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Taking the time to study and live in a foreign country can be one of the most enriching experiences during a college career.
Not only can studying abroad be a way to see the world, but it is also a chance to put academic work into a context beyond the classroom and gain compassion for how other cultures live day to day.
Regardless of the reason, studying abroad is a great experience to put onto a resume and will provide countless memories for a lifetime.
There are many options for deciding on a studying abroad program. We’ve compiled out list based on the following factors. We analyzed over 250 study abroad programs and constructed our rankings by weighting the following data:
- The program plays a concrete role in fostering study abroad, whether it is their own campus overseas, a link to a specific foreign university or linking with affiliate programs.
- The program offers something unique over other institutions.
- The program emphasizes smaller cohorts over massive groups of students.
- University faculty are involved with the process, traveling with students, teaching them once abroad and leading an array of activities.
- The program is more than just a few weeks, usually a semester or longer.
Top 50 Colleges for Study Abroad Programs
1) Duke University – Durham, NC
Duke has a great deal of possible choices for a student interested in going abroad. One of the more recent additions, in the fall of 2015, to this realm of choice is their semester-long program in India. One half of the trip is spent in a rural village and the other in bustling Bangalore. In the villages, students study poverty and global health; in the city, they study urban planning, politics and economics; a week at the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve is based around environmental conservation and biology. This immersive program is a fantastic way for students to study important issues outside of their selected major and learn about pressing global issues.
2) Middlebury College – Middlebury, VT
The college claims that more than half of Middlebury’s junior class studies abroad in more than 40 countries each year. Seeking a holistic approach to taking one’s studies overseas, their stated goal is to “cultivate the intellectual, creative, physical, ethical, and social qualities essential for leadership in a rapidly changing global community.” Middlebury students immerse themselves in local language and customs to achieve this appropriately lofty goal. The college maintains Schools Abroad via connections with other institutions in countries as diverse as Cameroon, Chile, India and Japan. The experience is a solid way for Middlebury students to enhance their studies and provide a lifetime of memories.
3) University of Evansville – Evansville, IN
Evansville students are able to choose from a range of affiliated programs to explore options for studying in countries around the world. The long-standing centerpiece of the school’s own study abroad program, though, is at Harlaxton College in the United Kingdom. For over forty years, Evansville has used a 100-room Victorian manor house as a home base for its program in British Studies. Covering literature, art history, economics, history and political science as subjects, all of it taught by British faculty, the program works as a thorough introduction to culture in the U.K. Better yet: students can continue in their progress towards satisfying their majors while taking part in this unique opportunity.
4) Trinity College – Hartford, CT
Trinity offers eight of their own “Study Away” programs, in places as wide ranging as Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Paris and Shanghai. Most notable of their options, perhaps, is their program in Trinidad, which provides a rarely seen glimpse into this two-island Caribbean country. Covering coursework, field trips and local immersion the “Trinity in Trinidad” program covers the fascinating history of Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and its rich culture. Students collaborate with local scientists, artists, politicians and scholars, letting students have close access to learning about what makes the country tick. This unique opportunity is just one of the aspects that makes Trinity’s study abroad great.
5) New York University – New York, NY
As more than 3,000 undergraduate students decide to take advantage of NYU’s study abroad program, it is clearly an important part of the school’s culture. The university maintains locations in 14 foreign cities that can suit particular majors or cultural interests. The spectrum of these offerings is quite wide, with everywhere from Abu Dhabi to Berlin to Tel Aviv as potential options for students.
6) Dartmouth College – Hanover, NH
Dartmouth has a great many options for students who want to see the world. One option is the great Language Study Abroad Program, which helps match student’s language desires with a participating country. The college has programs in France, Argentina, China, Brazil and a number of other countries. While there, students live with host families while learning the language and taking courses about the local history. The LSA Program is an excellent way for students to delve into international issues in a new native tongue.
7) Boston University – Boston, MA
With over 90 study abroad options in more than 30 cities on six continents, BU students have the world at their fingertips. Though students have access to a number of affiliate institutions’ programs, they can also enroll in one of the 14 programs that are open only to BU students. For the latter, Paris, London, Sydney and Quito are among those that students can choose from. Wherever they may end up, BU students can find a wonderful way to study language, history and culture abroad through their school.
8) Ave Maria University – Ave Maria, FL
Students at Ave Maria have the great opportunity to do their study abroad in Rome, a mere five miles from the Vatican. The school maintains a Villa in a residential neighborhood that serves as perfect headquarters for this Catholic university’s student body. While there, they immerse themselves in ancient history, Renaissance art and religious history. There are multiple opportunities for participants to take side trips around nearby Italian cities and countryside. Students can maintain their standard academic course towards a degree while living in a unique environment.
9) Earlham College – Richmond, IN
With programs in Japan, Ecuador, India, Senegal, New Zealand and throughout Europe, Earlham has a very diverse study abroad program. Each country is chosen to foster a specific academic program, which covers a range of the school’s majors. Everything from border studies along the Mexico-U.S. border to looking at global health in Peru is available to students. As general education requirements can be satisfied abroad, it is often a popular option for students throughout the college. In fact, a majority of them live abroad for at least one semester during their time at Earlham and the school’s program is routinely touted as one of the best in the country.
10) University of Chicago – Chicago, IL
Students at the University of Chicago have a wealth of possibilities for studying abroad. From Botswana to Beijing to Berlin, a curious mind will be able to find exactly what they’re looking for in a host country. One notable option is the university’s Center in Paris, where students can learn about French thought and culture throughout history. Respected faculty lead courses, which stretch across majors and departments. Over 200 students go to the Center for their study abroad every year, a true attraction for the program.
11) Webster University – St. Louis, MO
Students at Webster have a wide array of options for their study abroad time. With 13 possible host countries, from Austria to Ghana to Thailand, the university’s programs truly cover the globe. Most of them have a designated central building specifically for the school’s study abroad program, while some couple are affiliated with a foreign university’s campus. Students are able to fulfill their academic requirements while exploring their new city, all while mingling with faculty and a small cohort. Webster’s top-notch programs are an excellent draw for students hoping to see the world during their higher education.
12) University of Portland – Portland, OR
While maintaining normal progress towards their degree, students at UP can travel around the world with a range of options. Those who go to their program in Salzburg, Austria get to live in the college’s own residence hall while seeing all that the city has to offer. While there, students can get credits in art, religion, philosophy and literature, among other disciplines. And, as this is Mozart’s birthplace, they should be prepared to take in some world-class music on the side. A trip to Europe under the guidance of UP is a wonderful way to see the continent.
13) Millsaps College – Jackson, MS
Millsaps has numerous study abroad opportunities, from short summer trips to semester-long excursions. Studying ecology in the Galapagos Islands, politics in Ghana and music in Prague are among the shorter options. Perhaps the most unique experience that Millsaps offers is a chance to live and work in the Yucatán peninsula, where the school operates a 4,500 acre tropical forest reserve. There, students can spend time studying everything from archaeology to literature while living in a fascinating environment. The Living in Yucatán Program has been a rewarding experience for countless students and will continue to do so for years to come.
14) Rhodes College – Memphis, TN
There are a number of options for students wanting to study abroad via Rhodes College. The school maintains programs all over the world through affiliates and also has its own programs in Europe. For one trip to the United Kingdom and Western Europe, British tutors specializing in art history accompany groups of students. As students travel around, they can focus on either Ancient Greece and Rome or on the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Europe. Students get normal credits for their work abroad and can maintain standard progress towards a degree.
15) Connecticut College – New London, CT
With over half of Connecticut College’s students going abroad at some point during their time in school, international thinking is a big part of the school culture. There are two options for studying overseas through the college: college-approved study away programs and the school’s own SATA (Study Away/Teach Away) program. For the latter, current options include trips to Peru, Florence, Cuba, Mexico and Vietnam, among other countries. These faculty-led traveling experiences are a fantastic way to blend a student’s academic interests with desires to see the world. The SATA program makes Connecticut a great place to study abroad.
16) Sarah Lawrence College – Bronxville, NY
Though the school offers many study abroad options – in China, Italy, Japan, England, Peru – one notable possibility at Sarah Lawrence is a trip to Cuba. The college maintains the longest running study abroad program in Havana, where students can immerse themselves into the Spanish language and Cuban culture more generally. Under the guidance of expert faculty, this is an excellent way to learn about the fascinating and complex history of this unique country. Studying abroad is an excellent way to continue one’s studies at Sarah Lawrence.
17) Assumption College – Worcester, MA
The cornerstone of Assumption’s study abroad options, which have extended to over 50 countries around the world, is their program in Rome. With its own campus in “the Eternal City,” the Rome campus lets students explore issues around religion, politics and history. Students are able to visit important sites, from ancient to contemporary life, first-hand. The college’s full-time faculty are there for guidance and instruction, while letting students satisfy their general education requirements in this dynamic environment. The program is selective: only 25 students participate each semester, forming a tight bond throughout their stay.
18) Biola University – La Mirada, CA
One of the main draws of Biola’s study abroad program is their Heidelberg Semester Program. While living in the Rhine Valley, students merge academics with travel in a rich cultural region. Visits to museums and historic towns are common, as are side trips to Austria and the northern part of the country. Offered year round, the trip to Germany is a popular option for students studying language, history and a number of other disciplines. Heidelberg makes an excellent base for those wanting to connect Europe’s past with its present.
19) Eastern Illinois University – Charleston, IL
With a special focus on developing the “knowledge and cross-cultural skills necessary for leadership in an increasingly global economy,” EIU’s study abroad is wide reaching. The school claims that it maintains 583 program options in 303 locations in 56 countries on 6 continents. With all of those options, any student with wanderlust should be able to find a suitable fit for traveling. The school leads semesters abroad with expert faculty members, with each trip geared towards a specific field of study. The combination of history, studying and exploratory fun make EIU a great choice for many students.
20) Texas Woman’s University – Denton, TX
The study abroad programs at TWU can boast having over 25 countries in their roster for students to choose from. Varying in length from a week to a year, there is as much flexibility in duration as there is in location. The school is partnered with the University of Evansville for their acclaimed program at Harlaxton College in the United Kingdom, where students can take part in a semester-long immersive British Studies program. Only an hour north of London, the manor house that serves as the headquarters for the Harlaxton program is an ideal base for exploring the country. Students at TWU have also done semesters abroad in Australia, India, Jordan and South Korea, among other countries.
21) Centre College – Danville, KY
With almost 85% of students taking advantage of CentreTerm, the school is considered one of the top five providers for study abroad in the country. Recent options have included China, Japan, Mexico, France and Northern Ireland, among other countries. The school also organizes academically themed winter and summer trips, which have included studying politics in Vietnam and anthropology in Peru. College faculty join students in the study abroad programs, living on site and sharing their knowledge of the specific regions. No matter where they go, students will discover incredible experiences during their CentreTerms.
22) Wartburg College – Waverly, IA
Though the school provides options for a variety of study abroad programs, Wartburg’s Dier Program in Australia is especially notable. Aimed towards students wanting to explore issues surrounding social justice, the program in Adelaide is linked with the nonprofit Lutheran Community Care. The center helps provide the needy with food, shelter, clothing, care and access to education in the city. There are similar Dier Programs in Senegal and Tanzania, too, so students can blend their studies and volunteer aspirations with a multiple cultures. It’s an eye-opening opportunity for students looking to explore the world.
23) Emory & Henry College – Emory, VA
With the guidance of Emory & Henry, students are able to access 150 different study abroad programs in more than 40 countries via 10 separate organizations. Students have the option of spending a full semester, a summer or a short-term faculty led trip abroad. The latter are themed around a specific topic suited to a particular location, which the students spend ample time studying beforehand. Recent programs have included studying the Holocaust in Europe, art in Italy and language in Peru. These immersive study experiences have proven invaluable to countless students at Emory & Henry.
24) University of Washington – Seattle, WA
There is no shortage of study abroad options at UW, with hundreds of possibilities for travel-hungry students. Under the guidance of faculty living at the overseas study centers, students can study a number of disciplines everywhere from France to Peru. Each of these programs is faculty-designed and geared to make the most of studying within a given environment. Students from any of the three University of Washington campuses can take part in the study abroad programs, too, which makes accessibility an added bonus. No matter where they choose to go, UW students will find going abroad to be a life-changing experience.
25) Wake Forest University – Winston-Salem, NC
Students at Wake Forest have many ways to combine their course of study with travels in a variety of countries. One popular option is to study in Venice, Italy and stay at the Casa Artom, a site that once housed the American Consulate in the city. A resident professor from WFU is on hand to teach classes and generally oversee student life while living in the city. Those wishing to brush up on their Italian will have a chance to immerse themselves in language courses and numerous local festivals. The Venice program is a unique way to see the sights and study in a unique city.
26) Franciscan University of Steubenville – Steubenville, OH
At the Franciscan University of Steubenville, students can craft their own route to studying abroad or go to one of the school’s signature programs in Europe. One option for the latter is to study history at Oxford or, more popular, go to Austria and live in a 14th-century Carthusian monastery. Each year, between 150 and 200 students go on the Austria program each year, making in the largest program that the school offers. While there, classes are taught by FU professors and those majoring in the school’s German Bachelor’s Degree Program have ample opportunities to immerse themselves in the language. Students are able to satisfy their chosen major while exploring all that the Austrian countryside has to offer.
27) Western State Colorado University – Gunnison, CO
What makes WSCU unique is its link with numerous affiliate study abroad providers, which allows students to access academic opportunities all over the world. Students can continue in their usual progress towards a degree as all credit transfers are guaranteed in the process. Among these outside providers is the program in British Studies at Harlaxton College in the United Kingdom, renowned for its immersion into the country’s culture. Short-term programs overseas have included academic work in Prague, Florence and Belize. Whatever major or interests a student may have, they will be able to find a program that suits their needs at WSCU.
28) Emerson College – Boston, MA
Emerson considers studying abroad to be integral to the college experience. The school runs programs in Spain, China, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., each of which is a stellar option. The standout, though, is Emerson’s program in The Netherlands. At Kasteel Well, up to 85 of the college’s students immerse themselves in Dutch culture for a semester while living in a 14th-century medieval castle. It’s a fantastic way to connect the past with the present all while helping students imagine their future.
29) Guilford College – Greensboro, NC
Guilford likes to see their study abroad program as a way to turn a foreign country as a “laboratory for a serious academic and cultural exploration.” The college has three kinds of programs to foster this exploration: faculty-led, faculty-coordinated and affiliate programs. No matter which style of learning environment suits students, they will find the best way to study in a new country. The school has faculty-led programs in China, Germany and Italy, while they provide faculty-coordinated trips to Ghana, Cuba and Mexico. The world is truly at students’ fingertips at Guilford.
30) Baker University – Baldwin City, KS
With programs that allow students to combine international travel with their academic work, Baker has a lot to offer. As well as semester-long programs, the school encourages travel during its January interterm period, when students can take trips alongside faculty. Recent interterm travels have included France, Mexico, Nicaragua and Spain. For longer term, study abroad options, the program’s director is able to custom match students to a variety of possibilities. Whichever route they choose, students are able to gain college credits while experiencing a foreign land
31) Goucher College – Baltimore, MD
As a way to promote internationalism, Goucher requires students to go abroad at least once during their college careers. Whether they go overseas for a few weeks, a summer, a semester or a full year, students learn a lot in their travels. With more than 60 programs in 32 countries, they can find many ways to match their academics with community learning and language studies in a new place. Australia, Africa, Argentina, China and Jordan are only a few of the possible routes that a curious student can take. This emphasis on travel has made Goucher’s program one of the highest ranked in the country.
32) University of Dallas – Irving, TX
Students looking for opportunities to continue their academics overseas should have no problem finding something at the University of Dallas. There are many ways to custom-design studying abroad at the school, but the long-standing cornerstone is their program in Rome. For nearly fifty years, students have been spending semesters at the university’s beautiful 12-acre campus in the southeastern part of the city. While there, they study ancient Rome and the development of European civilization while exploring all that Rome has to offer. In addition to their time in the city, students also take side trips to Greece and Northern Italy to put their studies into a wider context.
33) University of Delaware – Newark, DE
Founded in 1923, the University of Delaware is home to the first study abroad program in the United States. Today, the Institute for Global Studies coordinates over 70 programs each year across a variety of disciplines in a wide range of countries. Students are able to fulfill academic requirements while taking short-term or semester-long courses overseas. On the shorter programs, faculty lead voyages geared towards specific fields of study in locations as diverse as South Africa, Brazil, and India. On the longer programs, students immerse themselves independently into a foreign environment and may choose to refine their second language skills.
34) University of Denver – Denver, CO
The study abroad program at the University of Denver is committed to linking students with the diversity of global cultures. One great way they do this is with the Cherrington Global Scholars initiative, which helps provide financial aid to qualifying students wanting to study overseas. Eliminating the cost barrier is one of the great ways that DU gets their students into one of the 150 programs partnered with the school. These partnerships are placed into one of four categories: Foundational, Language, Specialized and Exchange. This ensures that students are able to customize their experience of travel and study.
35) University of San Diego – San Diego, CA
A lack of choice will never be a problem for a USD student hoping to go abroad. With a staggering 135 programs in 44 different countries, their students can study and travel in every corner of the world. In 2014, the university opened its first permanent location in Madrid, not far from the renowned Prado Museum. There, students can take courses with university faculty and explore all that the city has to offer. Being able to satisfy major requirements while living abroad makes USD a great option for those looking to pair academics and travel.
36) Carleton College – Northfield, MN
The college has maintained a study abroad program four decades, making it one of the more established in the country. With 18 different overseas opportunities, all led by faculty, students can travel to France, Russia, Tanzania and New Zealand, among other countries. Each location is geared towards a specific academic focus, each across disciplines and departments. The school seeks to use study abroad as a way to transfer “The Carleton Experience” into new foreign realms. Having faculty on hand guarantees that students get mind expanding experiences while in their new exotic locale.
37) Worcester Polytechnic Institute – Worcester, MA
Due to its intensive and wide-ranging study abroad program, WPI is considered one of the preeminent schools for doing academic work overseas. With over 40 program centers around the world, students can live and work in Paraguay, Israel, China and Morocco, among other fascinating places. The Global Projects Program fosters both learning and exploration under its study abroad auspices. After taking part, students are prepared for careers in international affairs, law, medicine or public health. Over 65% of WPI students take part in one of these off-campus projects during their college careers.
38) Georgetown University – Washington, D.C.
With over 160 programs in 40 different countries, Georgetown has their bases covered as an institution dedicated to internationalism. The cornerstones of the school’s study abroad program, though, are the properties that they maintain overseas. With campus buildings in Turkey, Qatar and Italy, students can take faculty-led courses and immerse themselves in local culture at the same time. The options for what is being offered at these locations changes each year and visiting academics help keep things in motion all the time. The experience is rewarding for a new class of Georgetown students each and every year.
39) Kalamazoo College – Kalamazoo, MI
As the school’s study abroad site puts it, many students “acquired new perspectives of themselves, their country and the world around them” while overseas. What reason could be better for taking part in their programs? There are 42 different programs in 23 countries and a variety of lengths available to students. Students hoping to go abroad can even get a travel subsidy if they demonstrate financial need. At Kalamazoo, accessing global communities an important part of the college experience.
40) Union College – Schenectady, NY
With over 50 semester-long and three-week “mini-term” opportunities, Union has a wealth of chances for studying abroad. Current options include Belgium, China, Fiji, Greece, Vietnam and many other countries. More than 60% of Union students decide to go abroad, so it is fully part of the school’s culture. College faculty lead the majority of the programs and they are on hand for local guidance as well as instruction. No matter where a student decides to go, Union will make it a life-changing experience.
41) The George Washington University – Washington, D.C.
The study abroad program at The George Washington University has many possibilities for students wanting to learn overseas. The GW Undergraduate Exchange program allows students to pick from 40 different institutions geared towards their interests and majors. The school recommends this option for students wanting to independently immerse themselves into an academic life and culture in a different country. The university also hosts a variety of short-term programs, as well as a handful of designated GW campuses overseas. For the latter, the school offers programs in Chile, England, Madrid, Paris and Shanghai, where students can fulfill their academic progress in foreign environments.
42) Susquehanna University – Selinsgrove, PA
Unlike many schools that have the option of studying abroad, at Susquehanna it is fully integral to the curriculum. Students must satisfy their GO (Global Opportunities) in order to graduate. There are three routes to fulfilling this fantastic requirement: a few weeks with GO Short, a semester-long trip with GO Long or something more flexible with GO Your Own Way. Recent student GO trips have included India, Australia and the Galapagods Islands, among others. Having studying abroad be a key part of the path to a degree makes Susquehanna stand out among other schools.
43) Suffolk University – Suffolk, MA
Through Suffolk’s study abroad programs, interested students can choose from a variety of academic travel options in 30 different countries. The school also has its own campus in Madrid, where students can spend a single semester abroad or even two full years. The program is adaptable to a number of majors and also is great for learning Spanish in an immersion context. Suffolk claims that the emphasis is on experiential learning overseas as much as it is traditional book learning. In the end, students will come away with unforgettable memories.
44) Syracuse University – Syracuse, NY
Though Syracuse is paired with more than 60 affiliates, perhaps the main draws of its study abroad program are the eight centers that the school runs overseas. The locations in Hong Kong, Beijing, Florence, Madrid, London, Santiago, Istanbul and Strasbourg provide many options for curious students. Each center has its own academic director and multiple support staff to help students acclimate into their new homes. Internships, home stays and field studies are also available for interested students through each center. Even better, normal academic progress towards a major can be satisfied while exploring the world.
45) St. Lawrence University – Canton, NY
At St. Lawrence, there are many different semester-long, or even year-long, programs that can suit a variety of student needs. The school claims that over half of their student body decides to do study abroad during their college careers, which testifies to their program’s popularity. There are currently 23 international programs and five domestic programs that students can choose from, including a wonderful excursion to Kenya. Many of these study abroad options also have internships built into them, so students can connect their international interests with future careers. By making links between traveling and work, St. Lawrence has a lot to offer its student body.
46) Dickinson College – Carlisle, PA
For over 50 years, global study has been integral to Dickinson. With nearly 70% of its students, and 40% of its faculty, participating in study abroad programs, going overseas is a large part of the school’s culture. The college supports three forms of study abroad programs – through Dickinson’s own programs, through partners and through affiliates. An emphasis is placed on learning foreign languages, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of social histories of a given country. The importance placed on experiencing other cultures is crucial to the school’s identity as a stellar liberal arts college.
47) Elon University – Elon, NC
The Isabella Cannon Global Education Center at Elon helps link students with more than 100 different study abroad programs. As well as domestic satellite centers in Los Angeles, New York, Alaska and Washington, D.C., Elon maintains three international centers. Whether students choose Florence, London or Costa Rica – or one of the many affiliated programs elsewhere – Elon students have a lot of options. At their own study centers, students take courses with university faculty and are able to explore foreign communities in an immersive context.
48) Goshen College – Goshen, IN
For nearly 50 years, Goshen has been sending its students on study abroad experiences through its unique SST (Study-Service Term) program. Almost 80% of its students participate in the program during their college careers and about 8,000 have participated to date. Rather than shipping students to the standard European capitals, those who take an SST trip go to developing countries like Peru, Tanzania or along the remote Amazon. While there, local immersion and community service are emphasized over merely studying within one’s major. Staying with local families and learning local customs is an experience that Goshen students regularly consider transformative.
49) Butler University – Indianapolis, IN
Butler prides itself on its study abroad programs for a good reason. The university offers over 110 different options for doing academic work in more than 70 countries. Especially notable is the GALA (Global Adventures in the Liberal Arts) program, which lets 20 students spend a semester traveling alongside Butler professors and take courses along the way. Normal progression towards a degree happens en route, with lectures, exams and site-based happening while taking in the sites. The location is different every year – the spring 2016 program was in South Africa and in 2017 it was in the Mediterranean.
50) University of St. Thomas – Saint Paul, MN
A business program in London and a Catholic studies program in Rome are the centerpieces of St. Thomas’ study abroad options. Both are intimate, with core groups of students receiving instruction by the university’s faculty while overseas. Though each city has an academic focus geared specifically towards the place, students also have frequent opportunities for regional field trips. Standard credits and grades will apply during the study abroad time, so making the decision to study abroad will not affect progress towards graduation. Whichever option a student takes, in London or Rome, it will be a life-changing experience.
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Author: Jeff Gitlen