If you are an urban and regional planning major, you are probably going to a top-notch university, with excellent faculty and resources, and reading a lot of books about how cities are designed and built all around the world. All this reading is crucial to your education, but something may still be nagging you: you may not want to merely read about cities, you may want to see them, to explore them, and to immerse yourself in the incredible infrastructure and design of an international metropolis. A study abroad program in urban and regional planning can fulfill all these desires, and introduce you to theories, concepts, and a literal world of possibilities.
Why Study Urban & Regional Planning Abroad
You have to look beyond the page. In a field that revolves so heavily around comprehensive skill sets and well-balanced experiences, it seems imprudent to not study urban and regional planning abroad. Poring over textbooks and memorizing facts can only take you so far in such a hands on field. Studying abroad will allow you to expand your classroom skills and knowledge to a level previously unattainable.
Being able to study and learn from not only experts in the field, but professionals and master-planners from other countries and cities will be an invaluable asset to your urban planning arsenal. You will be able to explore the deep, sprawling infrastructure of cities around the world, as you earn credits toward your urban and regional planning degree, heighten your professional skills, and become the most well rounded student and professional you can be.
In a field where location is the name of the game, choosing what country you would like to study urban and regional planning abroad in makes all the difference. Carefully weigh your options, and dig deeper to decide what aspects of the field interest you most. Depending on your interests, it is likely there is a location that has exactly what you are looking for. Highlighted below are just a few possible destinations with excellent urban and regional planning study abroad program opportunities.
Brazil. Countries like Brazil take infrastructure and urban planning to the next level. Comprised of developing metropolises, bustling favelas (slums), and everything in between, Brazil proves to be an ideal destination to study urban and regional planning abroad. Most study abroad programs in Brazil will revolve around the study of design, construction, and planning.
Netherlands. A country known for its rolling hills, gorgeous landscapes, and historic streets, students can find a wealth of urban and regional planning study abroad programs in the Netherlands. Known for being home to one of the world’s largest bicycling populations, students can explore how cities accommodate this mode of transport and how city dwellers can integrate it seamlessly into a city’s public transport system. A typical urban and regional planning study abroad program in the Netherlands will entail a specific focus on population dynamics, spatial sciences, and human geography.
Costa Rica. Studying urban and regional planning abroad in Costa Rica offers students the opportunity to learn and live in a rural, but rapidly developing environment. Students seeking multi-disciplinary coursework and hands on applications can find the perfect opportunity in this tropical region.Study Abroad programs in Costa Rica are specifically great for students with backgrounds in architecture, landscape and resource management, and international development.
Courses & Programs
Specific courses offered in urban and regional planning can vary greatly depending on the specificities of the host country, as well as the affiliated academic institution you study abroad with. That being said, most schools tend to offer courses in the areas of history and theory of urban planning, urban design, land use and planning law, urban economics, and urban planning practice.
It is strongly recommended that related courses, such as statistics, engineering, and architecture, be taken prior to studying urban and regional planning abroad; although, many of these topics will also be the focus of urban and regional planning programs abroad. Therefore, studying abroad after your sophomore or junior year of college might be your best bet, as it is a time when you will already be familiar with your field, may have chosen an area of specialty, and will have taken enough core classes to be prepared for an international program.
Browsing course catalogues and international urban and regional planning study abroad programs can be an excellent way to being your research and help you narrow down or refine your search. Inquire early on as to what urban and regional planning courses are offered in which countries, and of course, what direct benefits taking those particular classes in that country might possess. Additionally, it is always crucial to look into possible language requirements, specifically South American or Spanish speaking countries, and speak with your advisor or department head prior to registration to be sure your courses are pre-approved. Sometimes it is easier to get summer or winter programs approved, as they won’t interfere with your regular course schedule.
In today’s quickly expanding international world, the field of urban and regional planning has become an area that requires an immense amount of experience and inter-disciplinary skill. Studying urban and regional planning abroad will not only broaden your education, it will prove to be a gateway for your future career. Time spent studying how international cities are designed, built, and sustained while living and studying in an international city will be an invaluable asset to your arsenal and personal marketability.
Making the decision to study urban and regional planning abroad will be a life-altering experience that will allow you to dive headfirst into an exciting, albeit daunting, field. Simply put, the experience, knowledge, and real world applications of your time studying urban and regional planning abroad will set you apart from the competition, and open your eyes to the incredible opportunities in the field on an international scale.