The Best Places to Study Abroad in Asia

Emma Cramer
Topic Expert

Emma is a UC Berkeley alum who majored in Cognitive Science. Since she studied abroad in Utrecht, Netherlands, she has been itching to travel more.

Asia is an exciting and modern continent brimming with entertainment, culture, modern technology, and shopping. Students who head there for a semester or year will be exposed to a fast-paced environment set amidst rich history and traditions. Whether you desire many green spaces for fresh air breaks between classes or the perks of city life transit systems to easily explore, there’s a country with your name on it!

Asia offers unparalleled opportunities for students to challenge themselves alongside some of the world’s brightest students. Those seeking experience with international business and other related fields will have many schools to choose from. In Asia, you will never run out of things to do. You can spend weeks visiting all the great museums, parks, monuments, gardens, shopping centers. What’s more - the rest of Asia is always just a quick plane ride away!

#10. Bangkok, Thailand

Best Places to Study Abroad in Asia: Bangkok, Thailand

Recently made infamous by “The Hangover II”, Bangkok boasts much more than raunchy after-dark activities. As the capital of Thailand, the city is predominantly industrialized but littered with beautiful relics from centuries past. Be sure to pack a water bottle, since Bangkok is known for humidity and pollution! But don’t let a little heat scare you off—this climate also breeds lush greenery and scrumptious fruits.

For any money-minded students, Khao San Road is a bustling, budget-friendly market area, and the perfect place to meet fellow travelers and get a feel for some authentic Thai culture.

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#9. Hanoi, Vietnam

Best Cities to Study Abroad in Asia: Hanoi, Vietnam

Having been occupied by both the French and Soviets, Hanoi has a unique blend of Eastern and Western culture. As home to several top universities, Hanoi is a hub of education and knowledge in Asia. With a notably friendly population (their cultural values speaking to strangers), this Vietnamese capital is a fabulous place for travelers looking to befriend some locals.

If you’re an adventurous ‘foodie’ (or maybe Dracula), be sure to check out Le Mat, an area famous for one particular menu item: freshly drained cobra-blood wine. Don’t worry—they serve traditional Vietnamese food, too!

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#8. Mumbai, India

Best Cities to Study Abroad in Asia: Mumbai, India

Formerly Bombay, this city is the center of Bollywood: the eclectic and colorful Indian entertainment industry. With one of the largest populations in the world, and many citizens in slums, this city might particularly appeal to students interested in international development or politics.

For authentic transportation, be sure to hop onto a rickshaw at some point in your time abroad. Only use it for short distances, though! We hear that the bumpy journey can lead to some uncomfortable bruising…

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#7. Seoul, South Korea

Best Cities to Study Abroad in Asia: Seoul, South Korea

The capital of South Korea, Seoul, preserves its royal history through the ornate palaces and shrines found throughout the city. Since the explosive popularity of Korean pop culture (including but definitely not limited to “Gangnam Style”), Seoul has recently become a tourist hot-spot within Asia. With its vibrant nightlife, technological prominence, and growing role in the global economy, Seoul has something to offer all students.

Craving a little taste of your childhood? Well luck for you, Seoul’s is home to Lotte World, the world’s largest indoor amusement park!

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#6. Singapore

Best Cities to Study Abroad in Asia: Singapore

As the world’s second most densely populated country, you might expect Singapore to be dirty and unbearable, but this couldn’t be less true! Its numerous parks and nature reserves cover fifty percent of the land with their lush, green beauty. And to keep the other fifty percent clean, Singapore has laws against chewing gum, so leave that Trident-smacking habit at home!

Are you a nature buff? Well then Singapore will definitely show you a good time. You’ve gotta go to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, home to more plant species than exist in all of North America.

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#5. Taipei, Taiwan

Best Cities to Study Abroad in Asia: Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei is a diverse city, making itself a wonderful short-term home for students of all types and dispositions. It is the center of all things Taiwan: culture, economics, politics, etc. As home to numerous parks, museums, bath houses, and hiking trails, the adventurous student will always find something to occupy his or her time.

Assuming you have no fear of heights, Taipei 101 is a must-see. The 508-meter high building not only towers over this city’s skyline, but also over almost all other’s—it’s the second tallest building in the world!

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#4. Kyoto, Japan

Best Cities to Study Abroad in Asia: Kyoto, Japan

As home to Emperors for over 1000 years, it’s no surprise that those filthy-rich residents filled Kyoto with amazingly intricate shrines, temples, and palaces. It’s not all ancient beauty, though. The city’s center is quite urban, allowing you to get up close and personal with public transport if you want to see the city’s cultural gems.

Need some stress relief from late night study sessions? Lucky for you, Kyoto offers lots of Zen-chanting options! Head to a relaxing public bathhouse, a meditation center, or go explore the cherry blossom gardens.

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#3. Tokyo, Japan

Best Cities to Study Abroad in Asia: Tokyo, Japan

Since avoiding the unfortunate fate of other Japanese cities during WWII, Tokyo has seen immense growth and increased popularity, making it an up-and-coming study abroad hotspot. Though Tokyo has the reputation of a being a bustling, tech-savvy modern Mecca, that side of the city is balanced by its serene gardens, shrines, and imperial influence.

If you’re an avid sports fan (or into men in underwear) looking to explore a sport that isn’t a regular ESPN fixture, try heading to a Sumo wrestling match! Japan’s Kokugikan is one place to catch a show.

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#2. Hong Kong, China

Best Cities to Study Abroad in Asia: Hong Kong, China

With its jam-packed streets, beaches, and mountains, Hong-Kong attracts all types of visitors. The city hosts many festivals throughout the year, offering quite a feast for both the eyes and the mouth (dumplings and dragon costumes, anyone?!). English is an official language, making it pretty easy to find a help if you find your Cantonese is lacking.

For all you Instagram-junkies, head up to Victoria Peak’s wok-shaped tower to get a view of the whole city. We wouldn’t suggest using it to make a stir-fry, though.

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#1. Shanghai, China

Best Cities to Study Abroad in Asia: Shanghai, China

Referred to by British imperialists as the “Paris of the East” (some also called it the “Whore of the Orient”, but that’s beside the point), Shanghai was at one point home to China’s elite. Now the city’s “street cred” comes from being one of the fastest growing cities in Asia economically, culturally, etc., making it a fabulous option for all students, particularly business and technology minded ones.

If you’re looking for a top-notch education while abroad, Shangai is for you! In 2010, research showed that Shanghai’s students performed the best in the entire world! Geez, we better start studying…

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