9 Best International Universities for American Students

by Published

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. But don't waste the experience of going to college abroad at any ol' international university. Check out our go-to list of the best international universities for American students.

Whatever subject you wish to pursue, there are degree programs abroad and international colleges for American students 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 international universities for American students, including the top countries to earn your degree abroad, regardless of what field you choose to explore.

Going to college abroad just got easier:

1. University College London — England

degrees abroad in England
Join the masses and say "Cheerio!" to life as an international student in 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. But the kahuna is University College London. It is a popular destination for international students from all over the world, in part because English is used as the medium of education. You know what this means? Full course catalogs will be easily accessible for English language speakers — AKA American students. 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.

Find more colleges in England for American students.

2. Autonomous University of Barcelona — Spain

degrees abroad in spain
Munch on churros con chocolate during your late night study sessions.

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.

Find more colleges in Spain for American students.

3. University of Zurich — Switzerland

cow in swiss field
Get mooovin' to Switzerland for low cost tuition in Europe

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.

Find more colleges in Switzerland for American students.

4. University of Melbourne — Australia

girl on beach with backpack
Bookbags AND beaches? Oh heck yeah!

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.

Find more colleges in Australia for American students.

5. University of Amsterdam — Netherlands 

degrees in the netherlands
It's easy to go "dutch" on college tuition with your parents — school in the Netherlands is affordable!

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. 

Find more colleges in the Netherlands for American students.

6. Tsinghua University — China

chinese degrees abroad
Universities in China are the underdog of amazing countries for international students.

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!

Find more colleges in China for American students.

7. Technical University of Munich — Germany

degrees abroad in germany
Did you know you can find a free college in Germany? Disclaimer: not at Cinderella's castle though.

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!

Find more colleges in Germany for American students.

8. University of Tokyo — Japan


Sakura or cherry blossoms season in Japan
Earn your degree abroad in Japan, and uncover what lies beneath the surface

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. 

Find more colleges in Japan for American students.

9. École Normale Supérieure — France 

degrees abroad france
Vous allez l'adorer life as an international student in 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.

Find more colleges in France for American students.

Still not convinced these are the best international universities for American students?

Check out GoAbroad’s full directory of degree programs located all over the world to find the perfect destination for going to college abroad. You're bound to find something in there!

Keep reading: 5 things nobody tells you about getting a degree abroad