Where do most American students study abroad? Well, the short answer is Europe, with over 50% of students choosing the continent as their destination. Ease of nearby travel, a relatively light cultural transition, and popular language options more could all contribute to those numbers. But what specifically are the most popular cities for Americans? We’ll show you the list here and also give advice on a one nearby destination you have to visit if you study in one of those cities.
According to the most recent IIE Open Doors Report, here are the top five cities (and our recommended nearby place to visit if you study there):
1. United Kingdom- London (12%)
London tops the list again, making it over 15 years in a row. If you spend a summer, fall, or spring semester there, our favorite nearby spot is Windsor Castle:
Windsor Castle is a beautiful 11th century royal residence that spans 13 acres, entailing a castle, fortifications, and a small town. If you go, try to see the changing of the royal guard, check online for the specific time. Two Brewers is the most famous pub in town, but we recommend the Boatman in the summertime. Windsor is less than an hour away from London, making it a perfect day trip to explore the castle and gardens, grab lunch, and then head back to the city.
Honorable Mention: Dover, Stonehedge, Bath
2. Italy- Rome (11%)
Italy has it all: incredible beaches, stunning mountains, some of the world’s best food, history, and more. Given that most students study in Rome (over Florence and Milan), our favorite nearby spot is the Amalfi Coast:
The Amalfi Coast is breathtaking. Incredible rock mountain faces line the water, as well as stone arches and caves (i.e., the Blue Grotto). Definitely visit Capri and Positano, but we also recommend taking a boat with a local guide for a ride down the coast. Most are reasonably priced and can show you caves similar to the Blue Grotto without swarms of tourists. If you study abroad in Italy, do not leave without visiting Amalfi!
Honorable Mention: Cinque Terra, Lake Como, Siena/Tuscany
3. Spain- Madrid (9%)
Maybe a lot of students choose Spain because Spanish is the most studied language in American schools, but it could also be the fact that the nightlife scene is one-of-a-kind. For that reason, our favorite nearby spot is the island of Ibiza:
If you’ve heard of Ibiza, then you know that this picture above does not show why college students (and wealthy travelers) head to this island off the Eastern coast of Spain. The real attraction of Ibiza is the nightlife and party scene, including famous clubs like Amnesia, Privilege, Space, and Ushuaia. Go to a paint party or foam party that they have there and either you will never forget the experience, or you will never remember it.
Honorable Mention: Granada, El Abaracin, Montserrat, Salamanca
4. France- Paris (6%)
What is not to love about Paris, la Ville de L’amour? Plenty of students chose this city as a place to hone in their French skills and maybe up their game on cooking. Few study abroad students, however, take advantage of the incredible mountains to the east, which is why we recommend Chamonix:
Chamonix is the perfect spot for all skiers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Dramatic views make this place a profile-pic magnet, for good reason. If you go, just enjoy the outdoors: hike or go mountain biking in the summer, or enjoy skiing or snowboarding in the winter. Also check out Lac Blanc for some great views of an alpine lake with mountain peaks in the background. For study abroad students, we recommend going in warmer weather to avoid expensive winter sport prices while still having plenty of great things to do.
Honorable Mention: Mont St Michel, Eze, St Tropez, Versailles
5. China- Beijing (4%)
China is arguably harder to travel around compared with Europe, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of stuff to see. With that being said, make sure to visit the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park:
Just from looking at these rock formations, it’s not surprising that they were the inspiration for the “Hallelujah Mountains” in the movie Avatar. These stunning jagged cliffs offer a spectacular natural view to visitors who make the trek to see them. In addition, it has the Bailong Elevator (the world’s tallest lift) and other places to see within the Wulingyuan Scenic Area. Probably every study abroad student in China sees the Great Wall, but far fewer make it out to Zhangjiajie.
Honorable Mention: the Great Wall, Longqing Gorge, Terra Cotta Warriors
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We hope you enjoyed the blog post! Feel free to comment below or share. If you’re curious about our favorite places and recommendations are within each of these countries or cities, keep an eye out for our upcoming Rayka app. For study abroad individuals, Rayka is the first platform where students can see the favorite places and recommendations of past students. The platform launches on May 12th!
- photo credit: JackPeasePhotography <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/76253421@N04/17455912221″>Windsor Castle, Berkshire, from the Long Walk</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
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- photo credit: Oleg Sidorenko via Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/oksidor/3351780333/in/photolist-67bKw6-EEdNhV-cACBU1-nN4S4V-o7jGHi-o7jL6F-cYPpB7-nN4kBJ-nE78o7-nN4iT4-o5rqJS-o5xEVi-o5qYJ7-6fj6rR-7S1wZE-6sz7vQ-bPETnx-nN3KEf-o3v6gw-o3v1X1-o5qWTy-67bKd2-o7jD8x-nN4ZCx-nN48A9-nE88Li-nUy4JL-nAuvt1-nAuw2V-nUKF4Z-o5qXp3-o5rd2N-nN4eMh-zCvTCN-4zhKaj-bUNAyN-bUNthQ-ehcBAv-yHMLJm-nE7fN7-nE7j11-nWisfR-6sxc5J-o5eR2n-67bKh8-6icRpr-nWAF4r-nE7hBQ-dRp1SY-dRis64
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