Cool Countries

Students’ top choices for study abroad

Once you’ve made the decision to study abroad, you’ll have to choose where you want to go. Some students opt for a country where they have family or where their ancestors lived. Others prefer one that has a culture of interest or a language they want to learn. Some of the most popular countries for studying abroad include:

France

The art, the food, the wine, the romance … how could anyone resist? From the Alps to the French Riviera, the variety of France’s natural terrain is stunning. When you add in the cultural behemoth that is the city of Paris, it should come as no surprise that college students from around the world flock to France. Many American colleges and universities are partnered with a school in France, which can make transferring credits as easy as pâté en croûte (that’s French for pie).

Spain

Located at the southwest tip of Europe, Spain has been influenced by both European and African culture, and the result is a nation like no other. Barcelona and Madrid offer students the chance to study at a world-class college or university within walking distance of some of the most breathtaking architecture and museums in the world. If you’re still not convinced, consider this: There’s probably no group in the world that parties harder than the Spaniards. Bars open at midnight and bands go on at two o’clock in the morning! Every afternoon, the entire country takes part in a student-friendly way to beat the mid-afternoon blahs: the nap.

England

For many students interested in studying abroad, England is the first place that comes to mind. Few regret their decision to make it their home for a semester or two. Until you arrive, you can’t get a true sense of the historical importance of London. Indeed, it is a centerpiece of Western civilization, as well as one of the most modern and fast-paced cities anywhere in the world today. Concerned about the quality of education? Two words for you: Oxford and Cambridge. The Brits know a thing or two about learning.

Italy

Many scholars consider Italy, rich with relics of the Roman Empire, to be the cradle of Western civilization. Cities like Rome, Venice and Florence seamlessly blend beautiful ancient architecture with modern marvels and high culture. And, of course, the food’s pretty good.

Australia

Apart from England, Australia is your best option for studying abroad without having to learn a new language (and the skies are a lot sunnier, too!). It’s also just about the farthest you can get from the United States and still be on Earth. When you’re Down Under, be sure to visit world-class cities like Sydney and Melbourne. Also, don’t forget to check if the toilets really do flush in the opposite direction.

Japan

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in a culture that’s entirely novel, consider studying in Japan. Its rich history is known by very few Westerners, and perhaps even fewer understand just how this tiny country with a huge population became such an economic powerhouse. If you think New York City is the city that never sleeps, you’ve obviously never been to Tokyo at night.

Thailand

Most college students, world leaders in dirty jokes, know of Thailand’s capital city (Bangkok), but few know much more about this Southeast Asian nation. If you ever tire of Bangkok’s bustling markets and renowned nightlife, you can always unwind on what many consider to be the world’s most beautiful beaches. Or, you know, you could do some schoolwork.

Brazil

Brazil is a huge country, but many college students choose to congregate in São Paulo. It’s the most populous city in the Southern Hemisphere, with over 11 million residents. Brazilian food, art, music and religion are a mix of many influences, including the indigenous people and settlers from Europe and Asia (most notably the Portuguese, whose language is spoken in Brazil). Those with a soft spot for nature will love the fact that much of Brazil is blanketed by the Amazon rain forest, which is home to an estimated 15,000 species.

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