If you’re an overwhelmed college student staring at the huge stack of pamphlets for study abroad programs, you’re not alone. Picking a study abroad destination is hard, especially when there are so many amazing cities and countries to travel to! Here is a compiled list with 7 best places to study abroad in Europe.
If you’re still debating whether or not to go abroad, here are 5 reasons you have to study abroad! Seriously, it’ll change your life.
If you’re going to study abroad, chances are that you’ll be traveling to all the nearby countries on your bucket list anyways!
When choosing a place to study abroad, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Would you be comfortable living in this city for a longer time period?
- Are airports easily accessible for travel ease?
- Are there any language barriers?
- Do the programs fulfill your major requirements?
7 Best Places To Study Abroad In Europe
1. London, England.
I’m biased. I did my study abroad in London at University College London, and it was the best (with many highs and lows, of course) six months of my life. Another option is King’s College London! I personally recommend UCL simply for its amazing location within London.
- Cheap travel to the rest of Europe
- Minimal culture shock
- English-speaking country
- Free museums
- Rich history
- Amazing night life
- Food markets
- IT’S LONDON
- Terrible weather! (I’m talking about 4 PM sunsets in the winter.)
- Culture isn’t THAT different from American culture, so you won’t be experiencing something entirely new (if that’s what you’re going for)
- Expensive! London isn’t cheap, esp. if you’ll be eating out often.
- Tourist traps. EVERYWHERE. It’s one of the most-traveled to destinations, and once April hits, you’ll find yourself swimming through tourists to get to class.
2. Zurich, Switzerland
I highly recommend Switzerland if you’re looking for a quieter few months for your study abroad program. I went to Switzerland TWICE during my time abroad, because I loved it so much. Everyone I met was incredibly kind.
As an Asian-American, it’s hard to have a racism-free traveling experience in Europe. I confidently say that I didn’t experience any rude comments or poor treatment while traveling in Switzerland. This is the only country I traveled to in Europe thus far where I can say I had a truly racism-free experience.
- Natural beauty. Everything is beautiful in Switzerland.
- Unique culture, with multiple spoken languages across the country
- Small country makes it easy to travel to tons of cities!
- Sky-diving, paragliding, skiing, and more outdoor sports!
- Best tap water I’ve ever tasted(: Amazing milk and cheese, too!
- Close proximity to tons of countries within Europe makes it easy for travel!
- Expensive! I thought London was expensive, until I came to Switzerland.
3. Edinburgh, Scotland
I had the chance to visit a college friend for a week while she studied at the University of Edinburgh, and I was fascinated by the layered city. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, you’ll get the chance to visit Tom Riddle’s grave, as well as a sprinkle of coffee shops where J.K. Rowling sat to write the books.
- Stunning city, with beautiful architecture that you won’t see anywhere else. You can literally stand on a street, look down, and see another street of cars beneath you. It’s incredible.
- Great combination of city and nature–you get the best of both worlds!
- Hills for days. If you live far from your classes (and it’s winter), it’s going to be a little harder to trudge up and down all those hills/stairs!
- No train/metro system within the city. There’s a decent bus system, but you don’t have the luxury of something like The London Underground.
4. Barcelona, Spain
If you’re looking for endless tapas, sangria, and stunning architecture, then Barcelona could be the best place to study abroad for you. Only downside? You’ll never want to leave! My friends and I decided to visit Barcelona as our spring break trip, and it was one of the highlights of my study abroad experience.
- The food is amazing. Nothing beats the price and tastiness of tapas and sangria by the beach.
- Summer programs are highly recommended, and you’ll get to experience Barcelona in all its beautiful weather!
- Siesta! In the afternoons, you can take a break from the day to unwind before heading to parties at 1 A.M. I’m serious, the bars don’t open until at least midnight.
- Siesta can be a little hard to get used to, because many stores and restaurants will close until 6-7 P.M.
- If you’re not a Spanish or Catalan speaker, it might be slightly rough to order food from restaurants frequented by locals. I was able to get by with 4 years of basic high school Spanish!
- Beware of pickpockets!
5. Aix-en-Provence, France
Aix-en-Provence is a beautiful university city in the south of France with beautiful countrysides and the best rosè. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a small-town feel without the endless bustling of Paris. I had the chance to visit for a few days when I was making my way through the south of France.
- Better language immersion. If you’re learning French and looking to improve, sticking yourself in a place that isn’t Paris is going to give you more opportunities to practice your language skills.
- Great food culture. French food culture will never cease to amaze me. It’s something you HAVE to experience if you ever make a trip to Europe.
- Smaller towns can make you feel more immersed in local culture. It’s not as much of a tourist trap as Paris or London, so you won’t suffer from crazy living expenses.
- Generally not the most progressive area as you leave larger, more diverse cities. (Not my own words, but one of my friends from the south of France told me this). As an Asian-American, I didn’t feel the most welcome at times.
- With a population of 160,000, Aix-en-Provence is definitely smaller than some other cities in France.
- If you’re not a French speaker (and you don’t have plans to learn), try looking elsewhere. It’ll be hard to get around with just English.
6. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, where you’ll get the chance to visit historical sites and attend classes in beautiful palaces. This is one of the best study abroad destinations because you’ll have the chance to choose from a wide array of subjects and explore the city without dreading the expenses you’ll rack up compared to London.
- Cultural center for art and music
- Affordable living expenses (!!!)
- Amazing nightlife
- Home to Einstein, Mozart, and more!
- Unique, vibrant culture with stunning architecture
- Tourist traps (as with most big cities, but they can be avoided once you get used to living like a local!)
7. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is the best place to study abroad if you’re studying progressive politics, equality, business, economics, or sustainable city planning. The structure of the city is one you’ll never see anywhere else, with a huge focus on biker rights instead of cars. Amsterdam isn’t afraid of anything, and that creates a healthy environment for difficult, but vital conversations! They have weed and sex museums. You don’t find that anywhere else.
- Liberal city with progressive ideals (they have laws on tolerance!)
- Night life unlike anything you’ll ever see. The Red Light District was interesting to just walk through in the evenings!
- Huge cultural center for arts and music!
- Great food!
- Everyone I met was really nice here! This always makes me want to return to a country/city!
- Getting used to navigating the streets and crosswalks can be hard with so many biker lanes! Bikers have the right of way in every situation, which can be a little rough to get used to since American are used to having the right of way as pedestrians.
There are so many amazing cities in Europe to study abroad in. The amazing thing is that traveling through Europe is SO easy, so you can easily check off all the cities on your bucket list! I’m talking about budget airline flights (RyanAir was a favorite) that are around $30 per ticket. I once spent $35 on a roundtrip ticket from London to Berlin!
These are some great cities to add to your potential places to study abroad. Of course, what everyone is looking for is different. Make sure you choose a city that you’ll see yourself thriving in for a few months! Good luck!