Want to study abroad in 2017? Time to start planning! Many study abroad programs require you apply up to a year in advance. As an American student, you have the whole world at your fingertips. But you’ll need to choose a program soon. Need some suggestions? Here are the 10 best places to study abroad in 2017:

10 Best Places to Study Abroad in 2017

best places to study abroad uk

1. United Kingdom

Why the UK is one of the best places to study abroad: The United Kingdom is hands-down the most popular place to study abroad for American students. For many students, studying in the UK is just different enough. Everyone speaks English, so there’s no need to learn another language. There are just enough cultural differences to be challenging but not enough to be completely overwhelming. Plus, there’s something for everyone: international business, history, language, art and the list goes on.

Most Popular Schools/Programs: Regent’s University London is conveniently located, with a wide variety of programs and schedules available.  Former students rated the program 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Abroad101 website. Scotland more your speed? Check out the University of Dundee, also rated 4.5 stars and ranked in the top 200 universities worldwide. CAPA’s London program is also highly rated, with courses and internships in a variety of subjects.

Passport Requirements: Your passport must be valid for at least the duration of your stay. However, a full six months is recommended. You’ll also need one blank page in the back.

best places to study abroad Belgium

2. Belgium

Why Belgium is one of the best places to study abroad:  Belgium may seem like a surprising choice. But, this tiny gem of a country offers unique advantages to international students. Studying in Belgium exposes you to 3 different languages in one country: Dutch, French and German.  Interested in international politics? Brussels is home to major international institutions like NATO and the United Nations. It’s also one of the most educated countries; staying in school until age 18 is mandatory. And it has the highest percentage of female government officials in the world.

On a more leisurely note, Belgium is also famous for its chocolate and beer, and its universities are thriving.

Top Schools/Programs: Abroad101’s top-reviewed programs include CIEE, which offers a summer program focusing on business, communications and culture, and ISA’s programs for business, communications, and international politics.

Passport Requirements: You need a passport valid for at least 6 months and at least 2 blank pages.

best places to study abroad Italy

3. Italy

Your Own Personal Renaissance

Why Italy is one of the best places to study abroad: According to the Institute of International Education, Italy is the second-most popular choice for US students studying abroad.  Italy has been a prime destination for international students since 1088 AD. That’s = when the University of Bologna became the oldest university in the Western world.

Italy offers amazing opportunities to study subjects like history, archaeology, art, fashion and more. Fuel your studies with dark, smooth Italian espresso, the best ice cream in the world, and samples of Italian wine.

Top Schools/Programs:  Lorenzo de’ Medici offers a semester-long program with classes in 3 cities: Tuscania, Rome, and Florence or Venice.  It focuses primarily on history, art, and the humanities.  Classes are also offered at the Florence branch of Lorenzo de’ Medici through API, with a much broader selection of subjects. You can study everything from art and architecture to political science and sociology.

Passport Requirements: Valid at least 6 months beyond your departure date, with 2 blank pages.

best places to study abroad Germany

4. Germany

Why Germany is one of the best places to study abroad: Germany is an excellent place to study almost anything. But it’s especially attractive to students of business, engineering, the hard sciences, and German. Even better? German universities offer free tuition, even to foreigners!  But what if your German skills aren’t up to scratch? More and more German schools are also offering classes in English.

And of course, Germany’s excellent transportation system makes it easy to explore Germany and nearby countries during study breaks.

Top Schools/Programs:  The most popular, highly-rated programs on Abroad101 include the European Study Center in Heidelberg  and IES in Berlin.  You can also find information on university-level German courses conducted in English here. 

Passport Requirements: Valid at least 6 months beyond your departure date, with 2 blank pages in the back.

best places to study abroad France

5. France

Why France is one of the best places to study abroad: Want to walk in the footsteps of your favorite artists, writers, and philosophers while enjoying amazing food, chocolate, and coffee? Studying abroad in France offers all of that and more, which is why it’s the fourth most popular study abroad destination for US students. While the cost of living is high, tuition at French universities can be quite cheap, even for Americans.

Top Schools/Programs: Parlez-vous français? Wellesley’s study abroad program in Aix-en-Provence immerses you in the local university culture at Aix-Marseille University and offers homestays with local families. CEA and IES Abroad also offer highly rated study-abroad programs in various French cities and towns.

Passport requirements: Valid for at least 6 months beyond your departure date, with one page per stamp in the back.

best places to study abroad Spain

6. Spain

Sun, Scholarship, and Tapas

Why Spain is one of the best places to study abroad: Sunny Spain boasts the third-highest number of US students, according to the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors report.  Learn Spanish, enjoy amazing food and bask in the atmosphere of highly regarded Spanish universities like the University of Barcelona and the University of Seville. Spain is an excellent place to study a wide variety of subjects, from Spanish to STEM to humanities and more.

Top Schools/Programs: On Abroad101, the best-reviewed and most popular programs include IES Abroad,  Sol Education Abroad, and the Universidad de Alcalá.

Passport Requirements: Valid for at least 6 months with one blank page per stamp.

best places to study abroad Mexic

7. Mexico

Why Mexico is one of the best places to study abroad: Mexico gets a bad rap, so why is it on the list? Approximately 3,800 Americans study abroad in Mexico every year.  It’s more accessible than Europe for some students. Plus, it offers an unparalleled chance to learn Spanish. You’ll also learn about Mexican life, indigenous cultures, and pre-Columbian history. In your free time, enjoy activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, exploring Mayan ruins and more.

Top Schools/Programs: Sol Education Abroad’s Oaxaca program is the most popular on Abroad101, with a 4.7 rating.  Universidad Iberoamericana also has a highly-rated program in Mexico City that allows students to learn more about Mexican life and culture while also taking classes in their areas of study.

Passport Requirements: One blank page per stamp

best places to study abroad Japan

8. Japan

Find Your Zen

Why Japan is one of the best places to study abroad: Studying abroad in Japan gives you the opportunity to pick up marketable Japanese language skills. It’s also an excellent place to learn about science, technology, and finance.  Feel the energy of bustling cities and relax by postcard-perfect temples. Do you love anime, manga or video games? Then this is the place to be.

Top Schools/Programs: According to Abroad101, some popular and highly-rated Japanese study-abroad programs include Kwansei Gakuin University in Osaka, Akita International University, and KCP International Japanese Language School’s Tokyo immersion program.

Passport Requirements: Valid for your intended length of stay, with one blank page in the back per stamp.

best places to study abroad China

 9. China

Why China is one of the best places to study abroad: Approximately 15,000 American students study abroad in China every year. China is a major force in the global economy and a major trading partner, so Chinese language and cultural skills are in-demand. Plus, China is a great place to learn about international business and technology.

Top Schools/Programs: According to Abroad101, the following programs are both popular and well-reviewed: The Alliance for Global Education’s Shanghai program, Loyola University’s Beijing Center, TEAN’s program at Fudan University and the University of Pittsburgh’s China Innovate program. 

Passport Requirements: Valid for at least six months with two blank pages. Visa required.

best places to study abroad Costa Rica

10. Costa Rica

Pura Vida

Why Costa Rica is one of the best places to study abroad: Interested biology, nature, or the environment? Costa Rica is the place for you. It’s known for its rainforests, beaches, and reliance on alternative energy. And you’ll be in good company.  9,305 US students studied there in 2015.

Top Schools/Programs: According to Abroad101, the best programs include Sol Education Abroad’s program at theUniversidad Latina de Costa Rica, Stephen F. Austin’s Cross Cultural Learning in Costa Rica trip, and CPI Heredia’s language program. 

Passport Requirements: Valid for your intended length of stay, with one blank page in the back per stamp.

How to Get a Passport to Study Abroad

Ready to go? There’s no question that studying abroad can sharpen your foreign language skills. And it looks great on a resume. But you’ll need a passport!

For the month of November, the Department of State is holding Passport to the World events on college campuses across the country.  They’ll be meeting with students, answering questions and taking applications. Find events close to you here. 

No matter what, get your passport application in early. Current processing time is five weeks for regular service. If you expedite at the post office, it’s three weeks.

Did you wait until the last minute? Don’t despair! Getting an emergency passport is possible.  There are 26 passport agencies scattered across the country that offer emergency service. Or try an expediting service like RushMyPassport. We hand-carry your passport application to the Department of State for processing in as little as one business day!

Don’t let opportunity pass you by ! Check out our services for new passports, passport renewals and more today!