Study Sociology Abroad

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A Guide to Studying Sociology Abroad

Studying abroad is just about the best real-life sociology education any students could get. Uprooting from the familiarity of your home country and planting yourself in an entirely different social context fraught with new cultural customs, linguistic barriers, and foreign patterns of interaction will help you develop a much more penetrating view of the field which is by definition the study of society. What better way to understand societal differences and social issues than my experiencing life in a new place?

Why Study Sociology Abroad

Sociology is an academic discipline which focuses greatly on examining the origins, development, and everyday manifestations of social behaviors. By studying sociology abroad, you will learn not to take any social phenomena for granted and you’ll get the chance to experience just how influential social forces and cultural contexts can be in building societies around the world. Inside the classroom you will learn fascinating new approaches to the field of sociology, however branching out and socially adapting to life in your new home and beyond take your learning far beyond the most traditional academic experience in any classroom.

Locations

There are two basic routes you can go in sociology study abroad programs: one of refinement or one of expansion. If you are coming from a Western society and choose to study abroad in another Western country, then this would be the route of refinement. You will be developing your lens by travelling to a civilization and culture which is somewhat similar to your own, but at the same time much different in nuanced ways and historical context. Studying abroad in this type of location will shed a great deal of light on subtle sociological patterns and social factors that influence human life. Interesting and distinct cultures can be found in countries such as France, Germany, Russia, and the U.S., but these nations will also illustrate some stereotypically “Western” social practices and expectations too.

The second route is expanding your view of sociology through study abroad, by traveling outside of your comfort zone to a country (or even all around the world) and experiencing a culture much different than your own. This can be a challenging step for many, but adventurous individuals will find it a highly rewarding experience (both personally and academically) and it will no doubt broaden their perspective of the field immensely. China, Japan, and India, as well as the nations of Africa and the Middle East, are all potential locations which will offer a truly definitive experience for any Western born sociology study abroad student. Students will find that social life manifests itself in much different ways in these nations and regions, than much of the Western world, which means the culture and history of the nation has uniquely shaped its people. 

These routes and regional identifications are obviously broad oversimplifications, with the greater point being that you will have an incredible learning experience venturing to a place which differs from your own cultural context, whether in subtle or drastic ways. Whether you come from the north, east, south, or west, choosing to stay close or travel far away will largely determine the magnitude of the sociological differences you observe as well as the new perspectives you come away with.

Courses & Programs

As an incredibly broad and interdisciplinary field, the range of courses available to take while studying sociology abroad is wide open. Obviously you will want to get your hands on at least one specific sociology course, but studying disciplines such as Anthropology, Psychology, Political Science, and Economics within a different cultural context will prove tremendously beneficial academic experiences. In addition to the subject matter, learning how another country’s educational system approaches and examines all social sciences will be extremely relevant to the field of sociology.

Most sociology study abroad programs will offer you the opportunity to take courses at a local university, while some also have their own academic institutions which offer courses geared toward educating foreign students about the history and culture of their new home. Both course types can be highly rewarding, but keep in mind that the language barrier may prevent you from having full access to local university courses. If you are not planning to learn the language as part of your study abroad experience, then this may limit you to a smaller range of courses taught in English.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

In a way, it doesn’t really matter where you study sociology abroad, as long you have the developmental experience of traveling beyond your own cultural context and learning to view patterns of social interaction through a new lens. But more importantly, where you go will largely define how your growth manifests itself and how significant your learning is.

The world is at your front step and the door is wide open, so take a lot of time to carefully decide what type of experience you are searching for in a sociology study abroad program. When all is said and done, you will return home newly enlightened and most definitely more educated in the field of sociology.

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A Guide To
Studying Sociology Abroad

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CISabroad

Get a sneak peek at your future career in the heart of one of Western Europe’s cultural and business hubs. On Intern in Barcelona, you’ll gain relevant, career-oriented skills while living in a playful, lively city that rarely sleeps. We’ll tailor your internship to match your goals and interests, giving you real-world experience in your chosen field. There’s more to love about spending four to...

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American Institute For Foreign Study

Spend a semester or academic year in Barcelona with AIFS. Earn up to 15 credits studying at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). No previous Spanish language study is required. The Spanish Language, Liberal Arts and Business program gives you the chance to explore Spanish language, business and the humanities. You can take courses focusing on Catalonia and Spain, international and Eu...

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IES Abroad

The IES Abroad Madrid Program is designed for those who want to experience the vitality of Spain! Live in its capital city and through course enrollment at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), one of the country's most distinguished universities. Students enroll in Spanish language courses as well as courses in their academic major. Field study trips are organized to compliment spec...

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Boston University Study Abroad

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...

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Athena Study Abroad

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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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...

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Center For Study Abroad (CSA) - Budget Low Cost Programs Worldwide

Study at Cardiff University (CU). Join a low-cost program that lets you earn credits. The programme is open to all students and adults worldwide. A transcript will be issued by CU. Students can take Liberal Arts & Science courses taught in English. Cultural activities and excursions are included in the programme, as well as low-cost housing options. Students can choose between Semester, Year, ...

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Syracuse University

Study in the heart of London for a semester through Syracuse University's London Center program. You will take courses in liberal arts, as well as professional courses in architecture, music industry, design, business, public communications, and theater. This program includes internship placements in real work settings, allowing you to prepare for a career in today's highly globalized economy. ...

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University Studies Abroad Consortium

The Florianópolis program offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the incredibly diverse and dynamic culture of Brazil while living on a beautiful sub-tropical island and studying at one South America’s most prestigious universities. The program is ideal for students who want to learn about the world’s fifth-largest country, one of the fastest-growing economies (sixth-largest i...

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Academic Programs International

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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ISA (International Studies Abroad)

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...

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CIEE

Don’t just study complex environmental, development, and globalization issues – confront them in Thailand with CIEE. On the Development and Globalization program, your coursework is a springboard, propelling you into the field to interact with, learn from, and contribute to communities and organizations. You’ll examine issues of development and social justice on a grassroots level, and immerse ...

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The University of Minnesota

Study in this vibrant city with a centuries-old history of intellectual advances and social tolerance. Enjoy the college-town atmosphere, nightlife, and student-centered community. Choose beginning through advanced French language courses as well as courses in humanities, engineering, sciences, and business. Based at Paul Valéry University and at the University of Montpellier, this program p...

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Spanish Studies Abroad

Integrated Spanish Studies semester abroad in Seville gives advanced Spanish-level students the unique opportunity to take classes alongside Spanish students at Universidad de Sevilla, while benefiting from the cultural guidance, language tools, and academic quality that defines Spanish Studies Abroad programming. The program integrates thoughtful synthesis of homestays/life in the residencia...

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Semester at Sea

Semester at Sea is a global journey that brings students face-to-face with a diversity of our world's cultures and perspectives. Every spring and fall, Semester at Sea explores up to 11 developed and emerging countries and 15 cities on a 100-day voyage. Students represent nearly 25 different countries and 250 institutions, and with the faculty, staff, and crew become a supportive and collabo...