In generations past, study abroad followed a specific formula. The original international academic programs were designed by faculty with lofty academic goals. “Junior year in Paris” was the epitome of old-school study abroad; it required a few years of prerequisites and a bank full of money, and you were on your way.
Today, the options for study abroad have expanded far beyond the City of Lights.
Now, instead of universities telling students where, when, and why to go, study abroad is driven by the students and by program providers who want to make their customers happy! Even faculty today are motivated by student evaluations, and their study programs have gotten more innovative and creative.
New needs of the market have driven what types of programs are being created. Many students want to travel to multiple places, they want experiential learning for their resume, they want adventure, they want to volunteer and feel good about it, and they want some fun as well. Here are a few particularly killer study abroad programs that do most or all of that.
AUIP- Antarctica. Journey to the fragile continent in this unique opportunity to study in the coldest, windiest, and most remote of places on Earth. The American Universities International Programs is one of the few organizations that offer study abroad programs in Antarctica, the only remaining wilderness frontier in the world. You can’t get more off-the-beaten-track than this!
Marine Biology in the Bahamas- Brockport SUNY. The Bahamas is the perfect place to study marine biology. Its waters off of the country’s islands, islets and cays — all 3,000 of them! — are the habitat of incredibly diverse marine wildlife. Of course, the fact that it’s a vacation paradise doesn’t hurt either. The College at Brockport of the State University of New York offers field studies in marine biology and geology.
Himalayan Forests- Bhutan- SFS. Explore Bhutan in the summer through The School for Field Studies, and bask in the grandeur of the Himalaya and its watersheds. The program offers students the experience of a lifetime trekking through biodiverse lush valleys full of plants and wildlife. Bhutan is pretty close to Shangri La! It issues a limited number of visas every year and is among world travelers’ ultimate destinations.
Semester in Fiji- Global Links. Fiji is a tropical paradise, so naturally, study abroad would be hot here! GlobaLinks offers quality academic programs around the world. The University of South Pacific provides the perfect backdrop for studying the course of your choice while enjoying the surf, sand, and sea.
Film and Media Bollywood Internship India Study Abroad Center. Experiential learning is at the core of India Study Abroad Center’s Film and Media Bollywood Internship program. Mumbai presents the perfect backdrop for exploring the world of cinema, from observing movie shoots to meeting with Bollywood stars and other film professionals.
Summer in Morocco – ISA. Spend the summer studying the Arabic language and culture in Morocco, at the Moulay Ismail University through International Studies Abroad. Morocco is not only the westernmost country in continental Africa, but also the westernmost Islamic country in the world.
Leap Year- Study, Treks, and Internships India & Latin America. Join other students in a trek through India or Latin America in LeapNow’s Study, Treks, and Internships in India and Latin America. This unique experience focuses on language immersion, social work, contemplative retreats, and short-term internships.
Wildlife Film School- Beyond Borders Film School. Stake out wildlife at Plettenberg Bay in South Africa, and gather enough material to make your own nature documentary through Beyond Borders Film School. Before you go out in the field, though, you will learn the basics of production, and pre- and post-production, in a cutting-edge classroom setting with the guidance of professional wildlife filmmakers.
Unique Learning Approach
Semester at Sea. Study aboard a converted cruise ship complete with plenty of amenities. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a party cruise, though — a solid academic program is combined with off-ship excursions in several countries. As you might imagine, an ocean trip around the world also attracts plenty of amazing professors!
UpWithPeople. Inspiring audiences through music is the focus of Up with People’s Global Education Program, which focuses on building communication and leadership skills in its performers. If you want to bridge cultural gaps and lay down the foundation for world peace, participating in Up with People’s musical performances offer the perfect experience.
EMU Cultural History Tours. Not just another multi-country, multi-city program, EMU is the granddaddy of them all. Eastern Michigan University brings students across Europe on a 71-day cultural history tour, from the winding city streets of London to historic alleys of Istanbul. Experienced faculty are with you every step of the way through 32 cities in 10 countries, including England, Scotland, Germany, Italy, Greece and Turkey.
SeaMester. SeaMester conducts its unique brand of education on two-masted sailing vessels. The ship itself is a vehicle for your education where you are part of the class and the crew! This is a combination of classes in the field, along with intense, energetic, hands-on education like no other.
Unique European Options
British American Drama Academy Programs. Study acting and theater in the western hemispheres’ center of the craft! Since its founding in 1984, the British American Drama Academy has been teaching classical theater with distinguished English actors and directors through its undergraduate London Theatre Program and Shakespeare Program.
Semester in Europe — 12 Countries One Semester! Only a handful of study abroad programs offer the chance to study in 12 countries and 25 cities in a single semester. Global Learning Semesters has one such program: Semester in Europe. Stroll down the streets of Athens, Paris and Prague; learn about business and art in Florence, Venice and Rome; and take home a piece of history from other cities that have helped shape the Western world.
Business in the Arts- Fringe Festival ASA. The business side of the arts is often neglected. Not anymore, thanks to Academic Studies Abroad. The program, Business in the Arts and Edinburgh Festival Fringe, aims to give students access to the business and planning that goes into major productions. The Fringe Festival is one of the wildest, strangest, coolest and most eclectic festivals in the world. Add it to your list!
MBA and Work in London- Mountbatten. If you are on the final leg of your studies in business, the Mountbatten Institute’s Live, Work and Study in London program might be ideal for you. Where else can you find a study abroad program that guides a participant through an MBA while working in the finance, accounting, or human resources department of a London company?
These are a handful of the amazing study abroad experiences available. If you know any other cool ones worth mentioning, tell us about them!