While spending a semester abroad can be an amazing experience, summer is an equally fun and rewarding time to go abroad. It can also be the perfect solution if your work schedule and course load make going abroad for a whole semester unfeasible. Summer programs vary greatly—with some you’ll take a class or two, others are internship-oriented, and some are focused on volunteer work. Whatever your preference, one decision you will definitely have to make is where to go. So what are the best locations for studying abroad in the summer?
- London, England: The summer weather in London is great, and of course going to an English-speaking country makes your cultural transition easier. Not only is London packed with historical sites and great museums (many which offer student discounts) but it is also known for the array of famous music festivals in the summer.
- Brazil: If you’re looking to explore South or Latin America, Brazil is a great option. The tropical weather and nightlife will make it feel like a vacation, and the prices in Rio de Janiero make it easy to stick to a student’s budget
- Australia: Yes, summer in the U.S. is winter in Australia, but you won’t have to worry about snowstorms. The weather is still nice enough for surfing, and it’s cool enough to explore the Australian outback, while enjoying non-tourist season rates.
- Rome, Italy: Between the art, architecture, and cuisine, Rome has endless opportunities to explore and enjoy a new culture. The city also provides a great base location to explore the rest of Italy and Europe from if you’re looking to travel
- Madrid, Spain: Many college students have at least some experience in Spanish, and there is no better way to test your skills than trying to communicate in another country. Madrid is also home to many well-established exchange programs.
- Buenos Aires, Argentina: Buenos Aires is another location to improve your Spanish skills if you’re more interested in South America than Europe. Argentina has a mix of literary history and modern nightlife.
- Japan: if you’re interested in modern and ancient culture, Japan is the perfect place. You can save money if you’re willing to help teach English while you’re abroad. Business majors will benefit from the opportunity as Japan is a major player in many markets.
- India: Exotic and unique, India will provide an opportunity for total immersion in a new, exciting culture. Because of the country’s history, many people speak at least some English, so don’t let the fear of another language hold you back.
- Vienna, Austria: According to many sources, Vienna is the cultural capitol of Europe. It provides a mix of east and west culture and is full of World War II history.
- Edinburgh, Scotland: Filled with castles and jaw-dropping scenery, Scotland is an amazing place to study. The people are known as welcoming and inviting and of course Harry Potter fans will enjoy the opportunity to visit the hometown of J.K. Rowling
Of course, the choice of where to spend your summer can be extremely difficult. Any experience is sure to be rewarding, but in order to get the most out of going abroad, it is important to think carefully about your location. Think about factors like weather, living costs, and whether you are looking to travel to other places while you’re abroad. For instance, going somewhere in Europe will make exploring other countries a more viable option than if you went to Australia. Do you speak a second language or are you looking to learn one? Or maybe you would be most comfortable in an English-speaking country. Finally, think about what you’re really looking to gain from this experience, whether it’s discovering a totally different culture, improving your language skills, resume-building experience, or connecting with your ancestors’ home.
Photo credit: isawnyu