5 "Unusual" Places to Consider for Study Abroad

By Megan Sehr on December 14, 2012

Ranking sixth in the nation for the percentage of undergraduate students participating in study abroad programs, the University of Denver prides itself in the number of students sent to represent the school around the world each year.  At the university, the majority of students study abroad in their junior or senior year for either a semester or an entire year.

I’m halfway through my sophomore year, and I am preparing to apply for study abroad programs this coming January.  I know my interests, and I’m searching for programs that are in the Middle East or that provide practice with international journalism and reporting.  For me, figuring out where I wanted to study abroad was fairly easy.

Beach view in Rabat, Morocco. Photograph by YoTut at Flickr.com

However, some students searching for study abroad programs aren’t aware of what programs are available to them.  Studying abroad in Western Europe does provide an opportunity to visit multiple countries during a student’s time abroad.  Yet, there are benefits to studying somewhere other than Western Europe or Australia.

There are many scholarships available or students studying in countries that are not considered “typical” study abroad destinations (i.e., Western Europe or Australia).  These scholarships can be applied to most countries in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia.

Studying abroad in an “unusual” location also gives students the ability to visit a country or a region that they wouldn’t be able to access independently.  It provides students with a support network and a safety net in case something goes wrong while traveling.  In an organized program, students are able to see and experience a country that would be hard to navigate on their own.

1)   Khon Kaen, Thailand (offered by CIEE) – CIEE offers two programs based in Thailand.  The first program is for students interested in community public health.  The program immerses students by interacting with locals and individuals working to improve public health in Thailand, and students will have the opportunity to visit neighboring Southeast Asian countries to give them a comparison of the public health systems.  The second program deals with issues of globalization and social justice.  This program lets students interact with NGOs and villagers, and students will have to examine an issue of globalization for a final project.

2)   Amman, Jordan (offered by CIEE) – For students with no background in Arabic, CIEE has a program in Amman, Jordan that immerses students in the culture and language of the country.  Students will receive intensive Arabic training, but they will have lessons taught in English with guest lecturers.  Students will have the opportunity to meet with local university students and visit various archaeological and natural sites around Jordan.

3)   Rabat, Morocco (offered by SIT) – Students interested in international journalism will have a hands-on experience in SIT’s Field Studies in Journalism and New Media program.  Along with Arabic classes, students will have the chance to meet Moroccan bloggers and reporters and hear guest speakers from a variety of organizations.  Students will spend a majority of the semester researching a topic for a story that they will write for global publications, with the possibility that the story will be picked up by various media outlets.

4)   Lima, Peru (offered by CIEE) – Students that have intermediate or advanced Spanish skills can study abroad in Peru.  The program begins with an intensive two-week Spanish program.  Afterward, students are allowed to choose from courses provided at the university and interact with local college students.  Homestays are offered, and students will travel outside of Lima to Cuzco and Machu Picchu.

5)   Accra, Ghana (offered by SIT) – SIT’s Social Transformation and Cultural Expression program gives students the ability to examine societal change within Ghana from a cultural/artistic perspective.  Students will explore issues such as religion and political/economic development within the African nation.  Throughout the program, students will explore the art and music of Ghana and they will have the chance to conduct independent research on issues relating to economics, politics, religion, etc.

Have you studied abroad in any of these places or would you like to? Leave a comment below!

Megan Sehr is a sophomore at the University of Denver, and she is majoring in International Studies and Journalism Studies with minors in History and Hebrew. She wants to go into international journalism, and is interested in Middle Eastern politics and culture. She loves writing, reading, poetry, Mad Men, and good discussions.

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