Top 10 Destinations for a Semester Abroad
Get your applications ready, find your passport and pack your bags because we’ve listed the best countries for a semester abroad! While your main objective is to attend school, this doesn’t mean you can’t have the time of your life while you’re away. These destinations are famous among students for being travel-friendly, they won’t destroy your budget and will keep you busy every moment you’re not spending in class or studying.
1. Spain (Europe)
With its laid-back vibe, a reputation for the wildest fiestas and a vibrant food culture, Spain is regarded as one of the best-value destinations in Europe for a semester abroad. Although it aims to attract international students by offering the possibility to take classes in English, many will opt for this destination to learn Spanish, the third most spoken language in the world. Let yourself be charmed by Spain’s rich art and cultural scene or just savour the flavours of free tapas to accompany your glass of sangria.
Best cities to study in Spain: Almería, Valencia, Granada, Salamanca and Sevilla
2. France (Europe)
The romanticism of the French language (not to mention its inhabitants) is enough to apply immediately for a semester in France. As a student, you get to benefit from major discounts ranging from your transportation to museum entrance and everything in between. With France being so conveniently located in the centre of Western Europe, grab some croissants and some cheese and hop on the next bullet train (TGV) for a weekend escapade in any of its neighbouring countries.
Top student-friendly cities of France (other than Paris): Aix-en-Provence, Montpellier, Lille, Bordeaux and Grenoble
3. Taiwan (Asia)
Often forgotten, the island of Taiwan is a gem waiting to be uncovered. Packed with modern cities surrounded by lush landscape and mountains, Taiwan is attracting more and more international students. Aside from learning Mandarin, for which you can receive substantial scholarships, discover the night markets, the hot springs and the welcoming culture that makes Taiwan such a captivating destination. Shaped by a strong and burgeoning tech industry, Taiwanese universities also offer very competitive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs.
Most popular student cities in Taiwan: Taipei, Taichung, Hsinchu City and Tainan City
4. Argentina (South America)
With so many natural wonders to admire such as Iguazu Falls, Glacier National Park or Patagonia, it would be tempting to apply at an Argentinian university just to explore this vast country instead of actually studying. Since you will be surrounded by Latin countries, use this experience as an opportunity for a complete Spanish immersion. You will quickly realize that, unlike other parts of the world, Spanish is the go-to language, even among foreign exchange students. Don’t forget to take advantage of the student discounts offered for domestic flights to visit Argentina’s European-influenced cities, discover the wine country or just indulge in their national dish, Asado.
Favourite cities to study in Argentina: Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Santiago del Estero
5. Mexico (North America)
Although some regions of Mexico have a travel advisory and you need to stay updated with the current situation in prevision of your semester abroad, you’ll find some of the top universities in Latin America. Join the best beach parties in Cancun, visit the legendary Mayan ruins of Tulum and explore the phenomenal underwater ecosystem of Playa del Carmen during your time off. Becoming fluent in Spanish while leaving winter behind for a typical holiday destination… isn’t that a good enough excuse to pick Mexico?
Most popular cities to study in Mexico: Mexico City, Oaxaca, Playa del Carmen, Mazatlán and Guadalajara
6. Malaysia (Southeast Asia)
Studying in a multicultural Asian country without the constraint of a language barrier is not only possible, but also affordable. Many leading global universities have opened Malaysian branches to offer world-class education. Combined with lower tuition fees than their western alma mater, high quality accommodation in vibrant metropolis and a low-cost of living, Malaysia is a strong contender for international students. Additionally, with Kuala Lumpur being the home of AirAsia, the low-cost airline deserving most of Asia, you are easily connected to almost every Asian country. There’s even a very cheap direct flight to the Maldives!
Best cities to study in Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kuching and Johor
7. Australia (Oceania)
The land down under is renowned for its easygoing culture, its funny accent, its exotic wildlife and its unique landscape of beaches, deserts, mountains, valleys and paradise islands. Students moving to Australia for a semester abroad might even be tempted to extend their stay or return at the end of their degree on a working holiday visa. With a quality of life so similar to home, it is easy to understand why!
Top cities for students: Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide
8. South Korea (Asia)
In the country that brought us Gangnam Style, Samsung and Korean BBQ, you will be greeted by highly modern infrastructures contrasting with traditional style. South Korea is at the forefront of technology and offers a high-quality education. Exchange students have the opportunity to enroll in Korean language classes as part of their curriculum, but also benefit from classes provided in English. The younger generation of Koreans is eager to make new international friends and will show you the bustling student scene with parties until the sun comes up and markets where you will shop until you drop.
Best cities to discover as a student: Seoul, Busan, Daegu and Gyeongsan
9. South Africa (Africa)
Doing a semester abroad in South Africa might prove to be more challenging, but it’s guaranteed to be a highly rewarding adventure. Still considered a developing country, South Africa welcomes a very diverse and multicultural student community at its top-rated universities. With a favourable exchange rate, it is an affordable option for students. Don’t miss the chance to take part in a safari at Kruger National Park or go on a road trip on the Garden Route.
Get a unique study abroad experience in: Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Johannesburg, and Port Elizabeth
10. Germany (Europe)
Since 2014, Germany offers free tuition at all public universities to every student, even international students! No wonder it’s one of the most popular destinations for doing a semester abroad. Not only can you benefit from a high-quality education that is recognized worldwide, you also have the possibility to study in English and have access to a large selection of scholarships. Brush up your German skills by exploring small towns where you’ll discover astonishing castles and taste some of the best beer in the world.
Favourite cities to study: Frankfurt, Leipzig, Hamburg, Berlin and Heidelberg
Studying abroad will undoubtedly spark your wanderlust and make you fall in love with travelling. Such a life-changing experience will open your mind to the rest of the world and leave you with a thirst to discover even more wonderful destinations. Before your departure, make sure to contact your travel insurance representative to get an affordable and comprehensive coverage designed specifically for students.
Article by Nomad Junkies team