Study abroad is your chance to explore the world. Six months overseas opens amazing gateways to new experiences and it’s an opportunity to live and breathe the local culture and lifestyle. While you can go anywhere in the world, choosing your destination will be your hardest decision. It’s important to take in all of your options and understand what you want to get out of your study abroad experience.
If you’re looking for somewhere a little different, unexpected or unique, think outside of the popular study abroad destinations and consider some of these options.
1. The Netherlands
We know what you’re thinking: ‘Guys, really? The Netherlands? Off the beaten track?’, but hear us out. Yes, you would typically find Amsterdam on everyone’s travel list. But there is so much more to this tiny country in north-west Europe.
For instance, did you know that The Hague in the Netherlands is home to the Peace Palace (which is where you’ll find the International Court of Justice, that’s where the UN solves global legal disputes)? Studying in The Hague would also mean you’re only an hour’s train ride from the city of Amsterdam, while also having access to beautiful parks and short trips to the coast. Being the relatively small country that it is (especially in comparison to Australia), you will not only be able to explore the major cities and the beautiful countryside, which is full of little villages rich in history, but by basing yourself here you will have easy access to the rest of Europe.
When you hear about Korea you’re probably not thinking it would be a place to go and spend a semester abroad. But South Korea, which is extremely different to its northern neighbour, is a nation with much to offer a student on exchange.
If you want to make sure you experience a different culture, then South Korea will definitely deliver. The cities, teaming with a mix of modern and historic buildings, can be extremely fast paced. But because of the country’s compact size and superb transport systems you can easily escape the hustle and bustle of city life by visiting one of the serene villages, national parks, steam-filled jjimjilbang (public bathhouses) or Buddhist temples.
Did you know Taiwan is an island? Did you know it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world? Did you know in the main city of Taipei there is now free public wi-fi access everywhere? Doesn’t that sound like a dream?
If the free wi-fi didn’t sell it for you the food just might. Night markets are huge in Taiwan and in the cities you will easily be able to find food at any time of the day or night. While traditional Taiwanese food is something not to be missed, with its links to China and close proximity to Japan you can see the influence in the foods on offer.
You can then work off all of your indulgences by joining in on popular activities like bike riding or taking a hike up one of the established walking routes (two-thirds of the terrain is mountainous) during your weekends or study breaks.
No we aren’t talking about the red hot pepper; we’re talking about the country on the western edge of South America. Home to the world’s largest swimming pool and to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it is an amazing, versatile and diverse country for a study abroad experience.
Due to the length of Chile’s coastline, travelling on your study breaks will bring a whole range of different opportunities. With deserts in the north, and lakes and glaciers in the south, you can take your pick of adventures. Don’t forget to book a trip to Easter Island while you’re there.
If you are looking at honing your Spanish language skills, Chile is the place to do it. You know what they say: ‘If you can understand Chileno Spanish, you can understand any Spanish’.
Base yourself in Cape Town, which is one of the three main cities in South Africa, and you’ll set the perfect stage for a unique semester abroad. With a tumultuous history, dramatic landscapes and amazing wildlife, learning and experiencing incredible things is guaranteed – or as they say down there, it will be totally lekker (a colloquial term to mean nice or favourable).
Now if you want to really settle in to South African lifestyle make sure you invest some time learning about two of their favourite things: rugby (go the Springboks!) and a braai. A braai, commonly known at home as a barbecue, is a popular social tradition. You shouldn’t feel too out of your comfort zone enjoying a delicious meal and getting a taste for some authentic dishes in the process.
South Africa is the home for adventure and excitement. Why not take a safari to see the ‘big five’, or try rock climbing, surfing or bungee jumping from the Bloukrans Bridge (one of the highest bungees in the world).
Want to see a full list of study abroad partners at ACU? Find them here.Applications to study abroad in semester one 2018 have already closed but you can still apply for semester two. Applications close on 1