16 Characters & Celebrities Who Studied Abroad

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Which celebrities have studied abroad?

As if we need even *more* reasons to look up to these highly-influential individuals, we’ve scoured the interwebs to create this shortlist of celebrities who studied abroad. From Europe to the Land Down Under, here’s some of our favorite meaningful traveling celebrities:

hollywood sign from behind
Just for fun, here’s our roundup of famous people who have studied abroad

Real Life Celebs

Who would’ve thought that these household names double as study abroad alumni?!

1. Matthew McConaughey

Before starring in Hollywood and giving a generation of women anxiety about whether or not they’ll find a man as good as him, Matthew McConaughey was a Rotary Scholar in New South Wales, Australia.

2. Harper Lee

Who can say? Her exchange at the University of Oxford may’ve been this astounding novelist’s inspiration to Kill a Mockingbird.

3. Bradley Cooper

Our famed co-worker Erin Oppenheim is not the only star to survive a study abroad program in Aix-en-Provence, France. Our silver linings playbook shows Bradley Cooper did, too!

4. Bill Paxton

Long before he studied twisters, the late Bill Paxton studied abroad — in London, England in the 70s (through AIFS!) to be precise.

5. Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi went from India to University College London on his pursuit to peace. Being the change you want to see in the world doesn’t necessarily require travel, but it can help.

6. Vera Wang

You don’t think she got all those en vogue fashion ideas solely from the streets of New York, do you?! Truth be told, there’s a heavy dose of inspiration from her time studying at the Sorbonne in Paris

7. Carrie Fisher

Though Princess Leia never studied in another galaxy, the late Carrie Fisher did make it to London to study abroad for a year and a half in the 70s.

8. Bill Clinton

Bet you never pegged Bill Clinton as a rugby enthusiast, but you’d be wrong! We blame his love for big dudes and striped shirts on his time at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar prior to becoming the 42nd president of the United States.

9. Cynthia Nixon 

Prior to getting her N-Y-C-legs in Sex and the City, Cynthia Nixon got her actual sea legs by sailing around the world with Semester at Sea in the 80s.

10. Kristi Yamaguchi

Kristi Yamaguchi

Before triple-axeling her way into our hearts and decorating herself with gold medals, Kristi studied abroad in Canada.

Fictional Celebs We Love

Just for fun, here are some of our favorite fictional characters who also rocked life abroad.

1. Liz Lemon — 30 Rock

Liz studied in Frankfurt, Germany for a year (though we still wouldn’t trust her German!).

2. Amy Farrah Fowler — The Big Bang Theory

Amy Farrah Fowler GIF

“I’ll be okay. You’re not the first girls I thought were friends with me who ended up shunning me. It’ll be like elementary school, junior high, high school, undergrad, grad school and that semester abroad in Norway all over again.”

3. Jay Gatsby — The Great Gatsby

Though he doesn’t feel he can “really call [himself] an Oxford man,” Jay Gatsby squeezed a five month stint at Oxford in-between hosting fabulous parties and sipping strong cocktails.

4. Penny Hartz — Happy Endings

Penny, on her semester in Florence: “Oh, those sweet Chianti-soaked nights, strolling the banks of the Arno, meeting amazing people from all over the Big Ten…”

5. Bart Simpson — The Simpsons

Bart did an immersive French language program despite his best efforts to get out of it.

6. Elphaba — Wicked

Okay, so maybe Elphaba didn’t ACTUALLY study in the Emerald City. But she did visit, and she did experience the heart of meaningful travel: “There are wonders like I've never seen. It's all grand — and it's all green! I think we've found the place where we belong!”

There you have it! Our favorite famous people and celebrities who studied abroad. Who else did we miss?!

Now it’s your turn! Get a Hollywood star (possibly), find a study abroad program now!