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Study History Abroad: 9 Great Cities

Why study history abroad?

The benefits of studying and understanding history are not always obvious. How, for example, can knowing the intimate details of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh help you find a job today? Sometimes it may seem like there is little to relate to, but understanding history helps us to appreciate humanities past triumphs, as well as our mistakes. From this knowledge we seek to build a better future.

One of the many perks of studying abroad is the chance to live and learn in any one of the great cities of the world. Did you know people have been living in Athens, Greece for over 3000 years?! There's definitely a lot to learn there about the origins of ancient Greece and how it's people forged the modern ideal of a republican government.

Athens, Greece

#1. Athens, Greece

Studying abroad for a semester or a year in Athens, Greece puts you face to face with the city that inspired the pontifications of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Anyone with an interest in Greek mythology will treasure a visit to the Parthenon or the Acropolis, and students of politics will relish their time in the city that invented democracy.

See Study Abroad Programs in Athens

Cairo, Egypt

#2. Cairo, Egypt

With the pyramids of Giza just ten miles away, a student of ancient Egyptian history can easily pay a visit to the spectacular tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs. Modern historians will be blown away by the architecture, the complex religious and social history of Egypt, and the city’s many mosques and religious sites.

See Study Abroad Programs in Cairo

Rome, Italy

#3. Rome, Italy

An obvious choice for a history lover. The capital of the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire, a trip to Rome today allows budding historians to immerse themselves in the civilization that brought us gladiator fights. Brush up on your Latin and stroll through ancient sites like the Forum, Coliseum, and Circus Maximus, taking in the remarkably well-preserved ruins of Rome’s glory days.

See Study Abroad Programs in Rome

Cuzco, Peru

#4. Cuzco, Peru

As the historic capital of the Inca Empire, Cuzco is a fantastic place for students of the arts and cultural history of the Incas. Cuzco also served as the Spanish conquistadors’ home base for the colonization of the rest of the Andes. A semester or summer absorbing the breathtaking beauty of the Andes and Machu Picchu, the “lost city of the Incas,” is an unbeatable way to study Peru’s history.

See Study Abroad Programs in Cusco

London, England

#5. London, England

London’s lengthy history, vital to the development of the Western world, dates back to its founding by the Romans, who called it Londinium. Once the center of an empire on which the sun never set, London is an incredible place to ponder the development of parliamentary government, the famous monarchic dynasties, and the double-decker bus.

See Study Abroad Programs in London

Istanbul, Turkey

#6. Istanbul, Turkey

The only major metropolis that is actually located on two continents, Istanbul is a city whose global importance dates back to before the Roman Empire. A student of history can marvel at the Hagia Sophia, which was at different times both a cathedral and a mosque, cross the famous Bosphorus bridge, which connects Asia and Europe, and take in Istanbul’s multi-dimensional past.

See Study Abroad Programs in Istanbul

Paris, France

#7. Paris, France

A semester in Paris is one of the best ways for lovers of history to immerse themselves in the wonders of the past. Visit Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles to bask in royal excess or stop at the Bastille to celebrate the triumph of republican government in the French Revolution. Of course, there is no better place to study art history, from the classics at the Louvre to the modern art at the Pompidou center.

See Study Abroad Programs in Paris

Tokyo, Japan

#8. Tokyo, Japan

A busy, super-modern city with a complex recent and distant past, Tokyo is a great place for a historian to spend time. Originally a small fishing village called Edo, Tokyo became the imperial capital of the Meiji emperor. Today, it is a bustling commercial center and one of the world’s centers of finance. To take a break from the rapid pace, you can pay a visit to the Meiji Shrine, a peaceful oasis within a busy metropolis.

See Study Abroad Programs in Tokyo

Moscow, Russia

#9. Moscow, Russia

The capital of Russia, Moscow has a fascinating history and a dynamic, energetic climate today. History buffs can visit the towers of the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Tomb and the DUMA (Russian parliament), among other exciting historical sites. Today, Moscow is experiencing a burst of creativity and culture. Fun fact: it is the home of the most billionaires in the world AND the most expensive cups of coffee.

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Ready for more? Explore history study abroad programs.

Zoe Fishman

Zoe was a former intern at Go Overseas and Cal Berkeley alumnus. She now lives in Southern California.

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