Study Abroad

The 10 Best Summer Study Abroad Programs in 2020

Stephanie Topacio Long
Topic Expert

Stephanie is a writer with a love for travel, languages, and exploring other cultures, including her time studying abroad in Madrid, Spain.

While many students choose to go overseas during the academic year, summer study abroad programs are popular, too. They vary in length, so they can be easier to fit into your life. Whatever your reasons for choosing summer, though, you can look forward to all the benefits of the studying abroad experience and using your break productively.

The decision to study overseas might be relatively easy, but selecting the right program from the sea of options isn’t. That’s why we’ve analyzed data from former students’ reviews on Go Overseas and also thoroughly assessed reviews to determine the 10 best summer study abroad programs out there. Past participants have vouched for each of them in terms of providing strong academics, comfortable housing, and safe and fun environments that make for a memorable and worthwhile summer overseas.

How did we pick these programs?

In choosing the best programs to be included in this article, we took into account two main factors: the review scores of each program and the number of reviews that program had received.

For all programs on Go Overseas, we ask reviewers to rate six key variables that reflect the core components of any experience. These vary depending on the type of program, but include items such as Housing, Support, Fun, Value, Safety, and an Overall score. We average these scores in order to find a numerical representation of the typical experience, and we use this number to compare all of the many programs in a certain category.

From there, our goal is to choose those programs which are truly the best: they have more and better reviews than the average for similar programs and are verified by enough reviews for us to feel confident giving our stamp of approval. Lastly, we base these decisions on our own industry knowledge. We want to make sure we're recommending programs that are vetted both by you, the users, and us, the experts, so that we feel confident the programs included are the best of the best!

The programs listed below are not ranked in any particular order; instead, they reflect a breadth of excellent program options.

#1. Forum-Nexus Study Abroad: Multi-Country Summer in Europe

Forum-Nexus Study Abroad’s Multi-Country Summer in Europe doesn’t make you pick just one city to study abroad in -- you can study in five, joined by students from around the world.

The Summer itinerary includes stops in Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Greece; along the way, you can earn up to 9 credits transferable to your school through classes, an internship, or an independent study.

Read what alumni had to say about the program in Europe:

  • “This program is awesome. I was able to travel to five countries (Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Greece) (this changes based on the year) in just five weeks and it was the best experience. Not only that, but I can genuinely say that I have kept in touch with several people from the program 2 years later.” -- Jacob
  • “This program gave me the courage to embrace new cultures and to not shy away from a new city for fear of getting lost. I was able to see many places and cities that I have dreamed of visiting for many years! And a bonus was that it counted as class credit towards my degree.” -- Abigail
9.71 Rating
based on 62 reviews
  • Academics 8.6
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 9.6

#2. ESAC: Study Abroad in Prague

The European Study Abroad Center’s Prague program offers students the chance to spend the summer in the Czech Republic. The program includes courses at the University of Economics in Prague, where you’ll live in on-campus housing alongside other international students. There’s also the option to complete an internship while you’re there.

Not only that, you’ll be spending your summer in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities!

Read what alumni had to say about the program in Prague:

  • “My time in Prague was remarkable. I never really thought I would be one to travel, but Metro and ESAC made it all really simple. Having a place to stay - comfortable dorms - in the Summer in Prague was a huge plus.” -- Cora
  • “ESAC offers so much! It is a structured program, yet still gives it’s [sic] students the freedom to explore Europe. The directors are awesome and help with any little thing from needing to go to the doctors to planning a weekend trip!” -- Michelle
9.78 Rating
based on 32 reviews
  • Academics 8.8
  • Support 10
  • Fun 8.7
  • Housing 9.8
  • Safety 9.8

#3. Red Tree Study: Peacebuilding in Colombia Academic Summer Program

The Peace-building in Colombia Academic Summer Program from Red Tree Study offers both educational and cultural experiences to undergraduate students. Participants travel to Bogotá and take classes through the Political Science Department at the Universidad de Los Andes.

Through a mix of practical and sociocultural activities, you’ll learn about the country’s complex history, peace negotiations, and the push for lasting peace. You don’t get that in just any classroom.

Read what alumni had to say about the program in Bogotá:

  • “This peacebuilding course is one of the most interesting, as well as intense, courses I have participated in. It included a perfect mixture of both lectures and field visits.” -- Louise
  • “This program is outstanding! It’s jam-packed with academics while also allowing time to immerse oneself in the beautiful country that is Colombia. My one and only complaint is that it wasn’t long enough.” -- Mariana
9.64 Rating
based on 36 reviews
  • Academics 9.4
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.5

#4. Oxford Royale Academy: Summer Study Abroad

Oxford Royale Academy’s Summer Study Abroad attracts students from all over the world. There, you’ll live in either a manor house or one of the University of Oxford’s colleges for the duration of the two-week courses.

Subjects include everything from Engineering to Creative Writing, and Chemistry to Archaeology, and there are also cultural and recreational activities to complement your studies.

Read what alumni had to say about the program in Oxford:

  • “This experience was life changing! I got to meet so many amazing people from all of the world, with different experiences and knowledge. Everything that I have seen, heard and learnt and everyone I have met while being in ORA helped me realize something about myself and my future career.” -- Katarina
  • “Oxford Royale Academy has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Participating in this summer school has not only educated me in the subjects I chose, but also in real life skills.” -- Océane
9.55 Rating
based on 101 reviews
  • Academics 9
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.8

#5. UEA: Summer Study

University of East Anglia’s Undergraduate International Summer School is another option in England. UEA Summer Study is a four-week program where you can take modules worth 20UCU/10ECTS credits; areas of study include Advertising, Finance, Global Studies, and more. You can look forward to participating in classroom discussions and off-campus field trips, plus being part of a vibrant international student community.

Read what alumni had to say about the program in Norwich:

  • “It was the best summer of my life thanks to this programme. Wonderful experience, helpful coordinators and staff, memorable trips, and a huge help in my future studies.” -- Ákos"
  • “There is absolutely nothing I can say negatively about UEA’s ISS program. This program is one of a kind in offering diverse courses, social experiences, bringing together people from all over the world.” -- Stephen
10 Rating
based on 11 reviews
  • Academics 9.8
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 9.9

#6. CYA: Study in Greece Summer Program

College Year in Athens boasts experience-based opportunities for learning. The Study in Greece Summer Program makes the most of the country’s rich history, offering visits to archaeological excavation sites, different islands, and more.

You’ll take one course during four-week sessions that consist of 60 contact hours, and then in your free time, you can enjoy a beautiful Greek summer.

Read what alumni had to say about the program in Athens:

  • “My time with CYA was the best academic and personally formative experience of my life. I took two summer courses, and both the professors were outstanding. Between engaging lectures and meaningful site visits, I felt like I was growing academically without missing any of the social opportunities of study abroad.” -- Sarah
  • “I had an amazing experience study[ing] overseas for four weeks of my summer. The staff and facilities were awesome, on top of a great learning environment in Athens and other small towns that we traveled to.” -- Luke
9.8 Rating
based on 20 reviews
  • Academics 9.5
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.9

#7. CES Maastricht University: Summer Program in European Studies

The six-week Summer Program in European Studies is located at the Netherlands’ Maastricht University. Offered through the Center for European Studies, the program allows participants to take a variety of courses or join study tours that are taught in English. You’ll find courses from across academic disciplines, and you can earn credits toward your major.

Read what alumni had to say about the program in the Netherlands:

  • “It was such an amazing six weeks filled with great experiences and adventures with new friends that I honestly will never forget. Apart from Maastricht itself being an amazing place to study in for the summer, the people I met and courses I took contributed to the unforgettable experience I had while studying here.” -- Haley
  • “The program was not only an opportunity to learn about the culture in Maastricht but also to interact with students around the world and to learn about their cultures as well. I love how the classes are so interactive because it helps you to come out of your comfort zone.” -- Sharon
9.58 Rating
based on 36 reviews
  • Academics 8.8
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 8.6
  • Safety 9.5

#8. IES Abroad: Madrid Summer

IES Abroad gives students the chance to study in the capital of Spain with its Madrid Summer program. You’ll get to take classes at the IES Abroad Center that integrate the city’s rich history and culture.

Meanwhile, you’ll have the chance to explore all Madrid has to offer, including its world-class museums and unique charm.

Read what alumni had to say about the program in Madrid:

  • “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I lived in a warm and welcoming homestay, enrolled in two classes that were taught by great professors, and got to truly experience Spanish culture. Over the course of the program, I noticed in awe how my Spanish speaking and comprehension skills were improving week by week.” -- Ashley
  • “I learned more in one summer about growing up than I have in my whole life. I would highly recommend IES because the staff was excellent, my host mom was so sweet, and the people that were accepted in this program were awesome.” -- Megan
10 Rating
based on 11 reviews
  • Academics 8.7
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 9.7

#9. TEAN: Australian Environment & Conservation Summer Program

The Australian Environment & Conservation Summer Program offered by The Education Abroad Network is perfect for students interested in hands-on experience and learning. The three-week program focuses on the practical application of biological science and environmental management, and it includes trips some of the most breathtaking places in Australia. You’ll get to see the environment and wildlife up close, guided by local experts.

Don't forget that summer in the northern hemisphere is winter down under! You'll want to pack clothes for cooler weather if you choose this program.

Read what alumni had to say about the program in Australia:

  • “This program was one of best, if not the best, experiences of my life. The course material is very interesting and is only made better by the professors, who are simply incredible, both as professors and as people.” -- Nathan
  • “This five week program that TEAN has built is beyond incredible! Not only do you have a new adventure and experience every single day, you get to travel to all the major cities in Australia.” -- Janae

TEAN also has a highly rated program to study abroad in Chang Mai which they offer in the summer, fall, and spring semesters.

10 Rating
based on 11 reviews
  • Academics 8.8
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.8
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 9.7

#10. Adelante Abroad: Semester and Summer Programs in Spain

Adelante Abroad’s Semester and Summer Programs in Spain enables students to improve their Spanish, while taking classes ranging from Economics to Art History.

You can take up to 16 credits per semester and take advantage of the local universities facilities, which include a new library, gym, cafes, and more. At the same time, you’ll get to experience life in Andalusia, a sunny and vibrant Spanish region.

Read what alumni had to say about the program in Seville:

  • “It was a wonderful experience to be able to live and study in beautiful and historic Southern Spain. Throughout my stay there my Spanish improved tremendously, written and oral. Also, when compared to other programs, this program has a really good price.” -- Sasha
  • “I spent a fantastic semester in Seville. From the application process to my arrival in Spain and even throughout my time there, I felt very well taken care of and able to concentrate on the most important things: improving my Spanish, experiencing the culture, and getting to know Spain and the Spaniards.” -- Matthew
9.86 Rating
based on 7 reviews
  • Academics 9.1
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 9.6

Other Great Summer Study Abroad Programs

In the above section, we highlighted the best summer study abroad programs that happen only during the summer months (May to August). There are some other programs worth noting -- but these programs occur both in the summer and during the fall/spring semesters. If you're uncertain about when you want to study abroad during the year, they might be a great option!

Whatever your academic goals or interests, there is likely a summer study abroad program on this list to match them. These programs are truly the best of the best, and you can feel more confident knowing that Go Overseas students have not only tried them but thrived in them. Have a great summer studying abroad!

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