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A Guide to Studying Kinesiology & Exercise Science Abroad

Everywhere on Earth human beings move and fuel their bodies through essentially the same mechanisms, but the study and application of that movement can vary greatly between countries and cultures. Kinesiology and exercise science may seem like a field that wouldn’t change much (we’re all human, after all) but one might be surprised at just how different the interpretations of exercise and overall body health are to people around the world. Kinesiology and exercise science programs abroad help students gain a thorough knowledge of the inner workings of the human body, as well as a better understanding of the applications of human strength and endurance across cultures.

Why Study Kinesiology Abroad

Since human movement is a subject that can be studied literally anywhere on Earth, countries all over the world are making advancements in the field every day. The science is used to do everything from improving sports performance to helping average citizens lead longer and healthier lives. There are an incredibly broad range of approaches to kinesiology and exercise science around the world, making it a fantastic field in which to study abroad. Through kinesiology study abroad, you will be exposed to a different culture’s perspective on the crucial functions of the human body and the ways in which people are educated to achieve those goals.


Australia. The nation of Australia may be second only to the United States with respects to its rabid sports culture. Cricket, soccer, basketball, swimming, and rugby are all common pursuits in Australia and as a result, many of the top institutions in the country host kinesiology study abroad programs dedicated to improving the performance of athletes in their respective sports. Universities in the major cities of Canberra, Sydney, and Brisbane all have study abroad programs for kinesiology majors that focus on improving athletic performance specifically, making these cities ideal destinations for individuals who hope to one day work in sports medicine or athletic training.

Norway. While still a fairly major player on the world sporting stage, Norway is another nation with ample study abroad programs for kinesiology majors, albeit with a slightly different approach to the science. The University of Oslo is home to one of the top scientific institutes in the country, including an exercise science program that focuses heavily on the effects of cellular metabolism and nutrition on physical performance. Students interested in the science of fitness at the microscopic level may be hard pressed to find a better location for kinesiology study abroad than the academically and environmentally spectacular nation of Norway!

New Zealand. Representing a location in which it is possible to both study and practice the fine art of exercise, New Zealand presents the benefit of being both a world leader in scientific research as well as the perfect place to apply classroom learning to the real world. Consistently ranked one of the most active nations on Earth, New Zealand is also home to world class universities in Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin, which all provide kinesiology study abroad programs for international students. By studying in New Zealand, an exercise science student will quickly learn how the human body works inside the classroom, while also working to publicly promote exercise and long-term health through the utilization of some of the most naturally beautiful locations for outdoor recreation on Earth.

Courses & Programs

Nutrition. A course in nutrition can be a fascinating look into the food and exercise culture of the nation where a student chooses to study kinesiology abroad. While the basic tenets of what a human body requires in the form of nutrients are widely understood, the culinary differences between nations makes a class in the subject thoroughly fascinating. The ways in which we as Americans reach our daily dietary recommendations for vitamins and nutrients will be very different that those of countries with substantially different diets, meaning that a nutrition education in a foreign nation has the potential to be an eye opening experience in the way foreign cultures nourish and fuel their bodies.

Biomechanics. For nearly as long as the human body has been studied, attempts have been made to reduce its movements to simple numbers and formulas. This field, known today as biomechanics, represents a great option for exercise science students abroad, as the field revolves mostly around numbers and commonly accepted names for various body components. Essentially a mathematics course for kinesiology students, biomechanics is a course where language barriers may play a far less substantial role than in other areas of kinesiology, making it a great choice for students studying abroad in a non-English speaking country.

Prerequisite Science Courses. While not specifically related to the study of the human body, many U.S. based kinesiology and exercise science programs will require a basis in traditional science courses, such as chemistry, physics, or statistics. These courses are almost universally offered at major academic institutions, and English-based versions are available even in countries where English is not the primary language. For any kinesiology or exercise science student completing the first few years of their degree, studying abroad may be the perfect time to knock out these pre-requisite classes so that they are ready and able to jump into higher level coursework upon their return to their home universities.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

International Perspectives. The benefits of kinesiology study abroad programs are huge. Studying abroad demonstrates a desire to learn about the human body beyond the confines of a textbook, and a willingness to acknowledge and comprehend alternative methods of approaching questions faced by people all over the world.

Understand Cultural Approaches to Kinesiology. Study abroad programs for kinesiology majors allow students to gain a better understanding of the ways in which various countries and cultures attempt to study the processes of the human body and, in turn, the ways in which we can maximize its physical performance.

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A Guide To
Studying Kinesiology & Exercise Science Abroad


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