What Your Study Abroad City Says About You

Do you get how crazily awesome it is to be able to study abroad? Do you understand how much the majority of the working world, sitting at their 9-5, 50-weeks-a-year office jobs, envies you? Do you know how often college graduates look back on the time they were lucky enough to spend studying overseas and urge their 20-year-old selves to CHERISH IT, PLEASE CHERISH IT? Studying abroad can be an amazing, memorable, formative experience, and your choice of city is monumental in shaping the kind of experience you have. But this choice is also telling of the kind of person you are — are you seeking adventure? Culture? Comfort? Here are 11 study abroad destinations and what they say about you.

by Megan Eileen McDonough


You are adventurous and the life of the party. You wanted to go somewhere far away from home and start fresh but without going too far out of your comfort zone. Sydney is one of those “once in a lifetime” trips so why not make it part of your college memories while you’re at it? Sydney students love the great outdoors and never step down from a dare, no matter how embarrassing. These busy bees are active round the clock, making the most of every day.


Let’s not be coy here. You love the beach and are waiting for the moment when you can show off your amazing tan to your jealous friends back home. OK, so that’s not the best reason for studying in Barcelona but it can pass as one. Your motivation for studying in Spain might be to learn Spanish but in Barcelona, you will come back speaking Catalan. Students who flock here are not afraid of a challenge. In fact, they embrace it.


You are simply too cool for school but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to learn. Even the vibrant street art on the forgotten wall has a story to tell. Students who head to Berlin for school are looking for more than classroom knowledge. Berlin has a pretty unique history, much of which is rather recent, and it’s hard not to feel apart of the action. Go here if you want to live in a city that is constantly evolving…just like you.

Cape Town

So your friends are all going to Europe and you care because…? Exactly — you’d rather be doing your own thing in one of the most colorful cities in the world. The Cape Town of today is hardly what it was twenty years ago and, similar to Berlin, there’s a feeling of constant change that’s contagious. Plus, this is the spot if you’re looking for the best of both worlds landscape-wise — white, sandy beaches and tall, cascading mountains.

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is often called the “Paris of South America” so there are a lot of similarities between these two study abroad destinations. What makes BA different than the others on this list? It’s just plain sexy. Everything from the eye candy to the literal candy (alfajores anyone?) is better here. It’s also a jumping point to other destinations in South America so have your suitcase at the ready. Go here for adventure and stay for the winter.


You are posh to the core. Your friends might be wondering why you chose drizzly London of all places but as usual, you’re one step ahead of them. London is a great location for internships because there’s no language barrier to tackle…just adorable accents. The city is a true melting pot and culture is everywhere. You’re also a traveler at heart because with five London airports at your disposal, no city is out of reach.


Eating pasta and sipping fine wine is way more than a pastime for you. You’re a culture addict, not to mention a romantic, and you want to experience a slice of Italian life. Many fashion students flock here, as Milan is known as one of the most fashion-forward cities in the world. There’s also a lively nightlife scene so between the Italian dinners and the rowdy bar crawls, you may not even have time for your studies — but that’s OK, you’re still fabulous.


You enjoy the finer things in life, and in between classes you split your time between cozy cafes and swanky bars, often ditching your smartphone entirely so you can fully enjoy the street scene. After all, Paris is one of the best people-watching cities and if you’re in the creative field, there’s more than enough inspiration to get you started. If you’re able to grasp the language enough to speak it fluently, you might be able to land a swanky internship on your own.


You realize that a study abroad experience should go way beyond parties and booze. You want to make a dent in the world and are probably involved in some sort volunteer program while you’re there. Sure, Mumbai isn’t the India you read about in Eat, Pray, Love but there’s a realness about this city that will open your eyes to pressing global issues. From the colorful culture to the bustling streets, Mumbai may start feeling like your new home.


You have an eye for photography and want to study somewhere that looks shiny and new but is actually dripping in history. You appreciate Vienna’s green mentality and all of the nature that surrounds the city. Vienna may not get as much praise as Paris or Milan, but it really should. The city is a gem anyway you look at it. From Baroque architecture to spacious green gardens, Vienna is for the culturally curious.


You were torn — you wanted to study abroad but didn’t want to miss a semester partying with your friends, so you picked Florence and didn’t have to choose between the two. Now your days are spent wandering the Uffizi or navigating the neighborhood around your Duomo-adjacent apartment, your nights mostly consist of partying at pubs or underground nightclubs with students from your college or another college just like it, and your weekends are for long train rides to foreign cities with those same students — and that’s just fine with you.