9 Best Countries to Earn Your Degree Abroad

by Dominic James Fusco

Thinking about going all in for your international education? Earning a full degree abroad at a foreign university is undoubtedly a large commitment, but one that will pay off in equal measure. An international degree program will give you the opportunity to break out of your comfort zone, learn another language, and undergo total cultural immersion in life abroad.

University of Cambridge: King's College

University of Cambridge: King's College

Photo credit to Aleksandra Vasic

Whatever subject you wish to pursue, there are degree programs abroad in all shapes and sizes to fit your interests and goals; as such, it’s important to spend a considerable amount of time researching and weighing your options to decide which path feels like the right one for you. Different countries and universities have different specialties and education systems, but the following is a list of the best countries to earn your degree abroad, regardless of what field you choose to explore.

England

England is quite a no-brainer. England has some of the oldest and best universities in the world, including Oxford, Cambridge, and Imperial College London. It is a popular study abroad destination for students from all over the world in part because English is used as the medium of education, which means full course catalogs will be easily accessible for English language speakers. Though the British Isles are small, England has been one of the most influential countries throughout all of global history, and its emphasis on higher education is a large part of why!

Spain

Spanish is a common second language that many university students wish to pursue internationally, and where better to earn a degree in Spanish abroad than in its homeland? Spain has a vibrant, youthful culture that will welcome you with long, sunny days, amidst a Mediterranean climate, paired with even longer nights out on the town. The Spanish may lead a laid-back lifestyle, but don’t think for a second that they use it as an excuse to slack in their studies. From Barcelona to Madrid, Spain boasts some of the most prestigious schools on the continent.

Switzerland

High up in the Alps, Switzerland has long worn its reputation of a neutral, peace-loving nation with pride. If you are interested in earning a degree in any field within the international sphere, ranging anywhere from global economics to international relations, then Switzerland is the place to be. Although it is a remote mountain country, Switzerland is home to a huge amount of international organizations, including the United Nations and the Red Cross, and it also boasts two of the most influential economic hubs in the world, both Zurich and Geneva.

The Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road

Photo credit to Xixing Jing

Australia

Way down under in Oceania, Australia sits pretty as a regional giant in just about every area of culture, economics, politics, and entertainment. The Aussies have an adventurous spirit and welcome international travelers with open arms, a fact made all the more sweet by its outstanding education system. The University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, and Australian National University all stand among the top 50 ranked schools on the planet.

Netherlands 

Like Switzerland, the Netherlands is a small European country with a huge global influence across many different spheres. In cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, and the Hague, students will discover thriving urban environments marked by a friendly local culture; in fact, the UN once ranked the Netherlands as the fourth happiest country in the world! The Dutch have long boasted a successful national character, and earning your degree abroad in the Netherlands will be your chance to begin to understand how and why. 

China

Our first Asian country on the list, China has rapidly developed over the past few decades and now hosts one of the most respected higher education systems in the world. While extremely competitive to get into (because of its swelling population there are currently far more eligible Chinese students than spots available at local universities), there are many degree programs in China that are available to international students, thanks to a number of global partnerships throughout the country. Earning a degree in Mandarin in China, or simply learning some basic Mandarin, can be a huge asset in the 21st century. Degree programs in China can be your opportunity to embark on a truly rewarding adventure, which will take you back to ancient times and propel you into the future all within the same semester!

Germany

Following a century of war and despair, Germany has risen anew to become one of the most important countries in the world order. The Germans have an efficient, hard-working culture that continuously makes them world leaders in scientific and cultural innovation. Cities like Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, and Frankfurt are true educational hubs, and each one provides an extremely enriching environment for international degree programs. Not to mention German is becoming an increasingly important language for business across the world!

Sakura or cherry blossoms season.

Sakura or cherry blossoms season in Kyoto, Japan

Photo credit to Tangerine Trubiano

Japan

If you have never been to Japan then brace yourself, this small island nation with the planet’s third largest economy can at times feel like a world of its own! Japan has managed to withstand the conforming pressures of mainstream globalism, holding on to a very unique culture that has roots in both tradition and modernity. It will be important to learn Japanese if you intend to earn your degree abroad in Japan, as this will make your educational experience and cultural immersion ten times more rewarding, and beneficial to your future career too. 

France 

As we began this list with England, it would be fitting to end with France. The two nations have always carried on a sort of national rivalry, education of which has been no small part. In cities like Paris, Lyon, and Marseille, you will find world class universities amidst one of Europe’s truly incredible cultures. It is easy to romanticize about spending a few years earning your degree abroad in France, as with everywhere else on this list, but it is up to you if you can actually make the leap.

If you aren’t convinced you’ve found the best country for you to earn your degree abroad in, check out GoAbroad’s full directory of degree programs located all over the world.