Europe is one of the most popular continents for students from the United States to study abroad in. In fact, it’s speculated that more than half of all U.S. students who study abroad choose countries in Europe as their destination. Roughly the same geographic size as the United States, Europe is home to more than 50 diverse countries, so no matter what your major or budget is, you're sure to find a program that suits you. With all those choices, though, it can be difficult to know where to start when looking for the best places to study abroad.


1. What Is Studying Abroad?

2. What Do Students Do When Studying Abroad?

3. How Does Studying Abroad Work?

4. What Are the Best Places to Study Abroad?

How We Reviewed

Some cities are more popular than others, while others are up-in-coming study abroad destinations. Some are more expensive, while others have lower costs of living. Basically, there's a lot of information to look at, but we did the hard work for you. We created the following list based on what cities students are currently flocking too. Some are traditional favorites, and others are newer options you might not have considered. We also looked at what each city has to offer to help you get a more comprehensive idea of what the best places to study abroad are.

Overall Price Range of Studying Abroad

Due to the cost of living, some cities will run you more than others so it’s best to take a long look at your budget and see what exactly you have to work with before choosing your destination. Remember, you’ll be living, eating, drinking, traveling, and studying there for an entire semester!

What We Reviewed

  • Berlin
  • Dublin
  • Budapest
  • Milan
  • Barcelona
  • Amsterdam
  • Zurich
  • Parague
  • Rome
  • Lyon


In a city where every square inch is packed with history, unique street art, and people always down to party, it’s easy to see why Berlin is a hot choice when it comes to where to spending a semester abroad. With a population of more than 3 million, Berlin is the second largest city in the European Union and buzzing with culture, history, and social change.


With a central role in World War II and in the Cold War, Berlin has been the backdrop for some of the darkest moments in modern history. And yet the city screams artistic expression and freedom. From art to history, you can explore the multifaceted nature of Berlin in its numerous museums. Its political, economic, and cultural landscape make Berlin the ultimate destination for any history buff and definitely one of the best places to study abroad.


The capital of Ireland, Dublin is a vibrant mix of old and new world, which sets it square on the map as one of the best places to study abroad. Modern shops and restaurants sit beside ancient castles, and there’s no shortage of music and beer.

dublin bridge


Dublin also makes a great base of exploration to the island nation. English is the official language in Ireland, meaning finding courses to study in any field is easy for those students who aren't great second language students. And its close proximity to countries like England, Sweden, and Norway give students an amazing opportunity to branch out deeper into northwest Europe, making it easily one of the best places to study abroad


budapest bridge


The river Danube runs through Budapest, and the city is centered around vast geothermal springs, making it the perfect destination for geology students. Budapest also happens to be one of the cheapest places to hang out in in Europe, so if you’re trying to travel on a budget, this is the city for you. Considered by some to be “the Paris of the East” Budapest is seeping with art and history. You don’t have to sacrifice culture for price when traveling to Budapest, that’s for sure!


study abroad

What makes Milan one of the best places to study abroad is that it's the capital of art, history, culture, and fashion. Based in northern Italy, this city offers you an opportunity to experience everything Italy has to offer while beating out the crowds of students that flock to more “traditional” cities like Florence or Rome. You can study all the same subjects and easily plan trips to all the popular Italian destinations like Venice and Florence, plus its northern location brings you even closer to cities like Bern in Switzerland and Nice in France if you wish to broaden your horizon.


Located in Spain’s northeastern region, Barcelona is the capital of the Catalonia Province, which has a distinctively different feel, culture, and language from the rest of the country. With its warm weather and miles of beaches, it’s no wonder this city is not only one of the best places to study abroad, but also one of the most popular destinations in the world. Barcelona is also renowned for its nightlife.

barcelona rotonda

Locals often dine late and party well into the early hours of the morning, making it the perfect location for the college crowd. The diversity the city offers also makes it a solid choice for students looking to study abroad. As one of the top choices for American students, Barcelona offers an amazing opportunity to meet other students and form some long-lasting friendships.


As the beacon of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is the heart of international affairs. It’s home to the international Criminal Court in the Hague and frequently the site for meetings of the European Union. Amsterdam has a friendly attitude towards foreigners and is a city where English is one of the most prevalent languages.



Amsterdam offers a liberal pocket of intense European history with awesome museums, food, and music venues. Amsterdam has one of the higher costs of living on this list, but the benefits definitely outweigh the cost if you can manage it. Studying here for a semester will not only give you the Dutch perspective on life, but also a broader perspective of Europe.


When you go to a city like Zurich, Switzerland, you realize how possible it is to have everything at once: mountains, water, culture, and the ability for economic prosperity. As one of the biggest financial centers in the world, Zurich's 2000-year history gives it a certain antiquity to a modern metropolitan.



A walk down the cobblestone streets in Old Town in Zurich takes you past ruins of Roman baths, landmark churches like the Grossmunster and Fraumunster, and 50-plus museums and gourmet dining establishments. With the artsy buzz and 2000 years of history, it’s no wonder students flock to Zurich each semester!




The capital of one of Europe’s newest countries (the Czech Republic was officially established as an independent country in 1993), the history of Prague itself is long and varied. The city attracts unique minds from across Europe, making it a great melting pot for study abroad students looking to connect with others from across the globe. Prague also has three universities that consistently rank among Europe’s finest. Another bonus to living in Prague is its lower cost of living compared to other large capital cities in Europe, meaning you’ll have more spending money for travel and experiences.


Rome Colosseum


If you’re into ancient history, Rome is definitely a city for you. The city was once the home of emperors and is called the “Eternal City” since it’s well over 2000 years old. Not to mention everywhere you go in Rome you see a work of art. The Vatican has an enormous collection of some of the best artwork from across Europe, and the food is to die for.


Hotel Carlton Lyon


When you think of cities in France, you might think of Paris or Nice. The fact that Lyon isn’t a city to that comes to mind makes it an ideal choice for study abroad students. Lyon is the third largest city in France and is located in the country’s central eastern region, not far from the border with Switzerland. With its historic architecture and sweeping view of the Alps, it’s a city to behold. And the high number of global companies makes it a great base to study technology, science, and economics.

The Verdict

If you've not considered studying abroad and you have the means to do it, you should definitely think about it. Studying abroad gives you a unique opportunity to finish college while spending time in and exploring different countries. And think of the stories you'll bring back to your friends that decided they'd rather spend three to six months doing the same thing they've been doing throughout college.

With its picturesque settings and classic attractions, it's no wonder Europe has long been a top destination for students looking to study abroad. From learning French from native speakers in Paris, to honing your artistic skills in Florence, to studying foreign relations and diplomacy in Amsterdam, the diversity of the European continent has enough options to satisfy every student’s study abroad dreams.

When determining which of these best places to study abroad is the best location, there is no right answer. Every city offers something unique to the students who study there, and some cities have higher costs of living than others. The best way to pick which place is the best for you to study abroad by thinking about what you want to study, what your goals are, and most importantly, what your budget is. No matter what city you study in, whether it's on this list or not, you will undoubtedly come home with amazing memories and a wider perspective of the world.

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