Nothing inspires one to write quite like traveling the world. The process of leaving home, placing yourself in an entirely foreign cultural context, and being challenged to adapt to your new surroundings inevitably leads to a treasure chest of adventures and worthwhile stories to be told. Earning your degree abroad in creative writing will be a tremendous educational and developmental experience that will inspire you to do great things!
Why Earn a Degree Abroad
Aldous Huxley once wrote, “to travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” By journeying into the world and exploring foreign cities and cultures firsthand you will discover the true significance of this comment. Creative writing is about expanding your perspective as well as developing a unique voice, and to find true success in the field you must come to your own conclusions about life in this crazy world of ours. Earning a degree abroad in creative writing is your first step toward a greater understanding of and originality with the craft.
If you want to earn a degree in creative writing abroad, there is a somewhat glaring obstacle which limits where you can study, the language you will be writing in! While many countries around the world teach their citizens English as a second language, the primary language of education at most universities remains the native tongue of each nation. There are of course exceptions, such as programs at small international centers or satellite schools, and these are definitely worth looking into; but if you plan on pursuing a full time degree at a foreign university then the most opportunities await you in countries where English is the primary language of education.
The good news is that this list of countries is longer than you might think. Beginning with the obvious there are the British Isles, where many prestigious universities in the countries of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales offer undergraduate and graduate creative writing degree programs for international students.
Then there is North America, specifically the United States and Canada, which hosts an immense number of universities with creative writing degree programs at all levels (the programs at the Universities of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan are respectively considered to be three of the best in the world).
In the Southern hemisphere you can earn a creative writing degree abroad in most English speaking countries of the former Commonwealth, specifically South Africa, India, Australia, and New Zealand. English in the language of education in all of the latter nations, despite some of them utilizing their native young for informal communications.
Again your options for creative writing degrees abroad are not strictly limited to the aforementioned countries, but these tend to boast the most prestigious and rewarding creative writing degree programs for English speakers!
Creative Writing Degree Programs
Creative writing is a flexible degree, which can be used for a variety of purposes. Whether your aspirations lie in short stories, screenplays, novels, or what have you, there are many different ways you can focus a creative writing degree to help facilitate your ambitions.
Undergraduate creative writing degree programs are offered by most universities worldwide. If not, then a focus in creative writing is usually possible within a larger undergraduate degree, in subjects like English, literature, or writing-related studies. You will likely will be taking a wide variety of courses when studying creative writing abroad, ranging from theory to analysis to practice. Creative writing undergraduate degree programs tend to last three or four years and, depending on the university, will also require you to complete general education studies.
At the graduate level, an M.F.A. or M.A. degree program in creative writing typically lasts one or two years, and allows you to focus more specifically on a particular type of creative writing (i.e. screenwriting, poetry, creative non-fiction, etc.). Subject matter within creative writing courses tend to cover aspects of narrative story, such as telling as characterization, plot structure, shaping language, and other ways to make stories compelling. Postgraduate creative writing degree programs also sometimes give students the opportunity to teach their own courses at the undergraduate level for pay.
The benefits of moving abroad to pursue your creative writing degree in a foreign country far exceed the academic experience you can get by studying the same subject in the comfort of your home nation. You will find life beyond the walls of your classroom to be the greatest teacher, as you continuously adapt and break down preconceived notions all while building up a new perspective of yourself and the world that surrounds you. Some of the greatest writers in history credit travel as a primary inspiration, and by enrolling in a creative writing degree program abroad you will surely come to share that spark of imagination.