Study Anthropology Abroad

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A Guide to Studying Anthropology Abroad

Study abroad side effects include self-growth, a broader global perspective, and a better understanding of the world. These are all inherent for anthropology majors, who are students of the world in every class they take; however, studying anthropology abroad takes these characteristics to the next level. Experiencing the how and why people do the things they do firsthand is crucial for budding professional anthropologists. Studying behavior patterns, uncovering how slang impacts daily life, or following in the footprints of Charles Darwin are all delights anthropology students can relish in by studying abroad.

Why Study Anthropology Abroad

Studying anthropology abroad can help you gain a much better understanding of not only the place and people you study, but cultures all around the globe. Since anthropology involves knowledge of cultures, it is an essential component of mastering the material. Stepping outside of a book and experiencing customs, behaviors, and social patterns directly is absolutely essential for an anthropologist to talk the talk and walk the walk. By participating in class work, fieldwork, and making observations of a new culture, you’ll not only become much more knowledgeable, but also passionate about your field.


Anthropology is a course that most institutions offer across the globe. since it’s a prevalent subject of study. Be sure to think about what is important to you in terms of location and the goals of your anthropology study abroad program before making your choice. The number of places to study anthropology abroad are limitless! But, it is important to study anthropology abroad in a country that deeply interests you and suits the focus you have, especially if language learning is a component you’d like to include in your international experience. 

For Spanish or Portuguese speakers, and those interested in South America, countries like Peru, Brazil, and Ecuador all have an anthropological playground waiting for you! Students can uncover how the Incans have lived by studying anthropology in Peru, where students will gain a wider perspective of the art, philosophies, and beliefs within the Incan culture (not to mention seeing Machu Picchu). Are you a language lover? Brazil is a perfect place for etymology fans. Lastly, for aspiring biological anthropologists, Ecuador is the ideal place to study abroad, due to Charles Darwin’s legacy of evolution. These South American countries provide a window into Amazonian cultures, access to one of the largest rainforests in the world, and umpteen famous archaeology and cultural sites.

In contrast to the Western world, Asia is a fascinating continent to study ancient cultures and understand the why and how behind these differing worldviews. Dating back centuries, Asia is one of the oldest continents in the world. Anthropology students could study the dynasties of China, visit The Great Wall, learn about the Mongol Invasion, or experience the Forbidden City during their anthropology study abroad program in China. Other opportunities to study anthropology in Asia include studying the language and art of Japan or how religion impacts society by visiting Angkor Wat in Cambodia. One thing's for certain: studying anthropology in Asia boasts a wide range of academic and cultural opportunities.

The range of anthropology study abroad opportunities continue in places like Africa. A continent the size of the United States, China, and Eastern Europe combined (and more!), culture stretches in every direction on this massive continent. Within the 54 countries that make up Africa, there are at least five cultures (if not more!) in each, and over 3,000 languages to learn about. Whether you choose to study the religions and languages of Morocco, the rural villages of Ghana, or the history of apartheid and townships in South Africa, the intersection of language and culture are sure to pique your curiosity.

Luckily, all civilizations, philosophies, and other aspects of humanity can be studied worldwide. Your desired division of anthropology, your personal preference, and educational goals will determine what location is best for your anthropology study abroad program. Culture exists everywhere, so that means it can be studied anywhere as well! 

Studying Anthropology Abroad

Anthropology study abroad programs will cover a variety of topics, since there are so many different subjects that fall under the field’s umbrella. There are plenty of general education courses offered in anthropology too, so if you fear you don’t have enough experience, just take general education courses before choosing a specific specialty.

Whether you want to study linguistic anthropology, medical anthropology, archaeology, or cultural anthropology (or any of the in-betweens), odds are that you will find courses abroad that will contribute to your studies. General electives and requirements for your major are both possibilities!

Field schools are also an option if you talk to your home university. Field schools are a great way to engage in hands on learning and gain real world field experience. Some universities in the U.S. even require a field school experience. Regardless of what anthropology study abroad program you choose, excursions will often be incorporated into coursework. 

There are plenty of semester long anthropology study abroad opportunities, as well as summer and winter programs to best suit your needs. Anthropology can, and should, be studied at all times of year. Whether anthropology classes are research based, discussion based, or primarily made up of lectures, simply being abroad can help you learn even more from coursework by allowing you to immediately see and apply what you are learning to what you are experiencing. 

Many universities abroad may teach similar anthropology courses as your home university, but the key difference is the opportunity to take your studies further on your own time. Not only will you be in a different environment while studying anthropology abroad, but you will be able to apply your knowledge in everything you do. Not only will the class itself, the field trips and the people broaden your horizons, but even taking part in daily activities will allow you to implement what you are learning.


Exposure & Experience. Anthropology is a particularly important major to experience on a global scale. An international learning experience is vital to success in the field of anthropology. Not only is it suggested if anthropology is your major, but a comparative cultural lens is necessary when you are observing and making conclusions about specific cultures anywhere in the world.

Field Focus. Anthropology is already known to be a competitive field, and in order to get an anthropology job that involves extensive field work, experience is needed. The beauty of anthropology is that it includes the study of nearly everything within human culture, so you can get as specific as you want during your anthropology study abroad program. Since anthropology is a subject that covers human societies, studying different cultures while traveling and living in a new place will improve your knowledge tenfold. Not only will studying anthropology abroad improve research skills, but it will also initiate critical thinking and increase important communication skills needed in the field.

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A Guide To
Studying Anthropology Abroad


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