Is your college life becoming a drag? Are you finding it really hard to stay awake in classes? Have parties on campus become just meh? Instead of deciding that college sucks and packing it all in, why not sign up to study abroad for a while? You’ll be surprised at how many opportunities are out there to explore another country and get college credit at the same time. Not only that, it’s been proven time and time again that studying abroad makes you a better person: You become more independent, more adaptable to change, and more tolerant of difference. You may even save money because tuition fees aren’t as expensive in some countries as in your home country. Not to mention studying abroad can give your resume some serious international cred!
Where do you want to study abroad? What are the most popular places to study abroad? How about spending a summer in Spain? What about a semester exploring the outback in Australia? A whole academic year in China? A J-term or Maymester in the UK? Stop dreaming and start doing. Don’t quit reading!
GoAbroad’s amazing community of users have spoken, predicting the top trending and most popular destinations for international study experiences. Here are the world’s best places to study abroad in 2018.
1. South Korea
K-pop AND kimchi?! What more could you want? South Korea is #1 on the list of top countries to study abroad in 2018. This country is famous for Seoul-ful city life, futuristic technology, mountainous landscapes, beaches, temples, and cherry blossoms. Students can choose to study in the capital, Seoul, or in smaller cities, like Daegu and Chuncheon. Popular courses include the Korean language, computer science, international business, and Asian studies.
Recommended program: Study in South Korea with USAC
Japan remains one of the top places to study abroad because it’s so darn unique. Because it was so isolated for much of its history, it’s developed a distinctive culture that’s difficult to copy. It can’t be topped when it comes to the Japanese language and culture (like perfecting the art of sado or tea ceremony), science, technology, or global business and innovation. The best places to study abroad in Japan include cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka. Pro tip: always say “Yes” to the food, even when it looks weird or you don’t know what it is. Just trust us. You’ll love it.
Recommended program: Learn Japanese in Tokyo with KCP International
Which country is the best to study abroad? Australia is a strong contender, and definitely leads the pack when it comes to ancient indigenous culture, exotic flora and fauna not found anywhere else on the planet, and out-of-this-world landscapes. Studying in Straya is popular with international students because of its excellent universities and quality of life (the cute, cuddly koalas help too). Top study abroad locations in Oz include Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Cairns, and Sydney.
Recommended program: Study in Sydney with ISA
GoAbroad users think Spain is one of the best countries for study abroad. And why wouldn’t they?! Where else in Europe can you get lots of sunshine, distinctive architecture, tomato fighting, and a multi-kilometer pilgrimage walk? And that’s before we even scratch the surface of Spain’s amazing food culture (una mas churro, por favor!). Spain is also one of the top countries for study abroad for language geeks because it’s the homeland of español, one of the most romantic languages in the world. Study in uber-cool cities like Barcelona or keep it local in smaller yet distinctive cities like Sevilla or Salamanca.
Recommended program: Study in Granada with Sol Education Abroad
Italia, you had me at gelato! Who doesn’t dream of having a feast at lunch or (let’s be real—and) dinner and strolling through piazzas with a cone in hand? Food aside, Italy is one of the most unique places to study abroad. Rome is popular with history and international business majors, Florence with art students, and Milan with fashionistas. In your downtime, perfect the art of pasta making and learn to say more than Ciao! from a local!
Recommended program: Study in Rome, Florence, or Perugia with CISabroad
Why not study in one of the world’s superpowers? China remains one of the most popular places to study abroad in 2018. It’s home to a centuries-old culture, massive cities, diverse landscapes, and an ever expanding number of study abroad opportunities. Choose to study abroad in hotbeds like Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong or keep it simple in smaller towns like Chengdu and Kunming. Although most classes at top-notch universities are taught in Mandarin, many others, such as Tsinghua or Fudan, also offer international programs taught in English. Note: You probably won’t have pandas as classmates. Sorry.
Recommended program: Learn Chinese in China with GAC
Did you know that you can still go to university for free (well, almost free) in Germany? Because of its reputation for incredibly low tuition fees, Germany remains one of the top countries for study abroad. Study international business in Frankfurt, humanities in world famous college town, Heidelberg, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) at universities across the country. In your free time, be sure to check out Deutschland’s famous spooky forests, Cinderella castles, urban art, and vibrant food scene!
Recommended program: Study abroad in Germany with IES Abroad
8. United States
Where on the planet can you find so many college towns and prestigious universities? The US is one of the world’s best places to study abroad because there are so many opps for international students across its 50 states. From down South to up North to the middle of the Pacific, you’re bound to find a home away from home in the States. Get ready to pony up and share a dorm room with your next bff!
Recommended program: Study in the US at Boston University
9. United Kingdom
What makes the UK one of the world’s best places to study abroad? Drizzly weather aside, Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland) and Northern Ireland are second to none when it comes to top notch tertiary education. Channel your inner Hogwarts’ fantasies at ancient universities like Scotland’s University of St Andrews and England’s Oxbridge campuses. Have a “wale” of a time in student-friendly cities like Cardiff and Bangor or beat the books in Gaelic capital, Belfast.
Recommended program: Study in Wales at Bangor University
Grab your brollie—you’re heading to good ole England to study! This European powerhouse is no stranger to excellent academia, or top lists of places to study abroad. After all, it’s the motherland of many of the world’s top universities, including household names like Oxford and Cambridge. Study in business and culture mecca, London, or in distinctive regional cities, like Manchester up north or Birmingham in the Midlands. No matter your preferred area of study, you’re bound to find experts to study under or programs focused on almost any field.
Recommended program: Study in London at UCL
BONUS! Top TYPES of subjects
Not only did we collect data on where the world’s best places to study abroad are according to our search data, we also found some awesome trends about the top types of subjects. For these students, destination comes second so long as their program involves…
- Veterinary Medicine and Science
- Illustration & Animation
- Massage Education
A note from GoAbroad
We’d like to thank our community for not only inspiring us daily, but for also giving us enough insight to share accurate predictions for meaningful travel in 2018.
Learn more about our research methodology, recommended programs, and links here.
Browse more of this year's report on top destinations for international study
- Best Countries for Study Abroad in Europe 2018
- Best Countries for Study Abroad in the Americas for 2018
- Best Countries for Study Abroad in Africa in 2018
- Best Countries for Study Abroad in the South Pacific & Asia for 2018
- See ALL top destinations for ALL travel