As a student of philosophy you always want to know more. This can’t be done if you never widen your own perspectives. Why not broaden your horizons and understanding of the world by packing your bags and studying philosophy in a new and different setting abroad?
While studying philosophy abroad you’ll go far beyond the pages of your textbooks to discover just which schools of thought are universal and which are the products of specific cultures and places. Studying philosophy abroad will expose you to new avenues of thinking and force you to get both mentally and physically out of the box.
The topics of philosophy, ethics, morals, and religion didn’t arise from nowhere. They are the results of many generations of thought seen through a specific cultural lens. To truly understand them, there’s no better way than walking the same paths of the great thinkers who came before you. After all, the journey can be more enlightening than the destination.
Attending philosophy classes in a foreign university will give you ample opportunities to listen to the perspectives of your peers and professors from other countries. Likewise, by adding your own voice to the conversation you can provide them with your unique cultural point of view.
Philosophical thought often reflects the context in which it is considered. That is why taking your classes far away from your own cultural experience is a great way to expose yourself to new types of thinking in ways you wouldn’t be able to do at home.
Going overseas to conduct research for your thesis in philosophy can take you to the same libraries that Nietzsche, Rousseau, and Locke spent their time. If that’s not inspiration enough, you can study first-hand the legacy of different philosophical thought in different cultures to experience just how notions of ethics, religion, and morality are received and interpreted around the world.
This will surely be much more exciting than reading about it second-hand back home and will lend your thesis the credibility of having been researched in the field.
Where to Go
Greece has been a laboratory of philosophy for at least two and a half millennia. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Diogenes all called this land home. What’s better than literally following in their footsteps as you study the birth of Western thought? There are many opportunities to study philosophy in Greece through schools like Athens University and the American College of Greece.
India has been inspiring different ways of thinking longer than anyone truly knows. For thousands of years, different Indian schools of philosophy, such as Ājīvika, Cārvāka, and Ajñana have been influencing each other as well as the people of this subcontinent. These and other philosophies are still popular today. In fact, philosophy is the most common course of study for Indian university students majoring in the Humanities, meaning that this is a fantastic country for philosophy students.
England is home to some of the most well-regarded philosophy programs in the world. Many universities, such as Oxford and King’s College, have extensive libraries containing original works by English philosophers dating back to the middle ages. While in England you’ll enjoy studying in a place where you speak the language and will have easy access to exploring other parts of Europe.
China is home to one of the oldest civilizations on the planet. As such, there is a long history of philosophical thought here that has lasted through the centuries as well as adapting to the changing times. By studying philosophy in China you will be exposed to different paradigms than you are used to on a daily basis. This will provide you with a perspective impossible to achieve back home.
Planning Your Trip
How to Choose a Philosophy Study Abroad Program
You’ll want to make sure that any courses you take abroad will satisfy the requirements of your home university. It’s wise to double check before you apply so you’ll know if the program will help you reach your degree.
Most of all, you should look for a program that offers you something that you could not find at home. Do the professors offer something unique? Will you have access to materials and resources that can’t be found elsewhere? These are important considerations to have when looking for the program that’s right for you.
Health & Safety
Other than giving yourself a migraine from thinking too hard, there are no specific risks or dangers associated with pursuing philosophy coursework abroad. Just make sure that you have health coverage, either through your university or a private insurer, and you should be just fine. You can learn more about health concerns in your specific destination at the Center for Disease Control’s website.
Other Need to Know
If you’ll be taking courses in a second language, most programs require that you have completed at least a couple of years of college-level instruction in that language.
Costs can add up for a study abroad. Fortunately, there are many scholarships and grants out there that you can take advantage of. Check out the current Go Overseas scholarships to see if any are right for you!