Studying abroad can be one of the most beneficial aspects to a person’s education. Being able to experience life in another country will give you a whole new view of the world. You have the opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture, experiencing its customs, traditions and way of life, in addition to seeing the world through different eyes. Studying abroad also can give you a leg up when applying for employment or graduate school. Your experience can show employers and grad school admissions officers your willingness to accept new challenges and ability to adapt to new situations. There are many countries which provide excellent educational opportunities abroad. Research shows the following to be five of the best places to study abroad in 2015.
Switzerland is known worldwide for its educational excellence. Its educators and universities have earned some of the highest rankings and best reputations. Class sizes are relatively small and a wide variety of research opportunities and practical courses are available. Zurich has four official languages, with the most often used being German (used by 75% of the population) and French (used by 20% of the population). The city provides a host of cultural opportunities and experiences including art galleries, cabarets, historical squares, museums, and many more. The city sits at the mouth of Lake Zurich and the Limmat River and is set against the backdrop of the Swiss Alps. There are many opportunities for students to explore the countryside as well as the city while conducting their studies.
Tokyo is a vast metropolis of over 13 million people, providing a unique and exciting experience for students studying abroad. Even though the city is crowded and congested, it is extremely safe and clean. There are still vestiges of the past which can be found if one looks for them, making the city a surprising contrast of modern commerce, technology and history. In 2014, the Center for World University Rankings named the University of Tokyo as the best university in the Asia-Pacific region and 13th globally. Tokyo is actually home to several internationally ranked universities, which gives students a variety of choices when considering Tokyo as their study abroad destination. Tokyo offers an extensive variety of cultural experiences including museums, restaurants, shrines, gardens, art galleries, and so much more.
Paris has been ranked as one of the best places to study abroad for several years running. Paris has been a center of education and learning since the “Age of Enlightenment” in the 18th century. There are several highly ranked institutions of learning throughout the city attended by students from all over the world. Paris is an experience unlike any other. The Seine River runs through the city, dividing it into what are known as the Right Bank and Left Bank, which each have their own distinct personalities. The Right Bank is the center of the city’s political, economical and artistic districts while the Left Bank is known for its intellectual and cultural offerings. From the architectural wonders of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, to the glamor of Fashion Week, the mystery of the underground Catacombs of Paris containing over 6 million skulls and bones, and the nostalgic charm of quaint small bookstores which herald the times of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Paris has something for everyone. The cost of living in Paris is on the upper end of the scale, but low tuition rates contribute a great deal to offsetting it.
Seoul is probably not one of the first choices that come to mind when thinking of the best places to study abroad, but it is actually a very viable option. The QS World University Rankings, which is the most trusted ranking in the world for universities, names Seoul within its top 10 study abroad destinations for 2015. Korean universities are clamoring for foreign students and are relatively inexpensive with annual tuition and housing averaging at less than $7,000. In addition to quality education at an inexpensive price, Seoul offers students almost infinite possibilities for experiencing its culture, history, and contemporary life which integrates tradition in unique ways. As the capital city of South Korea, Seoul is teeming with life and can be a bit overwhelming but offers respite in the form of temples, parks, and even hidden oases such as the Tomb of Prince Yangnyeong, which won’t be found on any tourist map. For students wanting to be completely immersed in another culture, Seoul may be just the ticket.
Munich is a moderately sized city of 1.5 million people located in Germany’s southern state of Bavaria. It is the third largest city in Germany and probably most well known as the host of the annual Ocktoberfest celebration, but it has much more to offer. It is, in fact, one of Europe’s leading educational and research centers with two of only three German universities granted “Elite” status. As such, they are able to attract significant funding for research in various fields. Munich is also home to the headquarters of the Max Planck Society, whose scientists have been awarded 32 Nobel Prizes. Cultural experiences are to be found everywhere. There are several prominent museums to explore as well as a thriving arts scene offering world-class theater and opera. Historical sites, English gardens, and even castles and palaces can be visited without even leaving the city. The city offers many free public services as well as a public transportation system which is one of the most efficient in the world. Living expenses in Munich are very reasonable compared to other Western European cities and student life can be very affordable, especially as German universities do not charge tuition fees. That’s right, $0 tuition.
If you or someone you know is considering studying abroad in 2015, there are many places and programs available. Whether it is for a summer, a semester, a year or longer, an international education is something that should not be missed if at all possible.
Amber Woods is a newbie blogger from Chicago. She’s creative, passionate about learning new things, and enjoys writing about education in an easy-to-understand manner. Check out the world’s most beautiful college campuses infographic.