10 Colleges With Amazing Study Abroad Programs

If there’s one “regret” we hear echoed most frequently by college graduates – regardless of their level of future success – it’s that they wish they would have studied abroad. 

Those who took advantage of study abroad opportunities in college often remark that the summer, semester, or year away opened their eyes to new perspectives, experiences, and parts of their identities.

Most of the best colleges and universities in the United States offer study abroad programs across at least six of the seven continents. 

Some institutions even have campuses in different countries where undergraduates can fulfill many general education requirements. 

While most study abroad programs are attached to a price tag, there are often financial aid opportunities to fully or partially fund these invaluable experiences.

It can sometimes be overwhelming to peruse a college’s long list of available opportunities. Filtering programs according to an area of geographic interest, service learning opportunities, or preferred study area may be helpful. 

Many students elect to spend time in a different country because they wish to strengthen their foreign language proficiency.

We have compiled a list of ten U.S. schools with compelling study-abroad programs. 

Most of the schools on this list advertise semester-long, year-long, or summer abroad opportunities in addition to shorter trips that grant the chance to earn several credits quickly. 

If you’re searching for a college with abundant options and resources for funding your wanderlust, this list of the best study abroad programs in the U.S. may be the perfect place to start.

Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)

Northwestern University
Lacrossewi, Deering Library – Northwestern University, CC BY-SA 4.0

Northwestern University’s Global Learning Office (GLO) offers more than 150 study abroad, exchange, and internship programs across 50 countries. 

Over 700 Northwestern undergraduates earn credit annually in short- and long-term programs that take place over a semester, summer, or full academic year.

The GLO offers a Study Abroad Goals Assessment Tool to help students determine their reasons and desired outcomes for studying abroad. I

dentity considerations – like the desire to learn more about one’s heritage, develop proficiency in a second language, or participate in service learning – can help undergraduates narrow their list of potential programs to one that is more focused.

One of Northwestern’s featured programs – Public Health in Mexico – immerses participants in a six-week excursion of Mexico City, where they learn about unique challenges faced within Mexico’s diverse communities, visit famous landmarks like the pyramid cities of Teotihuacan, and visit rural health facilities.

Elon University (Elon, NC)

Elon undergraduates can pursue one of three study abroad options: short-term faculty-led programs, Elon Center programs, or dual degree programs.

Short-term programs generally focus on a specific subject and integrate various cultural activities into the program of studies. 

One such course example is GBL 2050 Through the Lens of ESPN: From Bristol to Beyond. In this program, students tour ESPN facilities and trace the organization’s history to understand relevant sports media issues better.

Three Elon Center programs are unique to the university. For example, the Elon Center in Florence, Italy, weaves four weekend study excursions, cultural events, and more into its academic program, which specializes in fine arts, dance, music, and Italian language and history studies.

Finally, dual degree programs position undergraduates in a foreign country for their last two years of study in a foreign country. 

Elon’s international business dual degree gives students a competitive edge over peer business school degree candidates by immersing them in major business hubs like Madrid, Spain; Reutlingen, Germany; and Reims, France.

Agnes Scott College (Decatur, GA)

Agnes Scott College
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

More than 46% of undergraduates at Agnes Scott College study abroad annually. Students can choose from more than 150 study-abroad programs in over 50 countries. 

GST 2023: Humanitarianism in Middle East History is a four-credit course in Jordan. Participants will examine the intersection of modern humanitarianism with Western imperialism in North Africa and the Middle East. 

They will spend two weeks traveling throughout Jordan to tour various humanitarian organizations and engage in cultural immersion.

Global Journeys serves as Agnes Scott’s foundational global learning curriculum. Faculty-led journeys afford four credits in various locations, all of which focus on four topics: globalization, identity, colonialism, and the ethics of travel. 

In Journeys 2023: Mesoamerican Maritime Culture in a Global Context, students travel to Belize to learn about the importance of coastal culture in pre- and post-colonial Mesoamerica. During this time, they’ll also confront the challenges of maintaining sustainable ecosystems.

Colorado College (Colorado Springs, CO)

Colorado College
Xnatedawgx, William L Spencer Center, Colorado College, CC BY-SA 4.0

Colorado College’s signature Block Plan creates study-abroad opportunities for up to 80% of the school’s graduates via flexible scheduling. 

Students can take advantage of four types of offerings: academic year away, summer block away, full/half semester block away, or partner-sponsored semesters.

The school consistently advertises seven full/half semester programs, which have their own specific focus. The TREE Semester – Teaching & Research in Environmental Education – takes place in the Colorado mountains, while Colorado College Russian in Bishkek is a half-semester Russian language immersion program in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Texas A&M University (College Station, TX)

Of Texas A&M’s 142 study abroad programs, many options focus on animal studies and environmental conservation.

One such program – Africa Wildlife Medicine Track 1 Summer – is geared for pre-veterinary majors interested in gaining hands-on experience with large animals. Participants practice placing catheters, administering drugs prior to surgery, and humane restraint.

Thousands of miles away, the Thailand Tropical Vet Med & Conservation program takes place over a month in the rainforest. 

Undergraduates care for elephants and take field trips to coral reefs, where they get the chance to earn a SCUBA certification and embark upon several dives. Other highlights include assisting in dog shelters, spending time at an elephant sanctuary, and ziplining through the jungle.

Over in Turks & Caicos, the Fundamentals of Marine Conservation summer program immerses students in the crystal clear waters of South Caicos, where they will investigate the habits of stingrays, sea turtles, and other local fish.

Emerson College (Boston, MA)

Emerson College hosts both domestic programs and study-abroad opportunities. At Kasteel well, 90 Emerson undergraduates spend three months living in a restored 14th-century medieval castle in the Netherlands. 

Here, the curriculum focuses on various liberal arts subjects, including travel writing, intercultural communication, and European literature.

Those admitted to the Berklee Valencia program in Spain can expect immersion in the musical culture of the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African regions and various parts of Europe. 

The curriculum explicitly emphasizes opportunities to learn about the music business, music technology, and performance.

Not far away, in Salzburg, Austria, the Creativity, Media & Global Change program accepts 75 Emerson students for the opportunity to join an international cohort of students in creating digital media strategic communication, developing business plans, and enjoying some of Austria’s most beloved landmarks. Undergraduates additionally get to visit the Alps.

Kalamazoo College (Kalamazoo, MI)

Kalamazoo undergraduates have 56 study abroad programs at their disposal, which take place in nearly 30 countries. Most students who take advantage of these opportunities do so in their junior year. Nearly 70% of Kalamazoo students participate in a study abroad program, which often involves a language-learning component.

The Trinidad-St. Augustine Spring Short-Term at the University of West Indies immerses students in intersectional examinations of gender and economic development in the Caribbean, which may appeal to business or political science majors.

Mathematics majors may opt for the Hungary, Budapest Long-Term Semester, where they will participate in challenging math, physics, and computer science classes in conjunction with Babilon language and culture courses. 

Extended-term opportunities in places like Shanghai and Beijing, China, provide the chance to grow proficiency in the Chinese language while exploring all of the region’s cultural richness.

The University of Washington (Seattle, WA)

University of Washington
Richardmouser, Campus Scene in March 2021 at Drumheller Fountain, Seattle, CC BY-SA 4.0

In addition to many study abroad opportunities, the University of Washington maintains a campus abroad called Rome in Residence

This brand new program allows undergraduates to complete their general education requirements and choose from five 5-credit courses centered on Roman history, culture, and archaeology.

Those seeking to study abroad might opt for a program like iSchool Ethiopia: Information Design Field Study. This three-week program takes place in Addis Ababa and positions participants with subject matter experts in mental health, education, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Alternatively, a program such as Landscape Architecture Nepal compels students to design small- and large-scale landscapes within developing urban areas of the Kathmandu Valley. Another sustainability-focused program takes place in Greece, where students conduct ethnographic interviews on current issues in design, equity, and social justice.

Goucher College (Baltimore, MD)

Goucher College
Wikieditor19920, PagliaroSelzHall, CC BY-SA 4.0

Goucher College has long been recognized as one of the best colleges in the United States to pursue study abroad opportunities. 100% of Goucher undergraduates experience study abroad immersions at no extra cost!

Intensive Courses Abroad (ICAs) are faculty-led excursions preceded by a weekly prerequisite. These ICAs typically launch from January through May and run in alternate years. 

A recent example – Alternative Media in the Balkans – transports students to locations like Belgrade, Serbia; Zagreb, Croatia; and Ljubljana, Slovenia,  with the intent of interrogating the Balkans’ history through interactive digital storytelling. 

Semester- and year-long programs like FU-BEST (Berlin European Studies) merge German language study with a curricular emphasis on German politics and history. Classes are small, and students enjoy many opportunities to visit German museums, opera houses, and theaters.

New York University (New York City, NY)

It’s no surprise that NYU offers unparalleled study abroad opportunities for undergraduates with diverse interests. The college maintains several degree-conferring institutions across the globe, including NYU Abu Dhabi

On this campus, students from more than 120 countries participate in classes no larger than 14 students. This campus may appeal to engineering majors, in particular.

Are you looking for something a little posher? NYU London offers coursework in a broad range of subjects, from business and international relations to psychology and Africana studies. At NYU Prague, the curricular focus is centered on the intersection of journalism and performance.

Study abroad opportunities also exist in dynamic cities like Tel Aviv, Israel, where students interested in archaeology and ancient studies can participate in an internship in Caesarea Maritima.