Picking a place to study abroad can be challenging, especially if you don't have a set country in mind. With so many incredible options to choose from, how do you choose?
If you're looking to get off the beaten path for your study abroad experience, definitely consider spending a summer, semester, or even year in Asia! While many of your friends might be studying abroad in Europe or Australia, venturing outside the norm is an incredible experience. Differentiate yourself from your classmates and immerse yourself in an Asian culture abroad.
Here at Go Overseas, we're here to help you find the perfect country for your study abroad goals. These destinations are chosen based on their popularity, reviews from study abroad program alum, and our industry knowledge. However, this is not a ranking, as the best fit for you depends on your individual circumstances.
No matter which country you choose, you're bound to have an incredible study abroad adventure to last a lifetime.
Great for art and history
🎓 Top universities: The University of Tokyo (28th), Kyoto University (46th), Osaka University (80th)
💰 Average cost of tuition for a semester (direct enrollment): 410,000¥ ($2,800)
🏠 Average monthly cost of living including rent: 184,500¥ ($1,221)
Japan is one of the most popular Asian countries for study abroad, and is an especially popular destination for summer programs. You'll find Japanese language programs in Tokyo, culture and society programs in Hiroshima, and placements everywhere, from big cities like Nagoya, to tiny islands you may have never heard of.
If you want to pursue Japanese language immersion, Japan is naturally the best place to study abroad. There are so many language-intensive programs all across Japan, it's hard to know where to start. However, cities like Tokyo can be perfect for networking, especially if you want a career in business. Be sure to keep an eye out for programs that contain internships as one of your courses!
If you're looking to immerse yourself in a unique culture, Japan is also the perfect place to be. You'll find many programs that focus on culture, politics, and art located all over the country.
Study the Shinto faith by visiting a local shrine or learn the complex customs of onsen baths and tea ceremonies. Explore history firsthand by taking a trip to Hiroshima. You'll learn so much in and out of the classroom!
Explore Popular Study Abroad Opportunities in Japan:
2. South Korea
Great for science and engineering
🎓 Top universities: Seoul National University (41st), Yonsei University (76th), Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (56th)
💰 Average cost of tuition for a semester (direct enrollment): ₩6,500,000 ($4,900)
🏠 Average monthly cost of living including rent: ₩1,693,725 ($1,290)
South Korea is another study abroad favorite. Language learners will be especially compelled to study in in South Korea, as Korean is ranked as one of the easiest languages in the world to learn?
In addition to language learning, there are plenty of incredible programs to choose from. Work on scientific research at Ewha Woman's University, or study politics right at the epicenter of an East Asian giant.
Many study abroad students tend to head to Seoul for a semester. As the largest and most cosmopolitan city in South Korea, there are plenty of things to do. Wander the hectic shopping streets of Myeong-dong, explore the Gyeongbokgung Palace, or take a day trip to the DMZ, where you can see the border with North Korea.
Another popular destination is Busan, full of beautiful beaches and fish markets, surrounded by mountains. Be sure to also have a look at Daegu, a bustling city surrounded by serene countryside. No matter where you choose, you'll be sure to have an incredible adventure!
Explore Popular Study Abroad Opportunities in South Korea:
Great for business and technology
🎓 Top universities: Tsinghua University (25th), Peking University (17th), Fudan University (50th)
💰 Average cost of tuition for a semester (direct enrollment): ¥33,235 ($4,699)
🏠 Average monthly cost of living including rent: ¥6,346 ($871)
China is growing in popularity as a study abroad destination, especially for summer programs. Many Chinese language learners head to China to improve their language skills; however, there are plenty of incredible cultural programs to choose from.
While many of the most popular programs are based in Beijing and Shanghai, you'll also find programs in China's smaller cities like Harbin, Kunming, and Dalian. You can take intensive language courses in Beijing's hutongs, complete an internship program in Shanghai, or even attend an intensive summer film course with New York Film Academy!
Studying abroad in China is definitely an experience. I should know, I studied abroad in both Beijing and Xi'an. After your studies, get some local food at a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant or meet up with friends for bubble tea. On the weekends take trips to the Great Wall, Forbidden City, or Terracotta Warriors. There's so much to learn in and outside the classroom and plenty of ways to practice your language skills throughout your everyday life.
Personally, I think China is the ultimate study abroad destination... but I'm also a bit biased.
Explore Popular Study Abroad Opportunities in China:
Great for finance and economics
🎓 Top universities: National University of Singapore (8th), Singapore Management University (545)
💰 Average cost of tuition for a semester (direct enrollment): S$6,110 ($4,450)
🏠 Average monthly cost of living including rent: S$4,087 ($3,010)
Another popular choice, Singapore is an incredible place to study abroad. With one of the freest economies in the world, this Asian Tiger is ideal for any business or economics student. Singapore also has four official languages, English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil, and its cosmopolitan diversity is incredible for those interested in language and culture.
Since English is the language of the education system in Singapore, you'll have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester, or even for your entire degree! In Singapore, you'll find programs like the BBA (Bachelor's of Business Administration) program through SP Jain School of Global Management, where you can study abroad for your entire business administration degree.
Only want to head abroad for a semester? No problem. Spend a semester studying at Singapore Management University, or explore the history and heritage of street food with CIEE!
With almost no crime and great tropical weather, what's not to love? Spend your weekends experiencing the culinary culture at the hawker street stalls, or relax and do your homework at the Gardens by the Bay.
Singapore is also centrally located in Southeast Asia, making it extremely easy to explore the rest of the region during your holiday breaks. Take a weekend trip to Bali, or a week-long holiday in Vietnam!
Explore Popular Study Abroad Opportunities in Singapore:
Great for politics and management
🎓 Top universities: National Taiwan University (69th), Taipei Medical University (577th)
💰 Average cost of tuition for a semester (direct enrollment): NT77,620 ($2,500)
🏠 Average monthly cost of living including rent: NT$32,114 ($994)
Taiwan, a small island nation, is a favorite among study abroad alum. With incredible food, crazy night markets, bustling cities, and free national parks, you'll have plenty to do in and outside of the classroom.
Locals in Taiwan also speak Mandarin Chinese, making it a great place to study the language and learn traditional Chinese characters. You'll find plenty of language-intensive programs where you can really improve your Mandarin. If you're interested in language and business, there's even a Business Chinese program through Berkeley!
If learning Chinese isn't high on your list of priorities, you can also find programs covering a wide array of topics, with popular options being business, politics, economics, and international relations
Explore Popular Study Abroad Opportunities in Taiwan:
Consider a multi-country program instead
If none of these countries suits your travel goals, or you're looking for a fast-paced, multi-nation experience, consider a program like Semester at Sea or Seamester. Both of these programs take students on the adventure of a lifetime as they live aboard a ship and travel to various destinations, all while completing credit hours towards their degree.
There are other great, multi-country options as well. CET Greater China provides culturally immersive study experiences in both mainland China and Taiwan. Or, if you're interested in studying in both Japan and South Korea, check out EF Teen Travel Groups.
These programs have their own pros and cons, as the short duration you stay in each country limits your immersion into the local culture. That said, they are fantastic options to gain a diverse and exciting set of experiences while getting various stamps in your passport.
Make the most out of your 2024 by studying abroad in Asia
There are so many incredible study abroad programs in Asia, you really can't go wrong. If you're truly stuck on picking a country, think about the things you truly want to get out of your study abroad program. Is there a specific major you want to focus on or experience you want to have? Align your goals with the destination and university.
Once you've narrowed it down, you can spend some time really researching programs to find the right fit for you. Thankfully, Go Overseas has some great resources to help you find the right fit, so be sure to use our Study Abroad hub to find the right programs for you!
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