Geography is one of the world’s oldest and continuously evolving academic disciplines. Our understanding of how our environment has shaped the development of life on earth is dynamic and always changing. By studying geography abroad you can take this query out into the larger world, and learn how the cultural differences between us ultimately can be traced back to the land we dwell on.
Why Study Geography Abroad
Geography is a broad and diverse discipline which encompasses many aspects of environmental and cultural studies. At its core, geography is the study of the world which surrounds us, and there is no better way to gain perspective of world than to travel and discover life on our planet for yourself. Studying geography abroad will not only be a tremendously enlightening experience within your academic focus, but the developmental adventure of a lifetime beyond.
Geography is a universal discipline, so your options of where to study abroad are virtually limitless. Students of geography likely already have a pretty solid knowledge of the layout of the land, so to avoid a redundant lesson on the subject, here are a few of the top locations specifically for geography study abroad programs:
The United Kingdom boasts some of the best Geography departments around, from Oxford to Durham to University College London. These are obviously the cream of the crop, but are representative of the UK’s stellar reputation as a home of geographical study. Other European countries that offer prestigious geography study abroad options range from Germany and the Netherlands to Sweden and Norway.
The United States also has many schools with top-notch geography programs, especially within the University of California system (the Geography departments of UC Berkley and UCLA are each globally ranked in the top 10). All across the nation, and in Canada too, there are a large number of universities where international students can enroll to receive a great geography education.
East Asia is home to a handful of highly regarded geography study abroad programs as well. Schools such as the National University of Singapore, Peking University, and the University of Tokyo are some of the most prestigious academic institutions on the continent. Although competitive for admittance, these schools can prove a tremendously stimulating environment to study geography abroad.
Studying Geography Abroad
Course material varies widely within the field of geography, most significantly between Physical Geography and Human Geography. As such, it is likely that you will have the opportunity to enroll in a diverse array of applicable geography courses abroad.
There are a few different ways you can go about studying geography abroad. Students commonly study abroad for a summer, fall, or spring semester abroad and enroll in courses at a local university wherever they choose to go. However, language barriers can become a significant obstacle if you do choose this route, so research thoroughly what English speaking classes will be available if language studies is not a part of your academic plan.
Another option is to enroll in a program that is specifically focused around geography, in which you and other international students will embark on an academic adventure for course credit under the leadership of a professor. These highly focused programs tend to be shorter in length, can move about to different locations, and are typically offered during winter or summer.
Field research is another important part of geographical studies, and there are many academic opportunities available in field-based placements for ambitious students. Whether you are writing a thesis based on your own research or aiding a professor in theirs, this can be a great way to gain exposure in the geographical academic community.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
If you have made it your business to study the world by selecting geography as your major, then studying abroad should be the next obvious choice in your academic career. One can only learn so much in a classroom about how the world works; by actually making the leap to travel our planet and experience its tremendous diversity firsthand, you will come to a much more intimate knowledge of the subject. Studying geography abroad will be a great adventure, and one that will inherently mold your perceptions about life on our planet.