Study Art History Abroad

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Studying Art History Abroad

There is nothing quite like the subject of art and how it can tell a story about a country, a culture, and its people. To study art history is to study what it means to be human, and the ways in which a culture defines itself. More than that, studying art history abroad allows students to get a grasp of history that sometimes not even words can convey. From the study of art history abroad, comes a style of strategic thinking and understanding that can be applied to a variety of higher education degrees or career paths.

Why Study Art History Abroad

Venus de Milo. Tutankhamun’s Golden Death Mask. The Winged Victory of Samothrace. The Sistine Chapel. Mona Lisa. It’s incredible and historic works of art like these, and many more, that showcase why studying art history abroad can be the experience of a lifetime. The ability to absorb and see these masterpieces firsthand transforms the study of art into an even more enriching and unforgettable experience. To truly study art history, one must go beyond the pages of a textbook and out into the world where knowledge about art must begin with living it first.


Fortunately for art history students, there are numerous destinations to seek out international opportunities for hands-on learning. Narrowing down options will depend on the style, time period, and form of art you want to learn at a deeper level.

For students seeking experience to better understand ancient art forms, destinations throughout Africa and Asia can be ideal places to study art history abroad. Egypt is a well-known and perfect location for studying art history and learning more about early human civilizations, as showcased by the array of Egyptian art forms. It also doesn’t hurt to be close to locations like the Great Pyramids of Giza, that tell their own stories of human development. The same can be said when studying the art of India, Tibet, and Japan, which encompasses visual depictions characterized by surface patterning and local color.

Moving further west, locations like Greece and Italy are the perfect jumping off point to delve into Greek and Roman art, where classroom learning is complemented by easy access to iconic landmarks and a plethora of well-preserved artifacts. If medieval or Renaissance art has captured your interest, consider studying art history abroad in European destinations like the United Kingdom or Spain, where the history of both time periods is as rich as the amount of art there is to study.

For those interested in the study of indigenous cultures throughout the Americas, studying art history abroad in destinations throughout South America and Central America boast grand sculptures, architecture, and mosaics to become familiar with. Perhaps more modern accomplishments have you interested, then metropolis destinations across the United States are ideal; the U.S. provides many opportunities to explore contemporary works, as most cities have their own modern art museum.

Whichever your preferred sector of art history, the opportunities to study abroad are boundless and will only continue to grow as time goes on and human creativity is preserved.

Courses & Programs

When figuring out what art history courses to take abroad, the depth your study abroad program will take on depends on what courses you have already completed. For students who are looking to start with the basics, such as an Introduction to Art History or a survey of a specific time period of art, there are numerous options available in destinations around the world. These types of courses are especially helpful for students who are hoping to a build a foundation of knowledge that can be applied to upper level studies, such as Art History Methodology or Contemporary Art Theory.

Most art history courses abroad will focus on a specific subset of the field, like the study of Mexican art forms or 20th Century Performance Art, which allow for a deeper understanding of a specific time period and its subsequent art culture. The structure of these art history courses will vary from one program to the next, as well as from country to country.

In regards to when to study art history abroad, a summer semester program focused on Japanese art will be just as enriching as a year’s study of the Italian Renaissance. Art history courses are available year-round to accommodate any student’s schedule, but getting the most out of it will all depend on the level of work you put into your studies.

The most important thing to note about studying art history abroad, is the chance it provides to transform textbook learning to seeing and experiencing art firsthand. No matter where you might choose to study art history abroad, you’re sure to be surrounded by a destination’s art culture, in one way or another.

Studying art history abroad will typically include a component of visiting and observing artifacts and landmarks you learn about in the classroom. Some art history courses may even require students to seek out these things outside of classroom hours, and it’s highly recommend to take the time to do so, in order to attain a better grasp of your studies. 

Benefits & Challenges

  • Ultimate Resume Builder. If your ultimate goal is to apply your study abroad experience to an art history degree or career path, studying art history abroad will help your resume stand out all the more to employers. As noted earlier, this field of study is more than just about the art - it offers a deeper glimpse into how a country and culture sees itself, and how it has been preserved by the passing of time. The strategic thinking and global perspective that comes out of studying art history can be the most rewarding benefits study abroad students can hope for.
  • Honed Artistic Eye. Whichever form or expression of art you may be interested in studying abroad, most art history courses will include a close analysis of visual materials, which will allow art history students to better understand the methods and intellectual structures behind the study of art. Most importantly, studying art history abroad will allow for understanding art a visual language, while fostering an ability to translate this into oral and written expression.
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A Guide To

Studying Art History Abroad


969 Art History Study Abroad Programs


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Our international internships are customized to match your interests, career aspirations, and your desired length of stay in Spain. Internships last a minimum of 4 weeks, but we encourage you to stay as long as you can. Obviously, the longer you stay in Barcelona, the more time you will have to immerse yourself in the local culture, practice your Spanish, learn the ins and outs of your internsh...


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Spend a semester or academic year in the modern and cosmopolitan city of Barcelona with AIFS. You’ll earn up to 15 credits through a variety of courses studying at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Courses are taught in English or Spanish, and no previous Spanish language study is required. AIFS in Barcelona offers students the opportunity to take courses in Spanish language, business a...


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Many travelers who visit Granada insist it's the must-see city in all of Spain. With one of the clearest windows into Spain's unique historical symbiosis of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, the IES curriculum takes full advantage of Andalusia and all southern Spain has to offer including cultural excursions. Two semesters of college level Spanish are required to enroll in the Intermediate ...


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Students in Boston University Grenoble French Studies Program enroll in one of three tracks based on their level of language proficiency or their specific academic interest. Track 1: Intermediate Language and Civilization and Track 2: Advanced Language and Culture require students to enroll in one course on French civilization and culture and one French language course. The courses are not taug...


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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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Syracuse University's London Center is located in the heart of this vibrant city. It offers professional courses in theater, public communications, business, design, music industry, and architecture, as well as a broad selection of liberal arts courses. Internships can place students in professional settings and provide superior preparation for a career in today's global economy. Living in loca...


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Costa Rica is one of the world's most breathtaking and lush countries. Why not spend a semester or a summer in San Jose, Costa Rica's radiant capital? Immerse yourself in a Spanish language exchange program (ranging from beginner to advanced) and the native country's rich culture. Adelante offers various programs to better suit your study abroad needs. During your free time, explore the scen...


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Study Italian Language & Culture, and experience the treasures of Ravenna. Known for it's Mosaic Art, history and culture, Ravenna is a UNESCO world heritage site. Ravenna's basilicas and baptisteries are decorated with Mosaics dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries. Historically, Ravenna has been a capital city three times during the Roman Empire. Additional courses (workshops) offered in ...


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The University of Granada was chartered and given official Papal ratification by Clemente VII in 1531. Through its almost 500 years of existence, it has become one of the major intellectual centers in southern Spain. The University's Modern Language Center, the Centro de Lenguas Modernas, is housed in what was once an orphanage built in the 1700s. It was completely restored in 1992 and is locat...


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Sevilla (Metro population around 1,500,000) the largest city in southern Spain, and the fourth largest in the country, offers endless opportunities to learn about Spanish culture and history. Located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, this enchanting capital city of the Andalucía region has become one of the most popular study abroad destinations for U.S. students. A history of this fascin...


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The Institute for Global Studies (IGS) Intern Around the World Programs allow students to mix and match internships in two or three countries. Students can choose from any of the countries and internships available. Typical durations are four weeks to 12 weeks in each location. IGS will help students determine which internships and countries compliment each other. Sample itineraries: Paci...


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The Madrid program is ideal for students who wish to study Spanish and European Studies in one of the world's great capitals. Madrid is a fascinating city and has a vibrant culture that provides the perfect setting for language study or art history studies. You will be able to study Spanish language and the complexities of Spanish and contemporary European societies through a wide selection of ...


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Study abroad in the vibrant city of Montpellier, and experience its centuries-old history of social tolerance and intellectual advances. Program participants get the chance to enjoy the student-centered community, nightlife, and college-town atmosphere. Students can choose from beginning, intermediate, and advanced French language courses. The program is based at the Paul Valery University, ...


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Program Overview Don’t just study in Spain – immerse yourself in the people, places, and events that have made it what it is today. Take part in CIEE’s challenging Advanced Liberal Arts program in Seville. Awaken your senses during excursions and cultural activities. Build your Spanish language skills during homestays, a conversation exchange, and more. And dive into the Spanish history and cul...


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Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity to build your resume while you experience the world, learn a new language, and make international friends. As an American university in the historic center of Rome, Italy, John Cabot University allows you to become a part of our international campus community representing 70 countries while you experience the incredible city of Rome. We accept st...