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A Guide to Studying Architecture Abroad

See the designs you dreamed of and the styles you studied come to life by taking your architecture education abroad. From flying buttresses to sleek, modern art, the world is full of creative, ingenious, and intriguing construction, and studying architecture abroad gives you a first-hand opportunity to see it all!

Why Study Architecture Abroad

Studying architecture abroad provides two unique opportunities that domestic education does not. While the saying “They don’t build them like they used to” may be trite, it is practically true. Architecture has changed, and seeing historical styles from around the world will give you a competitive advantage in the field as well as inspiration. Additionally, in the same way form fits function, construction style often fits with culture. Seeing how different cultures value different styles—from aesthetics to safety to functionality—will give you a deeper understanding of the architecture field, beyond what you grew up with at home.


When choosing a location, it is important to first decide what focus you want to explore while abroad. Studying architecture abroad will allow you to see very old, historic examples, as well as very modern and unique examples of architectural techniques and styles. Unfortunately, these two categories rarely overlap, so you will need to decide what you want to focus on in order to decide where to study architecture abroad.

An obvious location for architecture students focusing on historic design is Rome, Italy. With some of the best preserved ruins of the modern world, architecture programs in Rome are teeming with inspiration and opportunities to dive into the field. A second incredible site would be Barcelona, Spain, where courses often focus on or tour the legendary works of Antoni Gaudi.

If modern form is more your style, then potential study abroad locations are more diverse and spread out. The United Arab Emirates has turned the heads of numerous architecture experts in recent years, and the architecture programs available to students here are numerous.

Australia—specifically cities like Perth, Sydney, or Canberra—have also sprung international attention in recent years, for rapid and modern urban growth. As an English speaking country, Australia makes studying architecture abroad easy; architecture programs in Australia are offered for every level and degree type.

While a blend of historic and modern is difficult to find, it is not impossible. Chile also offers a plethora of architecture programs, many of which examine how traditional Chilean style has grown into the modern architectural field that dominates cities like Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. Japan also has opportunities to explore both the traditional Eastern styles, as well as earthquake-proof developments of the last 30 years through architectural study abroad programs.

Courses & Programs

Architecture majors are generally able to take a number of electives while studying abroad. These courses may be architecture specific, or in other fields closely related to the subject. For example, history and culture classes are easy to find anywhere and often draw close parallels to the architectural style of the country.

A few themes emerge in architecture electives around the world. Most architecture study abroad programs tend to focus more on the connection between history and architecture—for example, the legacy of a certain architect or how a local civilization gave rise to a modern style. Cultural connections can also be made between religion and architecture. Catholic style churches can be studied across Europe and Latin America, while Islamic and Moorish styles can be found through southern Europe and the Middle East. There is also a strong focus on sustainability in architecture around the world, specifically in Europe and Australia.

If you are looking for larger or more complete degree programs—in order to focus on either core classes or capstone requirements, the Middle East has some of the best options for architecture study abroad students. The United Arab Emirates offers several full curriculums with both basic and advanced classes for international students.


Architecture is a unique field that combines practicality with the art world. Notions relevant to both of these fields—both what is realistic and what is beautiful—differ widely around the globe. Experiencing different perspectives will make you more competitive in the work force, especially as architectural firms become increasingly multinational, and introduce you to alternative approaches to design.

There are even international career opportunities to use your degree in city planning, disaster relief, or to support travel and tourism—all of which will require the cultural experience you can obtain by studying architecture abroad.

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A Guide To
Studying Architecture Abroad


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American Institute For Foreign Study

Spend a semester or academic year studying Architecture abroad with American Institute for Foreign Study. The organization provides myriad options, with academic programs offered in different countries across the globe. AIFS specializes in providing high-quality educational and cultural programs that enrich participants' lives.


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IES Abroad Sydney Direct Enrollment - Semester/Year Program

Take advantage of the chance to live and learn in Sydney, one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the world! Students can immerse themselves in the academic and student culture of Macquarie University, the University of New South Wales, or the University of Sydney. All offer an array of disciplines covering the spectrum from engineering to art history. Sydney will be your classroom....


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Boston University: London Internship Program

The London Internship Program of Boston University offers a semester of study and work in England's exciting capital city. This program combines a professional internship with coursework that examines a particular academic area in the context of Great Britain's history, culture, and society, and its role in modern Europe. Courses in each academic area are taught by selected British faculty excl...


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Athena Study and Intern Abroad in Florence, Italy

Athena's partner school in Florence, Italy, Lorenzo de' Medici (LdM), is a private institution located among several buildings in the center of this charming Renaissance city. The campus' main building dates back to the 13th century and, before being renovated, was originally a convent and church. Florence was the heart of the Renaissance, and its artistic flair is still tangible. With that ...


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Study Abroad with Syracuse University

Study Architecture abroad in customized programs from Syracuse University. Students participate in programs tailor-made to match their academic and linguistic needs, and their professional and personal goals. Interested individuals are encouraged to browse through the extensive selection of courses offered at various locations across the globe.


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USAC BRAZIL: Florianópolis-Global Economy

The Florianópolis program offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the incredibly diverse and dynamic culture of Brazil while living on a beautiful sub-tropical island and studying at one South America’s most prestigious universities. The program is ideal for students who want to learn about the world’s fifth-largest country, one of the fastest-growing economies (sixth-largest i...


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ISA Study Abroad in Florence, Italy

Located in the heart of Tuscany, Florence clearly stands out as a cultural, historical, and academic center in Italy. Florence is known as the Birthplace of the Renaissance, as many Renaissance artists and authors called Florence home: Dante, Boccaccio, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and many more all helped make Florence the most important place to be during the Renaissance. With a populatio...


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CIEE Liberal Arts in Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Liberal Arts study abroad program in Buenos Aires, Argentina helps students gain a critical appreciation of Argentina and its importance in Latin America from a social sciences and humanities perspective. This is achieved through CIEE courses offered at Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales and direct enrollment courses in academic departments and faculties at Universidad de Buenos ...


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Study & Intern in Toledo

Head back in time in Toledo, a charming Medieval walled city. Strengthen your language skills, choose from a variety of program courses, and immerse yourself in an internship. This program is offered in collaboration with the prestigious José Ortega-Marañón Foundation and the University of Minnesota. Based at the San Juan de la Penitencia residence, a converted 16th-Century convent, the prog...


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Integrated Studies Program - Seville

Integrated Spanish Studies semester abroad in Seville gives advanced Spanish-level students the unique opportunity to take classes alongside Spanish students at Universidad de Sevilla, while benefiting from the cultural guidance, language tools, and academic quality that defines Spanish Studies Abroad programming. The program integrates thoughtful synthesis of homestays/life in the residencia...


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Semester at Sea - Fall/Spring Voyage: India

Semester at Sea is a global journey that brings students face-to-face with a diversity of our world's cultures and perspectives. Every spring and fall, Semester at Sea explores up to 11 developed and emerging countries and 15 cities on a 100-day voyage. Students represent nearly 25 different countries and 250 institutions, and with the faculty, staff, and crew become a supportive and colla...


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Forum Europe Summer 2018: Travel Around 9 Cities in 1 Month

Multi-country summer program in Europe: Earn up to 8 credits in the summer while studying in 9 amazing European cities. Students from the U.S. and other countries travel together (with the professors) taking classes, visiting universities, companies and international organizations. Open to all majors. U.S.-accredited university. Acquire a solid understanding of European culture, economy and soc...