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Top Destinations to Study Abroad

Written By
By Munira Maricar
Travel Writer
25 Best Places to Study Abroad: 10 Countries and 25 Program Destinations

Have you ever dreamed of studying in a place so different from home that every day feels like an adventure? Whether you’re in high school or thinking about your college options, studying abroad could be the game-changer you’re looking for. It’s not just about getting a top-notch education; it’s about experiencing new cultures, making lifelong friends from around the world, and gaining a perspective that could truly change your life. 

But, with so many amazing destinations out there how do you choose? And once you’ve decided, what’s next on your study abroad to-do list? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with insights into the academic strengths of these countries, cultural experiences, and practical tips for navigating your journey abroad.

Practical Tips for Studying Abroad

Volunteer Forever - Study Abroad Stories & Advice from Student Travelers
  • Start with a Study Abroad To-Do List: Organize your application deadlines, visa requirements, and budget.
  • Research Study Abroad Scholarships: Education abroad can be pricey, but many organizations and universities offer scholarships to help.
  • Consult with Study Abroad Experts: Find consultants who can offer personalized advice and options based on your academic and personal preferences.
  • Understand the Impact: How studying abroad can change your life is profound. It broadens your perspectives, enhances employability, and fosters independence.
  • Consider the Costs: Be realistic about expenses. Studying abroad is an investment in your future, but it’s important to plan financially.

Top Study Abroad Destinations

1. New Zealand: A Nature Lover’s Classroom

Volunteer Forever - Volunteer in New Zealand

New Zealand is more than just beautiful scenery from movies; it’s perfect for students who love learning outdoors. It’s known for top programs in environmental studies, marine biology, and geology, turning national parks and oceans into classrooms. This approach makes learning vivid and engaging.

Besides the unique academic opportunities, New Zealand’s friendly vibe makes settling in easy. Locals are welcoming, helping international students feel at home and part of the community. This combination of innovative education, stunning nature, and a supportive atmosphere makes New Zealand a top choice for studying abroad, offering both a degree and an adventure.

This is an ideal location if you’re studying:

Pro Tip: Look into study abroad scholarships to help with the costs, as studying abroad in New Zealand can be expensive.

2. Costa Rica: Pura Vida


Costa Rica is a top choice for students interested in environmental science and sustainability, embodying the “Pura Vida” (pure life) philosophy that highlights its dedication to conservation. This setting offers a rich immersion in Spanish and hands-on experiences in diverse ecosystems, from rainforests to beaches. 

Students can engage in impactful sustainability projects, learning about conservation, sustainable agriculture, and more. This blend of academic and practical experiences in a country committed to ecological preservation makes studying in Costa Rica a uniquely enriching journey, preparing students to be future leaders in sustainability.

This is an ideal location if you’re studying:

Pro Tip: Try out an all-inclusive program to limit hassles and save on cost! Maximo Nivel in Costa Rica offers classes all year, with different schedules and a wide range of programs. You can choose to be in the city of San Jose or near the beach in Manuel Antonio. The all-inclusive approach covers accommodations, meals, and various extracurricular activities. By partnering with St. Cloud State University, Maximo Nivel also ensures students can earn academic credit, making it a smart choice if you want to learn and live in Costa Rica.

3. France: A Feast for the Mind and Soul

25 Best Places to Study Abroad: 10 Countries and 25 Program Destinations - France

France is renowned for its excellence in arts, fashion, and gastronomy, making it a prime destination for students. It hosts prestigious institutions, excelling in humanities and business studies. Living in France means immersing yourself in a culture that celebrates intellectualism, history, and culinary arts. Learning French not only enhances your communication skills but also enriches your cultural understanding and boosts career opportunities. 

Studying here offers a blend of top-notch education and a deep dive into a culture known for its global influence in arts and cuisine, making France a uniquely attractive choice for studying abroad.

This is an ideal location if you’re studying:

Pro Tip: Embrace the local culture and language fully to enrich your study abroad experience.

Australia: Diverse and Dynamic

Volunteer abroad for free - no-fee projects, scholarships, fundraising

Australia is a top choice for students worldwide, offering cutting-edge education across diverse fields like marine biology and engineering. Known for its innovative research facilities, Australia provides a rich academic experience. The country’s diverse culture and welcoming atmosphere make it easy for international students to fit in. 

Beyond academics, Australia’s laid-back lifestyle, beautiful beaches, and unique wildlife add to the appeal, offering a perfect balance of study and adventure. Vibrant student life with clubs, events, and outdoor activities ensures a fulfilling experience. This blend of quality education, cultural diversity, and an exciting lifestyle positions Australia as an outstanding destination for studying abroad.

This is an ideal location if you’re studying:

Pro Tip: Australia is a huge country, so take advantage of the extensive travel opportunities to explore its diverse landscapes, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Outback, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural experiences each region offers.

5. Italy: Living History

25 Best Places to Study Abroad: 10 Countries and 25 Program Destinations - Italy

Italy is a top choice for those into history, art, and architecture, serving as a living museum with esteemed universities in humanities, arts, and design. Immersing in Italian culture, students gain direct access to historical sites and art masterpieces beyond what any textbook offers. 

From ancient ruins and Renaissance art to everyday life in vibrant cities, Italy’s rich cultural heritage provides a unique and comprehensive learning experience. This, combined with the chance to dive into the Italian way of life, including its cuisine and fashion, makes studying in Italy an enriching journey, blending academic growth with cultural immersion.

This is an ideal location if you’re studying:

Pro Tip: Universities in Italy often host events, workshops, and social gatherings specifically designed for international students. Getting involved can be invaluable for networking, making friends, and finding a support system away from home.

6. Spain: A Cultural Tapestry

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Spain is a fantastic place for students from around the world to study. It’s known for its different cultures and traditions in each area, making it a great spot for those who want to learn Spanish and explore European culture. People in Spain are super friendly, which helps international students feel welcome quickly. 

Plus, living and studying in Spain can be less expensive than in other European countries. Whether you’re exploring the busy streets of Madrid, enjoying the art in Barcelona, discovering history in Granada, or tasting delicious food in Valencia, Spain offers a wide range of experiences. 

This is an ideal location if you’re studying:

Pro Tip: Spain is affordable, but budgeting is key. Also, learning some Spanish before you go can be a big plus.

Recommended Study Abroad Providers

Maximo Nivel

Maximo Nivel's TEFL

Maximo Nivel provides distinctive study abroad opportunities in Latin America, blending academic learning with cultural immersion. Known for its affordability and top-tier support, Maximo Nivel offers flexible programs in university courses, Spanish classes, internships, or service learning, available year-round. 

Included in the program fees, students enjoy organized accommodations, meals, transportation, and 24/7 support, enhancing their study experience beyond the traditional. With campuses equipped with modern amenities and located in areas rich in culture and natural beauty, Maximo Nivel ensures students are guaranteed an enriching experience that extends well beyond the classroom.

Available Fields of Study include

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) 

Volunteer Forever - Spanish Immersion Programs

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) revolutionizes the concept of studying abroad by combining volunteer work with earning academic credit, offering a richer, more affordable alternative to traditional programs. 

Unlike conventional study abroad experiences that often confine students to campus life, IVHQ immerses participants in local cultures through homestay accommodations and hands-on projects in the community. IVHQ’s programs are flexible, catering to various schedules with options ranging from two to 24 weeks, and stand out for their affordability. They provide a cost-effective way to accelerate degree plans while gaining unique experiences that enhance resumes and personal growth. 

By volunteering abroad with IVHQ, students can earn academic credits faster and in a more engaging manner, making it an ideal option for those seeking to combine travel, learning, and community service.

Projects Abroad

short term volunteering with Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad offers a unique opportunity to gain academic credit while volunteering abroad through the first-ever fully accredited Diploma in International Volunteering. In partnership with the Centre for Global Citizenship Studies (CGCS), Projects Abroad has designed three bespoke level 3 International Volunteering Diplomas in Marine Conservation, Wildlife Conservation, and Global Citizenship. 

These diplomas are available for anyone volunteering with Projects Abroad and cover five modules, blending online learning with practical experience. Participants can earn this diploma alongside their volunteer project, gaining around 6 hours of study per week over a period of 6 weeks to 12 months. 

This diploma not only bolsters your professional development but also positions you as a global citizen, ready to tackle complex challenges in your field of interest. Accredited by the National Open College Network (NOCN) in the UK, the credits are internationally transferable, making this an invaluable addition to your academic and professional journey.

International TEFL Academy

Earn your TEFL certificate and teach English abroad with ITA

For those studying languages or wanting to become educators, the International TEFL Academy (ITA) offers an excellent pathway with its accredited TEFL certification courses for teaching English abroad and online. Established in 2010, ITA is recognized globally for quality and has certified over 40,000 teachers, who are now teaching in more than 80 countries. 

With courses available online and in over 20 international locations, including Asia, Europe, and Latin America, ITA caters to a wide range of aspirations. Each course, accredited and adhering to international standards, ensures graduates are well-prepared and widely recognized. Beyond the comprehensive training, ITA provides lifetime job search guidance, equipping future educators with the necessary tools and support for a successful career in teaching English worldwide.

Global Vision International (GVI)


A GVI research fellowship is a standout opportunity for students aiming to study abroad. This program stands out for its unique opportunity to not only complete your studies but also to become a co-author of a paper and get published. 

Through hands-on research in community development, you contribute to sustainable solutions and gain invaluable fieldwork experience. Under expert supervision, your work directly impacts local communities, providing a practical context to your academic pursuits. 

This immersive experience extends beyond traditional classroom learning, allowing you to apply your knowledge in diverse global settings, enhancing your resume, and setting the stage for a successful career by publishing your findings. A GVI fellowship is more than just study abroad; it’s a chance to make a lasting impact and jumpstart your professional journey.

Internships Abroad with Academic Credit

If you don’t want to study abroad, you can still fulfill your academic requirements by doing internships abroad. Internships abroad let you put what you’ve learned in class into action in real jobs, meet new people in your field, and learn about different cultures. Explore the providers below for top-rated internships abroad:

Maximo Nivel

Volunteer Forever | Summer Abroad Internships for Students

Maximo Nivel offers incredible internships abroad in Latin America that not only let you gain practical work experience but also immerse you in a new culture. Available year-round, these internships range from 4 to 24 weeks, making it easy to fit into your schedule. Program fees include accommodation, meals, Spanish classes, and more. Plus, you can earn academic credit.

Internships available in the following career fields:

Intern Abroad HQ


Intern Abroad HQ offers a unique chance to boost your career and discover your potential through internships abroad in 24 exciting countries. With over 270 programs ranging from 2 to 24 weeks, you’re sure to find an internship that fits your goals, budget, and schedule. Program fees include accommodation, meals, and more, ensuring a stress-free experience. You can earn academic credits, all while working with English-speaking professionals or practicing local languages. 

Internships available in the following career fields:



Founded in 2006, GoEco has grown into a leading organization in volunteer tourism, offering internships that not only promise personal mentorship but also a chance to make a real impact. Completing an internship with GoEco sets you apart in the job market, providing you with valuable references and unique experiences that highlight your commitment to making a difference.

Internships are available in the following career fields:

Projects Abroad


Projects Abroad offers international internships in a variety of fields. Whether you’re a student looking for a summer adventure or someone eager to add global work experience to your resume, Projects Abroad has a tailored internship waiting for you. With options ranging from short to long-term placements in over 25 destinations, you’ll develop essential skills while receiving expert guidance and support.

Internships available in the following career fields:

African Impact


Embark on an unforgettable adventure with African Impact’s internships in Africa, perfect for gap years, students, or career changers. Since 2004, we’ve offered unique opportunities to grow, learn new skills, and make a real difference. Choose from projects located in Zambia, Cape Town, Zanzibar, South Africa, and Kenya. Program costs include accommodation, meals, airport transport, and more, ensuring a life-changing and sustainable impact on local communities. Get ready for a journey that will transform your perspective and career.

Internships available in the following career fields:

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI)


Involvement Volunteers International (IVI) has been operating for over 35 years and focuses on making a real, lasting impact in communities with genuine needs. As a non-profit, IVI ensures placements are affordable and provides flexibility with over 100+ projects in 20 countries. 

Internships available in the following career fields:

Volunteering Solutions


Volunteering Solutions (VolSol) offers students the chance to gain meaningful work experience through affordable internships abroad. With programs in Thailand, India, Nepal, Peru, and more, VolSol provides unique opportunities for students over 18 to work in international settings and learn first-hand in their chosen field. Whether you’re on a career break or looking for a summer project, these internships are available year-round and are crafted to offer comprehensive on-the-job training. 

Internships available in the following career fields:

Global Vision International (GVI)

Divemaster internship in Mexico with GVI

GVI offers a hands-on approach to help you explore career paths relating to conservation and community development projects. With internships in diverse, remote habitats, you’ll contribute to vital research, gain unique skills, and work alongside real project partners. This immersive experience not only enhances your employability but also develops leadership skills and offers a deep cultural immersion. 

Internships available in the following career fields:

Is It Worth It?

Hospitality and tourism internships worldwide

Absolutely. While studying abroad presents challenges, including adapting to a new culture and managing expenses, the benefits are unmatched. It’s not just about the academic credits; it’s about growing as a person, gaining global insights, and building a network that spans continents.

Whether you’re looking to study abroad as a high school student or at a higher education level, the world is full of opportunities waiting to be explored. Dive into the adventure of a lifetime, and remember, the journey is as important as the destination.