Salsa, spiritualism or Shanghai nights? Thinking about studying abroad? Look beyond the usual destinations. There’s a whole world out there!
Study abroad is about broadening your horizons and experiencing something new. So why do so many students choose the same destinations? Yes, the UK and the US are wonderful places to be a student; The Sorbonne in Paris has a romantic air to it; and very few people would turn down the chance to live in Barcelona. However, there are some countries which you might not have considered yet, but could be the perfect choice for you. Let us take you on a whirlwind tour…
Looking to swap a declining western economy for a booming eastern one? Look no further than India, which can offer institutions in the tropics, in the hills or in some of the most dynamic cities in the world – all at a much more affordable price. It seems like many students agree too, with the number of US students opting to study in India soaring by 44% between 2009 and 2010.
Hot destinations: The Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, the University of Delhi and the University of Pune all feature in the QS top 150 universities in India list.
Beyond studying: No trip to India is complete without a visit to a temple, and what better place than Varanasi, the City Temples? Try to visit during the Diwali festival for a true insight into Indian mysticism.
China has long been hailed as one of Asia’s best destinations for study and is already extremely popular, with more than 250,000 students from 180 countries already studying in the country. Studying in China is perfect for you if you want to get ahead in engineering, science, medicine or business. It’s also going to save you plenty of money – tuition fees are generally less than $1,600 per semester and living costs are much more affordable than in neighbouring places like Japan and South Korea.
Hot destinations: Tsing Hua University, Fudan University and Zhejiang University all consistently rank amongst the best institutions in Asia.
Beyond studying: China is so vast that it could take you years to see it all. Try to get away from the big cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong and see some more rural areas. Drink rice wine with locals in Inner Mongolia, or head out to UNESCO World Heritage site Lijiang in Yunnan province to get a taste of old China.
One European destination still offering value for money is The Netherlands. Postgraduate course fees average out at around $2,400 per year and the Dutch government also provides financial support for EU students who can prove they are working 32 hours a month, to the tune of $350 a month. This is a grant, not a loan – something very rare in the higher education world these days.
Hot destinations: Try studying in the judicial capital of the world at Leiden University College in The Hague, or head to the prestigious University of TU Delft.
Beyond studying: The Netherlands is a creative nation used to challenging the norm. It leads the way in design, advertising and architecture. Get your fill in the supremely creative cities of Amsterdam and Maastricht.
Brazil may be a surprising entry on our list of growing destinations, but it’s definitely one to watch. The country recently overtook the UK as the world’s sixth biggest economy and is making major investments in its higher education sector. Brazil has a mixture of public and private universities and international students can get the same scholarships, bursaries and grants as Brazilians.
Hot destinations: Brazilian universities are particularly good at subjects like business, engineering and dermatology. The University of Sao Paulo is the standout institution in the country, but the public University of Campinas is also worth a look.
Beyond studying: Who wouldn’t want to study in Brazil? Famous for sand, sea and soccer, the country is also home to the natural beauty of the Amazon rainforest, the sprawling megalopolises of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and the spectacular Iguazu waterfalls. And it will also host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.
A slightly cheating one here, but many foreign universities have opened satellite campuses in Singapore in a bid to attract the best of Asian academic talent. INSEAD, the University of Chicago and the German Institute of Science and Technology all have campuses in Singapore, while many other institutions also have partnerships with local universities like the National University of Singapore (NUS).
Hot destinations: For such a small country, Singapore packs a big punch. The NUS was founded more than 100 years ago and the country also has dedicated management, technology and design schools.
Beyond studying: Singapore is a perfect gateway to the East, being close to Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. The country has one of the highest standards of living in Asia and is constantly growing, building on its diverse population.