Top 10 Places to Study Abroad in 2017

Top Articles on Studying Abroad from Students and Experts

story by Amira Beasley

The New Year is always filled with fad diets, fitness challenges, and other soon-to-be-forgotten New Year's resolutions. This year, try something new: Make a resolution to study abroad! It’ll be the New Year's Resolution that you’ll actually keep.

At Diversity Abroad, we celebrate diversity of cultures, languages, and perspectives. With that in mind, there are many great countries to see around the world that vary in affordability, proximity to home (the U.S. specifically), and cross-cultural experiences. Here is our list of 10 study abroad destinations that’ll make you want to #UnlockYourPassort in the #newyear to celebrate a #newyou.


1. Brazil


What country is home to the largest population of Black diasporic people outside of Africa? Brazil. What about the largest population of Japanese outside of Japan? Brazil! Yes, BRAZIL.

Brazil’s history of indigenous people, European imperialism, slavery, and immigration from many countries has created a people that come in a variety of shades. From the economically distressed favelas to the Brazilian Beverly Hills, the streets of Brazil are just as diverse and complex as its people. Brazil’s multicultural heritage is also evident in its unique and vibrant music, dance, food, and festivals. In fact, Brazilian traditions, like the samba and it’s Carnival celebration, are known world-wide.

Want to know more? Check out Yonatan’s story! As a neuroscience major at The Ohio State University, he tells us about his experience studying abroad in Brazil.


2. Costa Rica


You don’t have to leave the northern hemisphere to surround yourself with awesome wildlife, beautiful beaches, and hospitable people. Study in Costa Rica!

In as little as 3.5 hours by plane you could be living “la pura vida”, a common phrase used by locals that reflects the laid back Costa Rican lifestyle. Unplug and unwind by visiting one of Costa Rica’s many natural attractions. Animals lovers will be moved by Proyecto Asis, a popular animal rescue center, and beach bums will find themselves in beach bum paradise on one of the many gorgeous beaches in this country.

If you’re interested in learning more, our own Campus Fellow, Arielle C., shares her story about studying abroad in Costa Rica, and the courses she took as a Biology major.


3. China


With a nation as long-lasting as China, you are bound to find something in its history that interests you.

Luckily, a lot of its history has been preserved today. The Great Wall of China is one of China’s most popular pieces of history among tourists. And for a good reason! It is the largest man-made structure spanning 5,500 miles. Another popular tourist attraction is the Forbidden City, a Chinese imperial palace built in the early 1400’s. Outside of the architectural wonders of China, there are many other fascinating facets of Chinese culture.

There are many myths about studying in China that keep some students from visiting. Luckily, DA has debunked them for you.

And if you think China is too far or too expensive, think again! We have partnered with the China Institute to offer $20,000 scholarships to study abroad in China each semester. If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, join us for our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, January 18th.


4. South Korea


Hallyu is a name that describes the phenomenon of Korean culture sweeping the world. 2016 saw its cultural wave continue to gain momentum and 2017 will likely be no different. Why not put yourself at the forefront of cultural coolness by studying Korean culture IN Korea?

In addition to being known for the culture that is flowing out of the country, expats in Korea and fans of Korean pop culture in the States rave how Korea has taken many iconic American cultural art forms, like rap, break dancing, etc., and put their own spin on  it.

Emilie received a study abroad scholarship from the South Korean government, so read her story to find out how. Learn more about the Global Korea Scholarship and be one step closer to going global.


5. Thailand


The beauty of Thailand is nearly unparalleled. Breathtaking Buddhist temples with backdrops of bright blue skies create vivid memories that travelers never forget.

If that imagery doesn't convince you to buy a plane ticket, the low cost of living will. For students who want a rich cultural experience at a budget friendly price, Thailand is a fantastic choice! Thailand’s student friendly prices also allow foodies to explore Thai cuisine without the guilt of an empty wallet. In Bangkok, students can taste some of the world’s tastiest street food for only a few U.S. dollars. You'll have more Instagram-worthy food pics than you'll know what to do with!

See how exciting studying abroad can be from our own Fall 2016 Overseas Ambassador, Austin! You can check out some of his posts from living in Thailand on our Instagram with the hashtag #OATuesdayTakeover!


6. Israel


Israel, for many, is known as a holy and sacred land. Located along the eastern rim of the Mediterranean Sea, it is a little smaller than the state of New Jersey, but is amazingly diverse, and full of historical and religious sites that are deeply influenced by Muslims, Christians, and Jews. The modernity of Tel Aviv contrasts this spiritual land with a financial district and a booming tech industry that has some calling the city one of the world’s best start-up hubs. And let’s not forget that Israel is home to some of the most highly ranked universities in the world,  including Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion University.

Hear more about studying in Israel from Marcus, who studied there, despite being involved with so many organizations on campus.


7. South Africa


Adventurers, South Africa is the place for you.

A lot of South Africa’s most popular attractions are its natural features. Take Kruger National Park. Nearly 1 million people each people visit Kruger, one of Africa’s largest game reserves. Table Top Mountain is also a popular attraction in South Africa. Hikers who reach the top are rewarded with a stunning view of Cape Town. With apartheid on the heels of modern South African history, South Africa is also a great place for students who are interested in social justice movements or conflict and resolution. There’s a reason why it made our list of 5 Great Study Abroad Destinations for African American Students!

Only have a short amount of time to visit or study in South Africa? Make sure to get the most out of your stay by volunteering, and don’t forget these ten travel essentials when you go. And hear more about it from Darshaya, who studied abroad in Cape Town as a music major!


8. New Zealand


When one thinks of New Zealand, a few pop cultural references jump to mind, most notably The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Whale Rider, or the comedic musical act, Flight of the Conchords.

Although these have helped put New Zealand on the map for many Americans, there is so much more this country has to offer. New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Home to more sheep than people, it’s indigenous culture and people, the Maori, display traditions that resonate with other cultures around the world. Look no further than the Haka, a traditional war dance performed at special celebrations. If you need more convincing, Diversity Abroad Campus Fellow Maggie shares more details about her experience studying abroad in New Zealand for the semester.


9. Netherlands


With its charming canals and whimsical windmills, the Netherlands is like something out of a fairytale. Renowned art museums and preserved medieval architecture make Amsterdam a quintessential Western European city.

History, art, and architecture aren’t the only things to study in the Netherlands. Read how Diversity Abroad Summer Fellow Mylaica was able to take classes that counted towards her pre-med major.


10. Spain


While others flock to Paris and London, fly to Madrid. It has the same vibrant nightlife and hip, fashion forward vibe, with a lower cost of living!

Outside of the capital, Spain still has a lot to offer: The misty peaks of Galicia rival those glorified in Irish culture. A few regions over,you’ll find the Basque Country where citizens speak one of the oldest languages in Europe. From Barcelona to Sevilla to Malaga, and everywhere between, you’ll find an eclectic collection of cultures and languages that will prove to you that Spain isn’t as homogenous as you once thought.

It’s no wonder why Spain remains one of the most popular destinations for American students studying abroad. Check out my study abroad story here, or read more from Diversity Abroad scholarship recipient, Bushra, about her summer in Spain.

You’ve probably promised yourself that you’d leave your procrastinating ways back in 2016. So, why not get ahead and check out these resources and articles to prepare for your future adventures?

8 Signs You’re a Black (American) Student Traveling Abroad

Guide to Funding Study & Internships Abroad

The Ultimate Study Abroad Bucket List!

Insider Packing Tips for Your Trip Abroad


Amira Beasley


Amira is a Summer 2016 Fellow and a Campus Fellow at Diversity Abroad. She studies International Studies and Latin American Studies at Miami University of Ohio. While studying in Madrid, Spain in the spring of 2015, she caught the travel bug and now spends every spare moment planning her next adventure.

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