Study Biology Abroad

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Studying Biology Abroad

Planet Earth is teeming with life. Everywhere and anywhere you look, life exists in some form or another, from the largest of animals to the smallest of microbes. As the study of life, biology is therefore the kind of field that can be studied anywhere, and a good biologist understands the necessity of studying their biological topic of interest where it originates. Biology study abroad programs are the perfect way to gain valuable exposure to alternative methods of data collection, analysis, and the ways in which life is studied and understood in another part of the world, so every biology student should grab the opportunity to study biology abroad!

Why Study Biology Abroad

There is only so much about biology that can be learned from a book. Real experience comes in the form of field or laboratory work. The need to travel in order to find forms of life related to your studies is fairly self-explanatory, but a biology study abroad program can take things one step further by exposing you to many alternative approaches to the study of biology. Differences exist in everything from laboratory procedures to technical equipment from country to country, making study abroad experience extremely valuable for any student hoping to one day contribute to the growing collection of biological knowledge.


Biology is one of the exceptional few subjects that can be studied literally almost anywhere on Earth. A great way to start your search for a biology study abroad program is to simply consider the areas of the field that interest you most, and where on Earth those topics are focused on most heavily. The following countries tend to offer a wide range of biology topics, but be sure to look into other regions of the world too, especially if your primary interest area can’t be found here.

Australia. For a well-balanced biology study abroad program that combines world class academics with plenty of opportunities for hands on work in a wide range of biology subfields, Australia is a fantastic choice. Australia is a world leader in several fields of science, and biology is no exception. With a variety of wildlife present within its borders, existing in dozens of different biomes, Australia gives students the chance to study organisms living in every environment, from blazing deserts to coral reefs. For life forms that need a bit more effort to observe effectively, Australia is one of the most technologically advanced nations on Earth and its universities are well equipped to give biology students the equipment they need to advance their education.

Brazil. The Amazon rainforest presents one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems our planet has to offer. Those who decide to study biology in Brazil will find that the Amazon is practically in their backyard. There are biology study abroad programs available at several of Brazil’s top academic institutions, and many include field trips that allow students to experience the Amazon first hand; a prospect that should interest just about any future biologist. Classes in Brazil are usually available in both English and Portuguese, with most institutions opening doors for almost all international students regardless of language skills.

South Africa. Students interested in mammalian biology may be hard pressed to find a better destination to study biology abroad than South Africa. Universities in Cape Town and Johannesburg have earned prestigious international reputations and offer biology study programs that provide students solid academics combined with the unbeatable experience working first hand with large (and often endangered) mammals on protected game reserves. Elephants, rhinoceroses, lions, and more are all residents of reserves within South Africa. Those who study biology in South Africa will easily find themselves face to face with a range of amazing animals, learning more about some of the world’s most endangered species while learning how to preserve them in the process.

Biology Study Programs Abroad

Due to the universal nature of biology as a science, nearly every potential study abroad destination will be able to provide students with courses relevant to biology. Introductory biology courses are extremely common at universities all over the world, as are introductory classes in other sciences, like physics and chemistry, which are often requirements for any type of biology degree.

Prior experience in biology is very rarely required to enroll in these types of science courses, so even students who are undecided about their future in science world will have courses to take abroad. These basic science courses also make for great additions to less science-focused class schedules for students who want to study biology abroad alongside other subjects; introductory science courses are also exceptionally easy to find in pretty much any destination, making any time of the year a perfect time to study biology abroad.

For students further along in their biology degree programs, more advanced biology classes, like microbiology and biochemistry, are also relatively common and very possible to take abroad. 

Lastly, biology courses that are specific to the host country or region are offered at many universities abroad. These courses can greatly add to the experience of study abroad, bringing students even closer to their temporary home through the study of biology. This type of biology coursework can range from introductory to advanced and tends to be centered on learning established and accepted scientific facts of the host country.

Benefits & Challenges

Collaboration Skills. In a hard science like biology, there is a great deal of importance rightfully placed on the ability to collaborate and work together with other biologists. Every day, scientists around the world are making breakthroughs in the field. In order for these advancements to make the largest impact possible, other scientists must have the skills necessary to interact with and learn from others, regardless of culture or nationality. 

Alternative Methods. Biology study abroad programs will expose students to another culture and methods of thinking within their field which, in the case of biology, will be crucial to their future success.

Resume Booster. International experience is a huge plus on the resume of any student looking to stand apart from their peers, and when it comes to the field of biology, your time abroad will greatly develop your specialization area within the field. 

International Networking. Living and studying abroad for an extended time will give you a fantastic opportunity to network with biology instructors, biologists and scientists, as well as other professionals. These connections can come in extremely handy down the line during your scientific career. Your biology study abroad program might even lead to a return trip for an internship, or even a career in biology abroad!

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Studying Biology Abroad


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