We believe in the power of studying abroad, no matter what the subject or destination. However, it can’t be denied that some subjects go hand-in-hand with overseas studies. Hospitality is one of them.

After all, the hospitality industry is one closely linked with tourism and international travel. Whether you end up working in a hotel, restaurant, cruise ship, or amusement park, you are going to have to become an expert on the local area, deal with people from all over the world, and be a credit to the destination you represent.

By placing you in an unfamiliar environment, studying overseas prepares you for this. You can choose to learn the tricks of the trade while immersed in an iconic global destination, or you could head for one of the industry-leading hospitality schools to be found around the world. Whatever you choose, your hospitality training will directly benefit from the adventure.

Both undergraduate and post-graduate programs are common in hospitality, as are shorter intensive ones, usually during the summer. Generally speaking, undergraduate programs will cover the broad spectrum of hospitality, with Masters and PhDs allowing you to specialize in narrower fields.

Hospitality is offered as a course in many major universities, but there are also several schools dedicated entirely to it. These are often some of the more prestigious programs you can undertake in the industry.

Frontline Placements

You can’t manage a hotel without knowing what it’s like to work at one, so most hospitality studies will have an internship or work experience component. You may be placed at one location for several months, or there may be a rotation of placements so you get to experience a variety of hospitality styles and situations.

Immersion Courses

Many universities offer intensive immersion programs which place you right in the heart of the action. You will have the chance to experience first-hand several types of hospitality work, from hotels to restaurants and even cruises. An immersion course may also cover hospitality management basics like accounting.

This type of program is usually available for those wishing to go straight into a hospitality Masters, who feel like they are lacking the foundations.

Entrepreneurship Programs

Being a manager isn’t the same as being a business owner. If you want to learn to do both, look for a program with a specific focus on entrepreneurship and managing your own business. This is ideal for those who dream of opening their own hotel or restaurant or for those who plan to run the family business one day.

Some countries are known for their world-leading hospitality schools and will immediately attract students looking for the very best. Alternatively. the close relationship between hospitality and tourism means that countries with thriving tourist industries are great places to study hospitality management.


Switzerland is home to the most prestigious hospitality school in the world, the École Hôtelière de Lausanne, as well as to other industry-leading institutions like Glion. Studying in Switzerland is not cheap, but graduates from these top-shelf schools can go on to work in some of the finest establishments around the world

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai is one of the world’s best hospitality schools, and there are many other courses to choose from among the city’s many great colleges. Living in Dubai comes with perks like year-round incredible weather and exceptional transport links throughout Asia, but it is also reasonably pricey.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s tourism industry is booming, and hospitality is booming right alongside it. Hospitality courses in Costa Rica can take place in the vibrant city of San Jose or among the lush mountainous landscape of Monteverde. Ecotourism is especially popular throughout the country, and many of the hospitality courses will reflect this with a focus on sustainability.


Australia has a few top-notch hospitality schools and a whole host of excellent universities. It’s an incredible place to live, with stunning nature, cool cities, and a laid-back, friendly vibe. Depending on where you base yourself and what frontline experience you do, your hospitality studies could lean more towards surf n’ sun beach vibes or cultural city chic.

Hospitality is a popular field. This means there is heavy competition at the top for the most prestigious schools, but also that it’s not difficult to find a program essentially anywhere in the world.

How to Choose a Hospitality Study Abroad Program

Your approach will depend on what you are planning to do with your hospitality degree. Do you want to study somewhere cool and then return home to put what you've learned into practice? Or is your ambition to work in hospitality abroad?

If it’s the former, the prestige and quality of the school are more important, as is picking a destination you think you’d enjoy living in. If you want to have an international career, it helps to go study in a similar to where you might see yourself working in. You may end up moving around (many people in hospitality do), but you will graduate with one foot already in a foreign hospitality industry.

Health & Safety

Hospitality does not have any particular safety considerations, beyond knowing how to avoid severe injury in a kitchen. Do make sure you have appropriate health insurance before traveling abroad and check any health advisories for your destination.

Other Need to Know

Due to the somewhat international nature of the hospitality business, many courses abroad are held in English. This is good news for hospitality students looking to go overseas, as you’ll have more options to choose from.

However, it can make it hard for students to get a real sense of local customs and attitudes, which can be crucial for good hospitality management. To counter this, look for courses that offer language classes or immersion into the local industry.

Guide Author
Photo of Beatriz Silva Porto
Go Overseas Writer

Hospitality Study Abroad Programs

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