What to consider when choosing a study abroad location

Authored By:

Claire B.

One of the first and possibly most difficult steps of studying abroad is choosing where to go abroad. CIEE offers so many programs in so many different destinations that it can be incredibly overwhelming, after all, there is so much of the world to see that it's hard to make a decision. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a study abroad location, however here are the few things I think you should focus on when weighing your options


Weather is incredibly influential on the culture and what type of experience you will have in any given country so you need to be very aware of the particular climate when you are looking into locations. I enjoy the rain, so a colder or more rainy climate wasn't a turn-off for me. I have studied in both London and Copenhagen so if I hated rain I would be in for a world of trouble, but if you're looking for something sunnier and warmer I suggest looking somewhere else.

City size

City size can play a huge factor in the culture of a city. For example, London is a massive city and when you are there you are aware of just how large it is. On the other Copenhagen is an incredibly small city and its culture is a lot more about coziness and comfort. City size also impacts what type of commute you will have, weather that be biking, public transportation or walking. When choosing where you want to go you need to first decide if you want a more big city or small city feel because it can impact a lot of other aspects of your experience. 

Classes Offered 

CIEE offers a variety of different types of programs and different areas of study. It’s important to look at the different classes offered within each block and what areas of study you would be most interested in. I’m studying journalism so I was a lot more drawn to the communications and media courses that CIEE offers. It's also important to talk with your home university and see what classes you can transfer for credit back home. Each university has different requirements and regulations so be sure to check in with them as well. 


Look into the culture of each country you're considering and also evaluate what type of study abroad experience you want for yourself. If you want a more calm and cozy vibe, I would look into areas that prioritize those things, but if you want a more on-the-go and busy vibe, look to places that offer that. A great place to start would be to look up what a typical day looks like in that particular place and think if you could see yourself in that situation. If you can't, that particular location probably isn't for you. 

If you are struggling to choose just one location, you're in luck because CIEE offers an open-campus program that allows you to choose three different 6-week blocks so you can study around the world. There are a variety of different classes and areas of study offered within the open-campus block program so you aren’t limited to one area just because of the classes. You also don’t have to go for all three blocks, so there is a lot of flexibility within this program that you don’t typically see in others. The open-campus program allows you to experience so many different cultures and experience so much more so if you're indecisive, the open-campus block program is for you!