Studying abroad while in college has increased four fold in the last two decades according to the Open Door Report for 2009. Although most American students study abroad in Europe (around 56 percent), places like China, Ireland, Argentina and India are rapidly growing popularity with 20 percent increases in popularity since the 2006-2007 school year. New York University sends the most students abroad each year with 3,395 in the 2007-2008 school year.
Thousands of sites are offered around the globe from India to China to Ghana to Paris by both public institutions as well as private programs. Studying abroad can be expensive especially considering the exchange rates in Europe and traveling beyond the abroad site. Summer programs that are shorter are a good choice for those with a tight budget because the tuition is not as much and the extra credits could lead to an early graduation. However, it is important to plan early in order to apply for financial aid and to have a budget for the whole trip not just the tuition.
Several Historically Black Colleges and Universities have study abroad programs including Howard University, North Carolina A&T University and Savannah State University. Several HBCUs offer programs that are not in the top ten popular countries such as in Ghana, South Africa, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.
1. United Kingdom
Hate learning foreign languages? Then, the choice is the most popular study abroad site for American students, the United Kingdom. More than 12 percent of study abroad students choose the U.K. Sites are available from different universities in London, Wales and Scotland. Kentucky State University has programs in both England and Scotland.
Love pasta, opera singing and art? Italy here we come. With more than 11 percent of study abroad students choosing Italy, it is a close second to the U.K. in popularity. Sites are available in Florence, Rome and Milan.
Want to see a matador in person? Then, the only choice is Spain. Fewer than 10 percent of students choose Spain. Madrid is the most popular city. Howard University has a program in Barcelona.
Love baguettes and pastries? France is the forth most popular country with 6 percent. Student abroad courses in France usually involve the study of French history and language. Grambling State University is implementing a new program there and Delaware State University already has a program in France.
Want to learn Mandarin? China is the fifth most popular country with 5 percent. China is especially popular with international business majors. Savannah State University has two programs in Shanghai and Beijing.
Want to learn to surf and drive in the outback? Australia is the sixth most popular country with just over 4 percent of studying choosing the land down under. English speakers could be an attraction, but the sun and surf does not hurt either. Kentucky State University offers programs both in Australia and New Zealand for the semester, summer and winter sessions.
Love vacationing in Cancun? Mexico is the seventh choice for students with around 4 percent. With the violence in Mexico, it is surprising that it is a top ten country. However, with the need for Latin American Spanish speakers in the U.S., this is a good opportunity to become fluent and improve the resume with a second language. Delaware State University has an intensive Spanish language program based in the Yucatan.
Want to live in a country that has been both communist and democratic? Germany is the eighth most popular country with 3 percent of students. German language classes have declined in the U.S. as education spending has been cut. There is no better way to learn than from the inside out. Howard University has a program in Berlin.
Love redheads and a good party? There is no better spot than Ireland. Ireland is the ninth most popular country. The Irish speak English, but they also have their own native language, Goidelic. So if they can still talk about you without you knowing. Kentucky State University has a program in Ireland.
10. Costa Rica
Love beautiful beaches, great people and sunshine? Costa Rica is known as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. No wonder why it comes in as the tenth most popular country for students with just over 2 percent. An added plus, is that it is another country where students can learn Spanish. Grambling State University and North Carolina A&T University both have programs in this beautiful South American country.