Study History Abroad

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Are you curious to learn more about the history of other nations? Have you always wanted to visit some of the world's most important historical sites? Are you a history buff who wants to embark on a study abroad program focused on history? Fortunately for you, there are a good variety of study abroad programs for history majors and destinations.

Popular destinations include Germany, England, France, Italy, and Greece. If you'd like something less typical, venture to China, Japan, Egypt, Jordan, Cuba, or Latin America to learn about non-Western history.

For program types, you can opt from a traditional study abroad program attending classes at a university, a study-travel program, or short-term programs led by professors from your home university over the summer.

Learn about history from the source or listen to a different side of the same story by studying history abroad.

Photo: Melanie van Leeuwen.

The type of history you choose to study abroad depends greatly on your interests. Because there are so many options for studying history abroad, it will help to consider which topic interests you the most and go from there.

Think about the settings of your favorite movies and books. Maybe you're interested in learning more about the country your ancestors emigrated from. Perhaps you're drawn to a very specific topic like the history of Samurai and martial arts.

By studying abroad, you'll have the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions with teachers, fellow students, and locals. So think about the questions you're most anxious to have answered and it should help you narrow down your search.

Here are some popular topics to get you started:

War History

When we learn of past wars, especially ones that didn't involve our home country, we only learn one side of the story. If you're interested in war history, take this chance to learn the details that can only come from locals.

Studying war history can take you anywhere in the world. You could study the World Wars in Europe, the battles of Genghis Khan in Mongolia, or the French Revolution in Paris.

Your classes and teachers will provide a great deal of valuable information but make sure to take full advantage of your time by visiting museums, memorials, and respectfully talking to locals to learn their perspectives as well.

Politics and History

Another popular option for studying history abroad is to take it in combination with politics. Study the political history of the country from those who know it best.

The United States is unique because it's relatively young. Democracy in the US only goes back a few hundred years while many other countries have political history records that go back thousands of years with a wide range of government types.

Explore the similarities and differences between your host and home countries. Read local newspapers, watch the news, and join in on class discussions while keeping an open mind.

Ancient Civilizations

Although the people of ancient civilizations may be long gone, the ruins, artifacts, and stories are still very much alive and are begging to be explored by students who love history.

Learn methods of excavation, take language and culture classes, go on excursions that will bring the pictures of famous historical sights to life.

Forget everything you know about field trips from grade school and get ready to step back in time.

Touring the Coliseum in Rome makes you forget the cars rushing past right outside. The costumed guides at the Tower of London take you back to the middle of the 16th century when King Henry VIII changed the course of religious history. In Belize, Garifuna musicians and dancers tell their story of resisting colonialism through song.

Germany

Germany has seen some of the most influential historical events over the past century and offers incredible options for learning about them.

For short term study abroad experiences, city walking tours and museums provide fantastic overviews of complete Germany history and the world's most recent wars. After learning the facts in museums explore the art museums to experience moving evidence of a country touched deeply by war.

For longer stays, take every opportunity to respectfully engage in conversation with locals to understand their stories. Because this history is so recent, many German citizens will have first-hand experience.

China

Because there are so many places with rich histories and nearly five thousand years of stories in China, you can't go wrong studying history any city.

Try learning about the philosophy behind China's culture, military battles, religious culture, or political history.

Italy

Study history in one of the most desirable countries in the world for international education and travel. Popular topics include the history of gladiators, Catholicism, and the Roman Empire.

England

If you enjoy Roman takeovers, Viking invasions, plagues, beheadings, and castles, then England may be the place for you. England is also a great place to study recent history, especially if you're interested in using your degree for a career in politics.

The British Museum does a fantastic job of taking you through the world's most influential historical events. The British Library displays a wide range of meaningful historical documents from Beethoven's original sheet music to lyrics jotted down by The Beatles.

If you're not sold on these options, explore this list of 9 great cities for studying history abroad.

Housing

Most semester or year-long programs offer you the option of staying on the college campus or with a host family. Many smaller towns recommend staying with a host family, especially when English is not commonly spoken.

There are many benefits to staying with a host family when you study abroad, but for history majors, it's especially helpful. Many host parents will be close in age to your parents or older. The firsthand knowledge they have of recent historical events will be the perfect compliment to textbooks and lectures.

Additional Tips

If you haven't decided where you want to study and you're looking for something to tip the scales one way or another, you might look at what the museum and excursion opportunities look like. You can look up cost and proximity to help you make a decision.

Most museums in London offer free entry, Spain has free entry during certain times of the day to some museums, and many programs include museum entry fees to the total cost.

Having quick access to London's Imperial War Museum, China's Great Wall, or the Great Sphinx of Giza may be the pro on your pro/con list that decides where you'll end up.

Contributed by Victoria Hundley

Showing 63 Programs

Australia

API
API students have the opportunity to study abroad in Melbourne – one of Australia’s (and the world’s) most exciting and cosmo...

Costa Rica

USAC
Study abroad next summer, semester or academic year with USAC in Heredia, Costa Rica. All USAC courses during the Spanish, Ec...

Czech Republic

NYU Global Programs
Learn about the incredible cultural and political transformation of the Czech Republic since the Velvet Revolution in 1989, w...

England

Art History Abroad
Starting college in the spring or taking a Gap Year? Why not kick start your time doing something worthwhile with this amazin...

Brazil

USAC
The Florianópolis program offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the incredibly diverse and dynamic culture...

Italy

AIFS Study Abroad
Spend a semester or year in the vibrant and historic city of Rome. Earn up to 19 credits studying at Richmond. Courses are ta...

Italy

CET Academic Programs
Want to study in one of Italy's most beautiful and cosmopolitan cities? Looking to travel to a different European destination...

United Kingdom

Oxford Royale Academy
Our Oxford Summer School is our longest running and most popular study option, with programmes guaranteed to pique the intere...

China

Where There Be Dragons
Immerse yourself in Chinese culture and develop a broad understanding of the drivers and challenges confronting the world’s s...

United Kingdom

University of Chichester
The University of Chichester has two campuses, both located in the beautiful county of West Sussex, just 70 miles from London...

Greece

College Year in Athens (CYA)
CYA has offered study abroad programs in a wide range of academic disciplines for over 50 years. With supplemental activities...

China

USAC
The University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) offers this exciting opportunity to study Chinese and International Business...

Cuba

University at Albany Study Abroad & Exchanges
The University at Albany offers a unique opportunity to study the history, culture and politics of Cuba, plus intensive Spani...

Costa Rica

USAC
Study abroad with the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) in Puntarenas, Costa Rica next January (short-term), summer...

Ireland

CAPA The Global Education Network
Try and nab the luck of the Irish when you find yourself in Dublin, Ireland. Established as a Viking settlement in the 10th c...