealand cities offer by using their walking tour apps. So if you believe that the unlived life is not worth examining, a trip to New Zealand could be just what you need.


The Land Down Under is the place to go for endless exploration. Home to geographical attractions like the Great Barrier Reef, Bondi Beach, and Ayers Rock, Australia also has a vibrant urban scene, with numerous theaters, art galleries, and music festivals. Their food is a fusion of European-style cooking and fine ingredients from Asia. As the only country that’s also a continent, Australia’s vastness is the perfect place to have a satisfying educational excursion.

Those are just some destinations you can consider. The world is an open book with many pages you can flip to. One of the most important tips in life is to not ignore your wanderlust: listen to it, think about the kind of education you want, and chase after the adventure that’s out there.

Trixie Cordova


Trixie is the Student Outreach Coordinator at Diversity Abroad. She studied abroad in Italy as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, then went on to be an Assistant Language Teacher on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program for 2 years. She has her MA in International Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

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