The 12 Most Unique Places To Study Abroad

Yes, it is possible to study abroad in Antarctica.

1. Antarctica

Who offers it: Several universities, as well as the Antarctic University Expedition, and American Universities International Programs.

Prerequisites: None.

Who should go: Anyone interested in taking a two week sailing voyage to/around Antarctica in order to learn about its environment, history, and tourism. Also, anyone who wants to see a penguin colony up close, which should be EVERYONE.

2. Cuba (Yes, even for Americans.)

Who offers it: Academic Programs International.

Prerequisites: None if you do a January term, 4-5 semesters of Spanish if you do a whole semester.

Who should go: Anyone who wants to take advantage of the opportunity to study Cuban culture, language, and cinema without having to sneak around US customs — US students are welcome, and the program has US accreditation through Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Oh, and anyone looking for a unique way to annoy their very conservative parents.

3. Nepal

Who offers it: SIT Study Abroad.

Prerequisites: None.

Who should go: Anyone who can’t decide between spending a semester trekking through the mountains, or going on safari to see exotic and endangered animals — because this program has them both. And anyone who is worried about being lonely so far from home — part of this program involves spending six weeks with a Nepali family.

4. Siberia, Russia

Who offers it: SARS (The School of Russian and Asian Studies) in connection with Irkutsk State Linguistic University.

Prerequisites: None. No, you do not have to speak Russian. You technically do not even have to be enrolled at a university.

Who should go: Anyone who wants to experience Siberia without worrying about being completely isolated — Irkutsk is one of the more populated places in Siberia. And anyone who doesn’t speak a word of Russian, but doesn’t mind jumping in.

5. Amman, Jordan

Who offers it: ISA in conjunction with Al-Ahliyya Amman University and Princess Sumaya University For Technology.

Prerequisites: A minimum GPA of 2.5 for Arabic Language and Middle Eastern Studies, and 3.0 for Business, Engineering, and Information Technology.

Who should go: Anyone who wants to jump head first into learning Arabic. Or wants to study in the Middle East, but wants to try something other than Abu Dhabi or Dubai. And architecture nerds — Amman has been inhabited by several different cultures, and has structures dating back over a thousand years.

6. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

 

Who offers it: SIT Study Abroad.

Prerequisites: None.

Who should go: Anyone who wants first hand experience living and working with a nomadic Mongolian herding community. And anyone who is fascinated by the juxtaposition of the traditional and the modern — part of this program also involves staying with a family in urban Ulaanbaatar.

7. North Korea (Yes, really.)

Who offers it: The Pyongyang Project has done study abroad programs in connection with Brown, Tufts, and Lafayette college, amongst others. It also offers open educational programs (for which you’d have to secure the college credit yourself — but seriously, what college would not reward such initiative?)

Prerequisites: None, but an ability to follow the rules is helpful (the North Korean government has strict policies about photography and tourist behavior).

Who should go: People who have dreamed of taking a North Korean tour and crash course, as told by North Korea. Anyone who has spent a lot of time wondering how to visit the hermit kingdom without worrying about being sent to jail. And anyone with very brave parents.

8. Kayaking in Patagonia, Chile

Who offers it: Patagonia Study Abroad.

Prerequisites: None for the beginners going in the spring, intermediate to advanced experience for Kayakers going in the fall. (It’s much colder then, and you will get worn out faster.)

Who should go: Those who are really, really, really into kayaking — this program is very heavily focused on exploring Chile and Chilean culture via kayak. And anyone who wants to work on their outdoor survival skills, and wouldn’t mind some pretty scenery while doing it.

9. Rainforest Exploration in Peru

Who offers it: The School For Field Studies.

Prerequisites: One semester of college-level biology or ecology.

Who should go: Anyone who was obsessed with Fern Gully as a kid, or is determined to find the best ways to preserve the rain forest for future generations.

10. Spending time with the people and wildlife of the Maasai Steppe in Kenya and Tanzania.

Shutterstock/Andrzej Kubik

Who offers it: The School For Field Studies.

Prerequisites: One semester of college level biology or ecology — no language necessary.

Who should go: People who want to learn more about Maasai and Iraqw cultures — including getting to experience musical ceremonies, opportunities to see rural settlements rarely visited by tourists, and lessons in spear-throwing. And anyone who is obsessed with African wildlife and its preservation.

11. Scuba Diving in Turks & Caicos

Who offers it: The School For Field Studies.

Prerequisites: One semester of college-level biology or ecology.

Who should go: Anyone who wouldn’t mind spending a semester improving their SCUBA or snorkeling skills. Those obsessed with tropical fish, and wanting to learn more about them, their environment, and the conservation efforts surrounding them.

12. Sailing around the world (literally) with Semester At Sea

Shutterstock/Karol Kozlowski

 

Who offers it: Semester at Sea (of Road Rules fame).

Prerequisites: Obtaining a few visas and some inoculations.

Who should go: Anyone who has ever wanted to sail around the world — in honor of Semester at Sea’s 50th anniversary, they are doing a world voyage in 2014, embarking from San Diego, and ending in Southampton, UK. The voyage makes stops in 16 cities in North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. So, anyone who wants to spend a semester on an awesome adventure but is a huge procrastinator — you can still sign up!

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