The top study abroad destinations for Americans are highly saturated in Western Europe: The UK, France, Spain, Italy, and Ireland. These countries are amazing and are fabulous hosts to any study abroad student looking to soak up different cultures, travel on weekends and breaks, and have an all-around good time. But if you're looking for something a little more unique - a little more under-the-radar - check out these cool destinations before you decide where to study abroad.
1. Ecuador and the Galapagos
Don't just read about Charles Darwin's findings on the Galapagos Islands in your textbook - experience it for yourself. The Galapagos are about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador and teeming with marine life and ecosystems. Sounds like bio lab just got a lot more interesting.
What to study: biological sciences, environmental science, Spanish language
2. Cape Town, South Africa
A few of my friends studied abroad in South Africa and said they had the time of their lives. You'll never run out of things to do in Cape Town, with stunning coastline, Table Mountain, and the winelands within arm's reach. Learn more about the Apartheid and Nelson Mandela's role in shaping the country's politics, take a weekend out of town to go on an African safari, or head to Durban for a city with Indian influence.
What to study: hospitality, international relations, animal sciences, social sciences
3. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is a popular study abroad destination, but it gets far less attention than the European countries previously mentioned. Prague will save you loads of money comparatively, considering they're on the koruna and not the euro. Discover awesome, historic Bohemia during the week and take advantage of the countries in close vicinity- Poland and Germany are two border countries just a train ride away, and you can reach pretty much the rest of Europe by train or plane within a few hours.
What to study: history, liberal arts
4. Auckland, New Zealand
Australia always gets the attention in this region of the world, but take a refreshing route when you study abroad with New Zealand. The beautiful outdoors are waiting for you after class, and the laid back atmosphere is just what you'll need before returning to the hustle and bustle of your home campus. Plus, Australia is only a few hour's flight away.
What to study: sustainability, earth science, business
5. Vienna, Austria
This city is smack in the center of Central Europe, and truly divides Western Europe from Eastern Europe. Vienna is known for being safe, bike-friendly, and full of history. Marvel at the classical architecture from the old city contrasted with the new, modern structures. You'll also casually walk past statues of Mozart and other classical musicians, who formerly lived/composed in the city.
What to study: music, history, German language