The chance to study abroad is one of the best experiences a college student can take advantage of. But with so many incredible places to travel to, how can you decide which location is right for you? Before you decide where to study abroad, you'll need to decide what is most important for you in a study abroad experience. Are you looking to live in a large city? Or would you prefer a more isolated location? Do you want a destination where English is commonly spoken or one where you’ll be required to use a different language? We talk to our residents every semester about their study abroad experiences. While every one is different, here is our list of the five most unique locations our residents have raved about.
1. Wellington, New Zealand
With a small size that makes it easy to navigate, Wellington—the capital city of New Zealand—is full of exciting things to do. And with the second-largest metro area in New Zealand, it's perfect for those who want to visit other cities on the weekends. The mix of urban life and views of nature offer a unique combination that appeals to many students. Wellington boasts a creative culture known for its incredible food, coffee, and events. Music festivals, sporting events, and street festivals are easy to find in this lively little city. With great shopping, museums, and outdoor activities, it offers a truly unique experience. Want to make your friends back home jealous? Post some Instagram shots from high atop a lookout point on Mount Victoria. Want to see an aerial view of the city from a unique perspective? Take a ride on the famous Wellington Cable Car. Tour museums, get some exercise on a bike tour, or lounge on the sandy coastline of Oriental Bay. In Wellington, there's never a lack of things to do.
2. Dubrovnik, Croatia
If you enjoy the seaside, you're going to love Dubrovnik, home to some of the world's best beaches. Life in this Croatian city costs about half as much as cities in nearby Turkey, Austria, and Greece. Positioned on the Adriatic Sea, the city dates back to the 11th century. It offers stunning, majestic views and is a unique juxtaposition of old meets new. When you're not studying or lounging on the beach, take some time to visit the ancient city walls. History students are sure to love the ancient ruins and historic sites of the Middle Ages. Art students will appreciate the many museums and exhibitions. And foodies will fall in love with Dubrovnik’s wide variety of cuisine options. A ride on the famous Dubrovnik cable car offers the most amazing views of the city. With the blue Adriatic Sea and the orange rooftops of Old Town below, it's a stunning sight to behold. Make sure your phone is fully charged at all times—you're going to want to snap lots of pictures!
3. Florence, Italy
Anyone who has ever been to Florence will tell you it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. Italy is home to many amazing cities for students who love art and history—and Florence is at the top of that list. Beautiful cityscapes make it a favorite destination and one of the best places to study abroad. In comparison to other Italian cities like Rome, Florence tends to have fewer tourists. It is, however, a hot spot that attracts college students from around the world. If you're looking to meet diverse new friends, Florence is an ideal choice. Visit the famed Duomo at Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. View Michelangelo's iconic statue of David with your own eyes. Tour Renaissance piazzas and palazzos on a daily basis. Art, architecture, and culture can be found at every turn. Aside from its stunning architecture and awesome museums, Florence is also known for its amazing food. Foodies who enjoy pizza, pasta, and cannoli are sure to fall in love with the city's restaurants and cafés.
4. Shanghai, China
With ancient Chinese temples, as well as some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, Shanghai is a fantastic place to study abroad. Whether you prefer to bike, walk, take a cab, or ride public transportation, it's an easy city to get around. The tech-savvy nature of China is clearly present in Shanghai. Students interested in technology and innovation will love this beautiful city for its high-tech industry. History students will enjoy the many ancient temples and tea houses. Architecture students will love the staggering heights of the Shanghai Tower. Plus, the food in Shanghai will blow your mind. Dumplings, sweet and sour fish, and sweet ball rice soup are just some of the amazing dishes you'll find. You can walk off those meals along the Bund, a favorite waterfront area lit with colorful lights. Visit right before sunset in order to enjoy the best views. This city truly provides a unique study abroad experience that offers something for everyone.
5. Semester at Sea
It can be tough to pick one city to study abroad in, but there's a unique way to get around that issue—Semester at Sea. It’s perfect for the indecisive student who wants to go everywhere. With this study abroad option, you can do just that. As a Semester at Sea student, you'll live aboard a ship. On average, each ship visits four continents and 12–15 cities, making it ideal for students in search of a unique international experience. The ship itself is stunning and includes amenities such as a library, pool, spa, and fitness center. The course offerings are extensive, making it a great choice for students of all areas of study. This floating campus makes varied destinations each semester. The Fall 2018 voyage includes stops in Japan, India, Ghana, and Spain. The Spring 2019 voyage includes destinations in Vietnam, Casablanca, and Cape Town, South Africa. Every semester is different except for one thing—you'll go home with memories that will last a lifetime.
Related: Semester at Sea Spring Award
Before you choose where to study abroad, decide what elements are most important to your study abroad experience. Talk to other students who have studied overseas. Ask your professors for their input. Narrow down your options to places that are relevant to your course of study. Whether you choose to study in Italy, China, or aboard a ship, it's sure to be the most incredible experience of your college career.
Looking to cut down your study abroad costs? Check out these scholarships!