Study Abroad

The 8 Most Unique Study Abroad Programs

Searching for a unique study abroad experience that will challenge you to adapt and grow? Check out these unique programs from across the globe.

The 12 Most Unique Study Abroad Programs

Studying on campus has its perks, but it’s a big wide world out there. When you study abroad, you expose yourself to new perspectives and experiences that you might not have otherwise encountered. That’s the case for essentially all overseas studies programs, but for certain extra-unique ones, that might be especially true.

If you’re looking for a program that is truly exceptional and memorable, you’d be surprised at how many there are. Some programs feature adventures you may never have even dreamed of. We’ve narrowed them down to our top 8, so keep on reading to learn about some of the most singular programs out there.

1. Seamester

  • Location: Multiple
  • Duration: Summer; Semester
  • Price: $5,970-$25,370 (2019)
  • Best For: Marine-loving adventurers

If you learn best outside a classroom, Seamester may be just what you’re looking for. You can spend a summer or a semester sailing across the Atlantic, through the Caribbean, or in other parts of the world. Students gain college credit while learning about marine sciences and seamanship, and you also get your sailing and scuba diving certifications along the way. Anchors aweigh!

Program Details

Program:
Seamester: Transatlantic, Mediterranean to Caribbean - 90 Days
Provider:
Seamester
Location:
Multiple Countries
Starting Price:
$27,000.00 USD
9.81 Rating
based on 16 reviews
  • Academics 8.3
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 8.8
  • Safety 9.7

2. University of Nicosia Global Semester in Europe

  • Location: Multiple
  • Duration: Semester
  • Price: $15,100 (2019)
  • Best For: Students with wanderlust

It can be hard to choose just one country where you want to study abroad – but you don’t have to. The University of Nicosia Global Semesters program will bring you to nine countries over the course of one semester. You’ll get to visit places that you're learning about in your classes, with some examples being Belgium’s parliament, Mozart’s house, and the Van Gogh Museum.

Program Details

Program:
Spring Semester in Europe - Travel and Study
Provider:
University of Nicosia Global Semesters
Location:
Multiple Countries
Starting Price:
$10,000.00 USD

3. The School for Field Studies

  • Location: Multiple
  • Duration: Semester
  • Price: $22,955 (2019)
  • Best For: Budding conservationists

The School for Field Studies’ Rainforest to Reef program is for the environmentally-minded. The interdisciplinary curriculum delves into environmental, social, and economic issues in Australia, through lectures and field exercises. You’ll get to visit different ecosystems and see incredible wildlife and scenery.

Program Details

Program:
SFS Study Abroad: Rainforest + Reef Studies in Australia
Provider:
The School for Field Studies (SFS)
Location:
Australia
9.22 Rating
based on 9 reviews
  • Academics 7.4
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 8.6
  • Housing 8.4
  • Safety 9.6

4. Institute for Field Research

  • Location: Xian, China
  • Duration: 4.5 weeks
  • Price: $4,325 (2019)
  • Best For: Archeology enthusiasts

The Institute for Field Research’s China: Yangguanzhai program gives students the rare opportunity to witness an archaeological dig. You’ll travel to the prehistoric village of Yangguanzhai, which dates back to between 4,000 and 3,000 BCE. There, you and your classmates will get to partake in lectures and discussions and possibly also do survey work at a nearby site.

Program Details

Program:
IFR: China- Yangguanzhai Field School
Provider:
Institute for Field Research
Location:
China
Starting Price:
$4,315.00 USD
10 Rating
based on 3 reviews
  • Academics 8.3
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 10

5. GEO Study Abroad

  • Location: Accra, Ghana
  • Duration: Semester
  • Price: $16,235 (2019)
  • Best For: Students interested in public health

The Global Health, Development and Service-Learning in Accra program through GEO Study Abroad offers both academic and volunteer opportunities. You’ll have a service-learning project that ties in with your coursework. At the same time, you’ll learn about the local culture and issues affecting Ghanaian society today through weekend excursions and your daily interactions with locals.

Bonus! GEO offers a fascinating Cinema Studies program in Ireland if your interests are more artistic.

Program Details

Program:
Cinema Studies in Dublin, Ireland
Provider:
GEO Study Abroad
Location:
Ireland
Starting Price:
$5,000.00 USD
9.89 Rating
based on 9 reviews
  • Academics 7
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.7

6. RWTH International Academy

  • Location: Aachen, Germany
  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • Price: $4,250 (2019)
  • Best For: Students with a talent for tinkering

You can spend your summer learning about high-tech transportation with RWTH International Academy’s Automotive and Mobility Studies Summer School. You’ll study alongside fellow international students and get an introduction to modern automotive technologies, concepts of mobility, and their grid integration within traffic and city planning. Meanwhile, you can study German, if you’re so inclined.

Program Details

Program:
Automotive & Mobility Studies - Summer School
Provider:
RWTH International Academy
Location:
Germany
Starting Price:
$3,750.00 USD
10 Rating
based on 2 reviews
  • Academics 8
  • Support 9
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.5

7. ieiMedia

  • Location: Jerusalem
  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • Price: $4,995 (2019)
  • Best For: Aspiring journalists

ieiMedia’s International Reporting in Jerusalem program allows you to see what it’s like to be a foreign correspondent. You’ll study with journalism vets and seek out your own stories. When you’re not hard at work, make sure to visit historic sites and meet locals. By the end of the summer, you’ll have unforgettable experiences, and published work to boot.

Program Details

Program:
International Reporting in Jerusalem with ieiMedia
Provider:
ieiMedia
Location:
Israel
Starting Price:
$4,995.00 USD
9.75 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • Academics 9.5
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.5

8. Verto Education First Semester/Year Abroad

  • Location: Varies
  • Duration: 12-26 weeks
  • Price: $12,000 per term (2019)
  • Best For: Prospective students with 'study abroad' as #1 for must-have college experiences

Is it a study abroad program? Is it a gap year program? It's both! If you're a prospective college student considering your options for study abroad before you enroll, consider Verto Education's First Semester/Year Abroad program. With two tracks -- one through Central America and another through Southeast Asia -- you can earn college credit while outside the classroom, and can even opt for a second semester in Ireland or New Zealand if you're really keen to stay abroad longer.

Note: Go Overseas and Verto Education are sibling companies. They did not request inclusion is this article.

Program Details

Program:
Verto Education Semester Abroad With College Credit
Provider:
Verto Education
Location:
Multiple Countries
Starting Price:
$5,000.00 USD
9.33 Rating
based on 12 reviews
  • Housing 9
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 8.4
  • Value 8.7
  • Safety 9.6

Where will you go?

Every study abroad experience leads to special memories, but with how unique these programs are, they may bring even more. No matter your interests or how much of the world you want to experience, these programs show that you can find a program as unique as you are -- and earn credit while exploring the world.

This article was originally published in February 2013, and was updated in June 2019.