Ethiopia is the oldest nation in Africa, and the only one on the continent that has not been colonized by Europeans. Believed by some to be the birthplace of mankind, Ethiopia is an amazingly diverse place with a landscape and history like no other, and food that is seriously on a whole other level. Not accessible to most mainstream tourists, study abroad in Ethiopia is best for those that want to study in a place that is the definition of “off the beaten path”.
When choosing to study abroad in Ethiopia, keep in mind that it is likely the only place you’ll be able to study in is the capital. However, don’t view this as a disadvantage, but rather as an opportunity to study in the most important city in eastern Africa, where some of the region’s most important decisions are made!
Addis Ababa. The biggest city in the country, Addis Ababa is located in the center of Ethiopia and has a population of about 3.3 million. It is home to many international missions and embassies, making it one of the most important places for diplomacy in the region. Addis Ababa features plenty of interesting sights for students to explore, like the Ethiopian National Museum, where students can learn how Ethiopia became the only country in Africa to resist foreign colonization, Africa Hall, where all Ethiopian governmental decisions take place, and the Anwar Mosque, the largest market on the continent!
Study Abroad in Ethiopia
Most study abroad programs in Ethiopia have at least some ingrained aspect of history, given the region’s standing as the birthplace of mankind and its resistance to foreign colonization. Keep in mind that these events are critical in understanding how history has played out on a global scale and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
History. Since Ethiopia has such a unique history, most study abroad programs will provide the opportunity to take some of the best history courses on the planet. Students will be able to explore some of the oldest known human artifacts and empires, and come to understand how Ethiopia resisted European colonization during the 18th century while attending Addis Ababa University.
Language. If you really want your study abroad program in Ethiopia to be a massive resume builder or you are hoping to get into the field of international relations, taking an Ethiopian language course can really take your education to the next level. Ethiopia has two main languages: Oromo and Amharic. Courses in both these languages are available at most academic institutions, although Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia, so it’s recommended that students prioritize taking it.
Multi-Subject Programs. Another option for study abroad in Ethiopia is to participate in multi-subject, short-term programs. These programs allow students to focus on a selection of specific fields, such as agriculture, health, business, and engineering, which are instructed in a variety of settings. Multi-course programs are a great way to study in Ethiopia for students who want to get away from stereotypical lecture learning, and instead get out into Ethiopia through cultural and historical excursions, visits to markets, and trips to both non-governmental and governmental organizations.
Most courses are taught in English in Ethiopia, but be sure to check with your study abroad program provider or host university before selecting your courses.
Scholarships & Costs
Since most study abroad programs to Ethiopia are through scholarships, students can keep costs very low during their time abroad. The only thing the students should plan on that can cost a bit of extra money is the flight to and from Ethiopia, and any extra independent trips they want to do on their own around the country. The actual cost of things in Ethiopia is pretty negligible. For example a meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs about three dollars, while a Coke is only 60 cents.
There are dozens of scholarships available to students to decide to study abroad in Ethiopia, the most popular one being the Gilman International Scholarship. Check out GoAbroad’s directory of scholarships for study abroad in Ethiopia to learn more about financial aid opportunities.
Accommodation & Visas
As with most study abroad programs around the world, housing will be pre-arranged for students prior to their arrival in Ethiopia by program providers or host universities. Some study abroad programs in Ethiopia provide students with accommodation in guest houses, in which case transportation to classes, meals, and excursions may or may not be included. In other programs, students will live in a budget student residence or bed and breakfast. Lastly, most study abroad programs in Ethiopia also offer students the chance to stay with a local host family, which will allow students to have the most immersive experience during their program.
For United States citizens, obtaining a tourist visa upon arrival in Ethiopia is easy. In general, there are a few things that you need to do before departing your home country. Make sure you have a valid passport, get at least two copies of passport sized photos, have $20 dollars in cash at hand, and fill out an Ethiopian tourist visa form. For all other visas, your study abroad program provider or host university should help facilitate the process for you, but in most cases a tourist visa for three months will do the trick for study abroad in Ethiopia.
Benefits & Challenges
Resume. Not only does studying in Ethiopia give you a once in a lifetime experience, it will take your resume to the next level in terms of competitiveness. When you eventually attempt to get a job, how many of your peers will be able to say that they studied in Ethiopia? Not many, that is for sure.
History. If you’re a history nerd, Ethiopia is right up your alley. If you’re not, then you will become one in Ethiopia! One of the oldest countries in the world, Ethiopia boasts a history full of defiance to foreigners, various empire forging, and the site of the oldest human fossil in the world.
Volunteer Opportunities. Most study abroad programs in Ethiopia give students the chance to volunteer with local organizations that offer a variety of projects, ranging from teaching English to childcare.