Everyone knows a major benefit of studying abroad is the opportunity to learn another language. If language learning isn't your primary goal though, is it still possible to study in a foreign country and earn credits toward your degree?
More and more universities around the world are offering individuals classes as well as full degrees in English -- even in countries where the official language isn't English. Whether you decide to do an exchange, direct enrollment, or full degree, you can study comfortably in your native language while reaping the benefits of living abroad.
The following ten universities are just a sampling of those available for study in English. However, they have some of the largest selections of classes, the best reputations, and the most diverse student bodies (and faculties). They're also located in some of the most dynamic cities, beautiful landscapes, and central locations across the globe.
1. Maastricht University - Maastricht, the Netherlands
Most of the programs at Maastricht University are taught in English. In fact, it was one of the earlier international universities to adopt an English-dominant curriculum.
Almost half of the students at Maastricht are international students, making for a fun and multicultural environment to spend a semester or longer. The university offers exchange programs in arts, social sciences, business and economics, life sciences, humanities, law, psychology, and more. Maastricht is also super close to both Belgium and Germany, so weekend travel around Europe is a breeze!
Learn more about degrees offered in English at universities across the Netherlands: Study in Holland Official Website
Other Study Abroad Experiences in the Netherlands:
2. John Cabot University - Rome, Italy
All classes are in English at this private American liberal arts university located in Rome. John Cabot University is a hub for study abroad and international students, which means you’ll be studying alongside students from all across the United States as well as nearly 60 different countries, all while being surrounded by the art, culture, and history of the Eternal City.
Even though all of your classes are in English doesn’t mean you can’t still squeeze in an Italian class; it is the language of love, after all!
Learn more about degrees offered in English at universities across Italy: Study in Italy Official Website
Other Study Abroad Experiences in Italy:
3. Stockholm University - Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm University offers a few bachelor’s degree programs in English as well as a huge number of postgraduate programs in English. Sweden is also a great country to hang out in if you’re relying solely on English, as many Swedes speak a high level English. However, if you do have a desire to pick up some Swedish, the university offers Swedish language courses free of charge in addition to your regular courses.
Don’t forget to research what scholarships for study abroad in Sweden you might be able to apply for to cover your tuition!
Learn more about studying abroad in English at universities across Sweden: Study in Sweden Official Website
Other Study Abroad Experiences in Sweden:
4. National University of Singapore - Singapore
The National University of Singapore (NUS) is the oldest university in Singapore and is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in Asia. The main teaching language is English. In fact, Singapore, a distinct melting pot, operates under a bilingual education system with English as an official language alongside Mandarin, Tamil, and Malay.
NUS has partnerships with more than 50 U.S. universities, including all colleges in the University of California system, George Washington University, and Northwestern. So, not only is transferring credits easy for most students, but having the pre-approval of top-notch American universities speaks for the quality of education at NUS.
Studying abroad in Singapore is a great opportunity to be exposed to a myriad of other languages and cultures. Singapore is also a great hub for exploring other parts of Asia, and a bustling city with plenty to see and do (on all budgets!).
Other Study Abroad Experiences in Singapore:
5. Sophia University - Tokyo, Japan
Sophia University has a range of programs taught in English in the liberal arts and sciences. Sophia is one of the top-ranked private universities in Japan. Located in Tokyo, there will never be a shortage of things to do or a lack of other foreigners to interact with -- although taking a Japanese language class or two could help you fit in with the locals.
The university also has exchange partnership programs with numerous universities around the world, including Yale University. Given that this selective university only has a 5% acceptance rate, a study abroad exchange may be your best bet!
Learn more about studying abroad in English at universities across Japan: Study in Japan Official Website
Other Study Abroad Experiences in Singapore:
6. University of Hong Kong - Hong Kong
This university, also called Hong Kong University or HKU, uses English as its main language of instruction. More than 40 countries are represented just from HKU’s professors alone. Classes are offered in nearly any discipline you can think of -- arts and humanities, business and economics, education, engineering, law, science, social science -- and the university has partnerships with scores of universities around the world.
HKU is regularly ranked among the top universities in Asia. If you’re feeling at all nervous about studying abroad, HKU offers an Exchange Buddy Program which will match you with a local student. You’ll be able to talk with your buddy before your arrival in Hong Kong, and then they will meet you at the airport, help you settle in, and offer support throughout your time abroad.
Learn more about studying abroad in English at universities across Hong Kong: Study in Hong Kong Official Website
Other Study Abroad Experiences in Hong Kong:
7. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Madrid, Spain
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, or UC3M as it's known locally, is a private university with a range of bachelor's and master's degrees entirely in English. There are also partnerships between UC3M and many major U.S. universities like Johns Hopkins, Kansas State, and the University of Florida for students who want to study abroad temporarily.
Consistently ranked highly by organizations around the world, including the 16th best university in Europe by QS World University Rankings in 2020, UC3M attracts international students from all over. Great weather, a vibrant student scene, and an affordable cost of living make Madrid a great place to study!
Learn more about studying abroad in English at universities across Spain: Spanish Service for the Internationalisation of Education (SEPIE)
Other Study Abroad Experiences in Spain:
8. Technical University of Munich - Munich, Germany
For those who are interested in studying abroad in Germany in English, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is a good choice. Ranked 50th in the world by QS World University Rankings, TUM prides itself on its connections and partnerships with the international community.
Students can take individual classes or do complete degrees at TUM and with no tuition, your education will only cost 144€ ($175) in fees a semester! As if the price tag wasn't enough to woo you, Munich is an incredibly safe city and is among the best for student life.
Learn more about studying abroad in English at universities across Germany: German Academic Exchange Service
Other Study Abroad Experiences in Germany:
9. Universidade Católica Portuguesa - Lisbon, Portugal
Located in colorful Lisbon, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP) offers a number of degrees in English at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students can choose between several different fields within business and finance, the social sciences, and law. Rated by Forbes as the best place to live abroad in 2020, students here will find that a meager budget can easily equate to a comfortable lifestyle in Lisbon.
Learn more about studying abroad in English at universities across Portugal: Study in Portugal Official Website
Other Study Abroad Experiences in Portugal:
10. University of Malta - Msida, Malta
In the heart of the Mediterranean, the tiny island of Malta offers all course instruction in English at the University of Malta, the only higher education institution in the country. UoM welcomes numerous international students, around 650 students from 77 countries. Students staying at the university residence hall can catch the free shuttle to campus.
UoM is one of the oldest universities in the Mediterranean and offers a wide variety of degree programs across many disciplines at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Six U.S. universities maintain partnerships with UoM including George Mason in Virginia and UNC Greensboro.
Other Study Abroad Experiences in Malta:
Bonus: American Universities Abroad
Another sure-fire way to study abroad in English is to go to an American university. Take your pick of some of the coolest cities in the world -- there are American universities on almost every continent, some of which include:
It's important to note that these universities are not necessarily associated with each other. However, they all follow the American style of higher education and offer American degrees, so transferring your credits just got a lot easier.
Find Your Perfect Fit
Now that you have a place to start, this is only the beginning. Even if you think you already know where you want to study, take some time to look more closely at each university to see if they offer the right courses in your major or have any kind of partnership or affiliation with your university. This can save you a ton of heartache and money (hello, direct enrollment).
Remember: don't allow yourself to fall into an easy rut just because your classes are in English. Get out there and explore your host city, mix with other international students, and meet some locals! If you do find yourself in a country where English is not the mother tongue, take some classes on the side or find a language exchange. Speaking a new language is the best souvenir you can come home with after your time abroad!