Study Liberal Arts Abroad

Back to Programs

A Guide to Studying Liberal Arts Abroad

Have you ever told someone you’re majoring in a liberal art, like philosophy, English, or languages, just to be met with a blank stare and a “What kind of job are you going to get with that?” Truth is, you don’t really need to have an answer, but if you’re looking for one, studying liberal arts abroad is a great means to an end. Ultimately, studying in a different country as a liberal arts student will enrich your academic and personal life while also improving your cultural competency. This willingness to experience new and exciting things is a cornerstone of liberal arts.

Why Study Liberal Arts Abroad

Living in the land of generalities is only satisfying for so long. Why not use a study abroad experience as a launch pad to better understand what you want to focus on or specialize in under the great big umbrella that is the liberal arts?!

“To be or not to be”…as a study abroad student...“that is the question.”  

As you know, studying liberal arts does not prepare you for a specific job (like our good friends the doctors and enginerds); instead, by giving you broad knowledge and an array of useful skill sets (decision-making, communicating, etc.) that can be utilized in almost any job you pursue, a liberal arts major prepares you for the world at large. Therefore, studying liberal arts abroad gives you the chance to practice your cross cultural skills and possibly even become proficient in another language, which are just two of some of the most valuable skills to have in the world today.

Employers love study abroad alum. Pair your international street cred with your desirable soft skills (besides, most people can be taught the technical skills of a job) and you can consider yourself a “1-2-3-hired” liberal arts graduate.


So you’ve decided, “YES, I want to diversify my liberal arts education in another country”, but now the question remains: “Where should you go?” Due to the broad appeal of a liberal arts degree, finding a destination where you can study liberal arts abroad should be fairly easy once you know the subject or field you would like to focus on during your time abroad.

Italy. The birthplace of the Renaissance and many artists, philosophers, and poets, Italy is home to some of the best liberal arts schools in the world. While walking around cities like Rome, Florence, or Venice, take in the sites by exploring some of history’s best architecture and art collections. If you are studying in some of the most artistic cities in the world, don’t expect to be sitting in a classroom all day! You’ll instead be viewing sites like the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican, and the Pantheon instead of sticking your nose in a dirty ol’ book.

South Africa. Home to one of the most well-known social justice advocates of our time, Nelson Mandela, South Africa has so much to offer those interested in social causes and philosophy. Students will have access to social and cultural activities outside of the classroom, some of which may involve conversations with political activists, exposure to local artists and philosophers, and the occasional safari. Located on the southern tip of Africa, study abroad in South Africa will not be lacking in beautiful landscapes or wildlife.

Peru. The local music, cuisine, geography, and history will make any liberal arts major fascinated with study abroad in Peru. The traditional aspects of its history are woven into the present day society, and you will be able to experience this while studying in Lima (Peru’s modern capital) or Cusco (the historical capital). Liberal arts student are encouraged to explore the cities, villages, and historic sites that truly make Peru a magical place to study abroad in. 

As a liberal arts major, the world is literally your oyster - so follow your heart flutter to whatever corner of the planet (and subsequent study abroad program) feels right.

Liberal Arts Study Abroad

Since liberal arts is such a broad field, there are a number of classes that can be considered part of liberal arts study abroad, from economics and mathematics to literature and film studies. Most liberal arts course options abroad will focus on the humanities, history, arts, languages, and other social sciences. While studying abroad, liberal arts majors can easily fulfill  a multitude of electives or enroll specifically in courses required for a liberal arts degree. 

If you have a focus or passion for a specific niche within the liberal arts, you will certainly be able to find unique study abroad programs that provide more in-depth and specialized courses. We always recommend students choose to take classes that relate directly with the location of their study abroad program too (especially if they are majoring in liberal arts), so as to really capitalize on the potential of the whole experience. It’s way more fun to learn about Spanish politics while in Spain than back home right?!

No matter your area of interest within the field of liberal arts, you should seriously consider studying a foreign language while abroad. However, that is not to say that classes are always necessarily conducted in a foreign language abroad, because you can certainly find liberal arts study abroad programs that are entirely taught in English. 

Benefits & Challenges

Liberal arts were originally designed for the free man, to provide them with the skills necessary to be civically engaged, successful in debate, and attractive to employ. Things haven’t changed all too much since Ancient Greece. The skills acquired through studying liberal arts abroad will make you more competitive in the work force, especially as someone who has gained tangible skills (such as communication, problem-solving, and independence) in an international environment. 

However, liberal arts can sometimes seem too general, which can make it more challenging for you to choose, let alone focus, on a concentration for study abroad. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all of the directions you can move in, you’re not alone. The silver lining is that your study abroad experience can help you make a decision on what you will do next in your college career, further focusing your liberal arts studies at home.

Fulfill the classic liberal arts mission of “learning how to learn” in an entirely new, foreign, and exciting context. Study liberal arts abroad, dag-nabbit!

Read More

written by:

A Guide To
Studying Liberal Arts Abroad


 Find Liberal Arts Study Abroad Programs Now


This listing has been saved 15 times

Semester on the Gold Coast

As you might gather from the name, the Gold Coast is truly spectacular. Spend a semester soaking it in as you study abroad at Bond University in Queensland, Australia. This highly ranked and modern university delivers small class sizes, innovative courses, and cutting-edge sporting facilities (Australian Olympic swimmers train at Bond’s pool!). The Gold Coast is famous for it’s gleaming beaches...


This listing has been saved 4 times

AIFS Study Abroad in Prague, Charles University: Semester

Spend a semester or academic year in the picturesque city of Prague with AIFS. Earn up to 18 credits studying at Charles University. Courses are taught in English or Czech, with no previous Czech language study required. Orientation includes a 2-week Czech Language and Culture course to help you acclimate to life in Prague, where you'l live in a university residence hall with meal allowance...


This listing has been saved 6 times

IES Abroad Nantes - French Language Immersion & Area Studies

Our French Language Immersion & Area Studies Program has two important goals: to improve your written and verbal proficiency in French through language and area studies courses and to introduce you to contemporary France and its role in the European Union. A beautiful city on the Loire River, Nantes is the perfect place to perfect your French. For more than 50 years, this program has been offer...


This listing has been saved 22 times

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...


This listing has been saved 33 times

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 ...


This listing has been saved 10 times

Semester Study Abroad in Seville, Spain - Adelante Abroad

Seville, Spain is a beloved destination among tourists. Enjoy a semester in one of southern Spain's most popular Andalusian cities! In Seville, students are sure to develop their Spanish language, conversation, and reading composition skills. Language acquisition and cultural immersion are always at the forefront of Adelante Abroad's programs. Candidates have the option to take up to five cour...


This listing has been saved 2 times

Budget Low Cost - Charles University - Year Around

Study Liberal Arts & Sciences in Prague, at Charles University. Courses in English. Low cost. Open to all students and adults worldwide. Low cost University type housing. Cultural activities and field trips (excursions). Earn academic credit. Summer Semester, and Academic Year terms available. Electives taught in English include: Art & Culture, Sociology, Psychology, History, Literature, Econ...


This listing has been saved 14 times

USAC AUSTRALIA: Gold Coast & Brisbane - Full Curriculum

Spend one or two semesters in the “Sunshine State” of Australia, where a year has an average of 300 sunny days! The Gold Coast and Brisbane program is an ideal study abroad experience if you love the outdoors. Based along the country’s east coast, this program lest you explore beaches, coral reef system, rainforest, and scenic highways. The host institution is Griffith University, where you...


This listing has been saved 10 times

API at Universidad de Salamanca in Salamanca, Spain

Study abroad in Salamanca, a popular university city that hosts many international students and is only 50 miles east of Spains border with Portugal. The Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; its Plaza Mayor (city center) is one of the most impressive in Spain! APIs program at the Universidad de Salamanca is ideal for students looking to live an authentic Spanish lifestyle away from t...


This listing has been saved 10 times

ISA Study Abroad in Sevilla, Spain

Get the chance to study at a university in Spain while immersing in rich cultural heritage! Depending on your chosen program, you will take courses at any of these universities: the University of Pablo de Olavide, the Menendez Pelayo International University, or University of Sevilla. No matter where you study, have assurance of modern facilities and highly qualified faculty. Plus, you will fin...


This listing has been saved 1 time

CIEE Liberal Arts in Seville, Spain

Come to Seville and develop your advanced-level Spanish skills while enjoying extensive course offerings in nearly every academic discipline. Walk the same halls as Dan Brown, the author of “The Da Vinci Code,” when he studied art history here. Go on bike tours with Spanish peers. Explore the different areas of Spain. There’s so much to see and learn – from majestic cathedrals to royal palaces ...


This listing has been saved 22 times

Study Abroad in Rome, Italy at John Cabot University

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...


This listing has been saved 18 times

New York University London

Students at NYU London live and learn only steps away from the British Museum in genteel Bloomsbury, a scholarly neighborhood with long-standing literary connections. The center comprises three beautifully restored 18th-century townhouses standing on one of the best-preserved Georgian squares in London. It houses offices, classrooms, computer labs, and a lounge. Throughout the semester the NYU ...


This listing has been saved 5 times

Spanish Studies Abroad Spanish Studies Program - Seville, Spain

With 40 years of academic excellence in Spanish studies, Spanish Studies Abroad specially designed the Spanish Studies Program for Spanish language students entering the advanced-level with a wide range of academic interests. The program integrates thoughtful synthesis of homestays/life in the residencias, study visits, language exchanges, volunteer, and other cultural opportunities into the cu...


This listing has been saved 15 times

Study Abroad in Greece with CYA! (Semester/Academic Year)

CYA has offered study abroad programs in a wide range of academic disciplines for over 50 years. With supplemental activities varying from archaeological digs to onsite courses, study-travel, and volunteer opportunities, students are able to actively engage with their course material. Students live in apartments in downtown Athens and will be inspired to immerse themselves in the environment an...