For tourism and hospitality students, studying abroad is practically a requirement of the degree. Since the industry can encompass anything from hotel and restaurant management to tour operations, spending a semester or more abroad will help you hone your understanding of the tourism and hospitality as both a student and as a traveler.

Every time you set out to explore your host country, it’s like completing a personal homework assignment. From the visitor’s perspective, you’ll observe how certain activities, whether it be dining at a quirky cafe or joining in a hostel social event, shape your overall experience in that place.

With industry professionals leading in the classroom, you’ll learn how a different region handles its unique tourism demands. Taking your studies overseas is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to expand your understanding of this diverse industry.

Real World Immersion

Real world immersion programs place an emphasis on that destination’s language, customs, and way of life. They’re perfect for tourism and hospitality students who have a keen interest in local culture. Popular programs will have you taking foreign language courses in an overseas classroom and living in homestay accommodation to help you get fully acquainted with your host country.

Research Theses

Adding a global element to your research thesis will only make your work stronger. As tourism and hospitality operations vary from region to region, studying abroad helps you examine a side of the industry that you might not get to observe from home. Maybe you want to discuss the impact tourism can have on isolated areas or study shifting accommodation trends. It’s all possible when you study abroad.

Field Work

For students of tourism and hospitality, fieldwork entails taking time out of the classroom to experience how the industry operates overseas. Studying abroad, your professor might take you on field trips to examine restaurant life behind the scenes, or there may even be a global volunteer or internship component that has you learning firsthand at a local organization.

Narrowing down the top destinations to study tourism and hospitality abroad is about as difficult as choosing a spot for your next getaway. When the whole world is waiting to be explored, where do you go as a tourist or as a student of the industry? The following countries should help you get started.

Costa Rica

With beachfront resorts, delectable local cuisine, and rainforest retreats, Costa Rica’s abundance of experiences make it a popular Central American destination for learning about hospitality management. Many study abroad programs take students to San José, the country’s capital, for their coursework. You might even have the option to take classes in Spanish and stay with a local family.

New Zealand

New Zealand’s diverse array of activities make it a desired location for all types of tourism and hospitality students. Study abroad in Queenstown to learn about the intricacies of adventure tourism, or head to Victoria University of Wellington for a more urban approach. Depending on the program, foreign students might also complement their courses with an internship at a tour company.


From Beijing to Shanghai, there is an abundance of opportunities for foreign students in China. In these thriving areas, you’ll learn from experienced professors about every aspect of tourism and hospitality, whether it’s management or tour leading. Countryside-based programs are equally valuable, with organizations placing students in cultural immersion courses.

These countries are just a start to get you inspired -- almost every country in the world is affected by tourism, which means there are endless destinations to study hospitality and tourism abroad!

Chances are, if you’re into tourism and hospitality management, planning is probably already one of your top skills. Still, studying abroad is more than choosing courses and destinations -- consider the following when preparing for your trip.

How to Choose a Tourism & Hospitality Study Abroad Program

When selecting a study abroad program, aim for a healthy mix of educational value and cultural exposure. With your studies being a top priority, you’ll benefit from a program that emphasizes your area of interest in tourism and hospitality. However, since so much of what you do involves destination and experience, choosing a location that’s calling to you is equally important.

Health & Safety

As an area of study, tourism and hospitality is relatively risk-free. If you’re focusing in a peculiar area, like adventure or outdoor tourism, you’ll need to be diligent about course material covering health and safety. From there, you’ll have to evaluate how your destination’s characteristics might amplify those threats.

One unique aspect of this career is that you’re not only looking out for your well-being but that of your clients as well. You may not have any of your own guests or tour participants just yet, but your classes will provide valuable insight into your future responsibilities. With every region possessing its own safety considerations, studying abroad gives you a head start in adaptability.

Other Need to Know

In the tourism and hospitality industries, where you’ll be meeting and interacting with people from all over the world, being able to communicate across barriers is vital. Classroom learning, from language courses to management techniques, will help you flesh out your skill set, but it’s studying abroad that will really prepare you for a career in tourism and hospitality.

From ordering an unfamiliar dish at a local restaurant to navigating a foreign transportation system, you’ll acquire skills in adaptability, cross-cultural communication, and quick thinking. Take the time to discover your new surroundings -- it’s good for your present experiences and for your future career.


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