The Top 10 Best Places to Study Abroad for College Students

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College Study Abroad

College Study Abroad

One of the most exciting – and potentially challenging – decisions you’ll make once you’ve committed to living and learning abroad is finding the best place to study abroad. Some students know exactly where they want to go from the start and have to find a program that aligns with their academic goals in their desired global city. Others know what they plan to study but need help narrowing down where they’ll study it. Then there are those students who can’t choose just one global city and opt to study in multiple locations during their program to make the most of their time abroad. 

Whichever situation most closely aligns with yours, take a moment to get inspired by our list of 10 of the world’s most popular cities for study abroad students. These epic destinations are some of the top cities favorited by CIEE alums year after year, and one might be the right fit for YOU!  

1. Prague 

Prague, dubbed the City of a Hundred Spires, is a stunning destination made famous for its impressive historical architecture and its rich cultural life. A central European hub, Prague is among the more affordable capital cities in Europe, boasting an exceptional public transportation system that makes it easy for students to get around. World-famous writers, historians, and universities call Prague home, making it an exciting destination and a good place to study abroad, especially for those interested in business, arts, science, journalism, and more! 

When you study abroad in Prague, you can experience its rich history and culture for yourself through guided tours, day trips, hikes, excursions, and more.  

CIEE Prague is located within the medieval castle walls at Vyšehrad and about 15 minutes from the Old Town area. Depending on the program, students may choose to study at Charles University, the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU), or the Architectural Institute in Prague (ARCHIP).

ciee study abroad prague center

Learn more about CIEE Prague

2. Barcelona 

Barcelona, the capital of autonomous Catalonia, is a vibrant city along the northern coastline of Spain and is one of the most fun places to study abroad. Its historic architecture and art combine with a lively atmosphere to create an experience that is simultaneously tranquil and full of commotion. It’s an irresistible choice for students from around the world who are thrilled to take advantage of its well-respected higher education system. Barcelona study abroad students enjoy exploring its eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, seven beaches, and eight universities. There is so much to discover, which you can do through guided tours, day trips, hikes, and more.  

CIEE Barcelona is located near the main square, Plaza Catalunya, within walking distance of some of the city's top attractions. Students have the opportunity to study at the ESCI-UPF School of International Studies, Universitat de Vic (Central University of Catalonia), Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Universitat de Barcelona, or the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia.

Learn more about CIEE Barcelona

3. Berlin 

Berlin, the lively capital city of Germany, is a melting pot of history, architecture, and ideas. It’s a beautiful and welcoming city with reasonable living costs and excellent public transportation, making it a top place to study abroad. When you study abroad in Berlin, you’ll have many opportunities to explore the city’s multicultural neighborhoods, trendy hotspots, and popular landmarks through day trips, excursions, and more.  

CIEE Berlin is located in the Kreuzberg district with easy access to restaurants, shops, and more. Students have the opportunity to study at the Berlin School of Economics and Law or do internships and volunteer work.

excursion to berlin germany on a study abroad trip

Learn more about CIEE Berlin

4. Seville 

Seville – the city of a thousand faces, colors, tastes, and smells – is said by some to have been built by Hercules himself. Be it myth or fact, there is no doubt that Seville boasts a fascinating history and beautiful architecture. Located in southern Spain, Seville provides study abroad students with an authentic and immersive Spanish experience, complete with flamenco dancing, tasty tapas, and captivating surroundings. Studying abroad in Seville offers many opportunities to see the rich culture and history of the city through day trips, tours, hikes, and more.   

CIEE Seville is located in a 200-year-old palace within walking distance of the Universidad de Sevilla, EUSA, and the Royal Alcázar palace. Students have the opportunity to study at Universidad de Sevilla, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, or the EUSA School of Communications.

Learn more about CIEE Seville

5. Seoul 

Old truly meets new in the bustling metropolis of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. From its abundance of beautiful palaces and religious monuments to its modern high-rise buildings, exquisite cuisine, and booming K-Pop music scene, Seoul is one of the best places to study abroad. And its 3 million international students certainly agree! 

CIEE Seoul is located on the campus of Yonsei University, which is about 20 minutes from downtown and near Bukhansan National Park. Students have the opportunity to study at Yonsei University, participate in an internship, and/or complete volunteer work.

ciee seoul students wearing hanbok at a temple

Learn more about CIEE Seoul

6. Rome 

There is no place like Rome, where you can walk amidst 2,500 years of history. Visit the Pantheon. Explore Vatican City. Get inspired by the ancient Roman Forum. Walk the historic Spanish Steps. Because there is so much to experience, Rome is one of the best places to go abroad for students seeking a mix of history, culture, and adventure. 

CIEE Rome is located in the center of the city and is within walking distance from the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, and more. Students have the opportunity to study abroad at the Roma Te University or participate in internships and volunteer work.

Learn more about CIEE Rome

7. Paris 

Paris, the City of Lights, is one of the world’s most visited cities, and for good reason. It is the cultural epicenter of Europe and is famous for its art, culture, fashion, gastronomy, and world-renowned monuments. Study abroad students living in Paris are immersed in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and are able to take advantage of Parisian life through tours, excursions, and more.   

CIEE Paris is located near Grands Boulevards and the Louvre. Students are able to study at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle or the Université Paris Diderot.

Learn more about CIEE Paris

8. London 

London, the capital city of England, is one of the best cities to study abroad. With nearly 300 languages spoken throughout the city, 6,000 restaurants, 8,500 double-decker buses, and almost nine million residents, London is a modern, innovative destination with centuries of history waiting to be explored. Students looking for opportunities to explore can readily take advantage of day trips, boat trips, guided tours, and more as they immerse themselves in the rich culture. 

CIEE London is located in the heart of Bloomsbury, the academic center of London. Students are able to study abroad at the University of London, the University College London, and the University of Westminster.

ciee london study abroad excursion with students

Learn more about CIEE London

9. Cape Town 

Cape Town is among the most diverse cities, with 11 official languages, a warm Mediterranean climate, and thriving creative industries. The “Mother City” is both a fascinating and breathtaking spot to study abroad. It sits on the southernmost tip of Africa, between the icy Atlantic and warmer Indian oceans, with the flat-topped Table Mountain overlooking. The remarkable Cape Town offers endless possibilities students can experience through tours, excursions, and more.   

CIEE Cape Town is located in the Rondebosch district near the University of Cape Town’s campus. Students have the opportunity to study at the University of Cape Town or take advantage of internships and volunteer work.

Learn more about CIEE Cape Town

10. Madrid 

Madrid, the capital of Spain, is a welcoming, diverse destination considered to be one of the coolest places to study abroad. It’s a charming city famous for world-class museums, tapas bars, a lively sports scene, and centuries-old architecture. As the political and cultural center of the country, Madrid is an essential player in global economies. Students have many opportunities to experience Madrid life to the fullest and are able to take advantage of the city through tours, excursions, classes, and more. 

CIEE Madrid is located near the Puerta de Sol, and students have the opportunity to study at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid or take advantage of internships and volunteer work.

Learn more about CIEE Madrid

Get on Your Way!

While this list is by no means comprehensive, it provides a great jumping-off point for you to explore where in the world you’d like to study abroad. To learn more about these locations – or to explore all of our 30+ amazing cities around the world – visit our top study abroad locations page and start planning your epic adventure! 

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