Five for Friday: Oh the Places We’d Like to Go

This morning when I sat down to brainstorm for a new Five for Friday post, only one thing came to mind: Where in the world is Lauren P.? My dear friend recently “set sail” on a semester long voyage, and today as I let my mind wander, my thoughts drifted to Lauren and her adventure. A series of images: Lauren finagling some feisty camel on the deserts of Egypt, Lauren tilted ever so slightly to one side, posing for a photo in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Lauren belly dancing and exclaiming over the spicy foods of Casablanca, Morocco.

suitcase.jpgLauren, someone who couldn’t choose just ONE place to study abroad, decided to embark on an academic journey by boat around the Mediterranean. This summer she will study along side a couple hundred other students on a fully equipped cruise ship as she travels port to port. An adventure she will surely remember!

And so with goofy tourist hats and big ships on my mind, I realized, why wouldn’t my blog topic travel across the Atlantic? Here on the MWW blog, we talk about global travel and international learning a lot. Living and learning for a semester abroad can change your world view. Your perspectives become global, your experiences international and quite possibly your language proficiency advanced. Study abroad programs are much more accessible and inexpensive than some may think, and now with the anticipated passage of the Simon Act international academic programs will hopefully be offered to many more students.

So it seems the answer as to WHY you should study abroad is obvious…but WHERE to study is the real question! Today, for our Five for Friday post, we thought we’d narrow things down a bit for you. Fellow intern Missy and I cite five tip-top places around the globe where we’d love to spend a semester or two:

1. New Zealand
Home to a beautiful and unique natural environment, New Zealand is one of the most popular destinations for study abroad.  New Zealand, with its isolated geographic location, is home to a wealth of national parks, breath-taking landscapes and the title “Adventure Capital of the World.” Study any subject in Auckland (with 1.3 million inhabitants) and enjoy the harbor, cafes, and night life, or head to Wellington, a bit quieter but offering all of the comforts of a bigger city.  New Zealand is the perfect balance of nature with culture, and while you’re down there check out the world famous All Black’s Rugby.

2. Barcelona
Located on the coast of Spain, Barcelona is one of the most popular locations for study abroad.  This city, rich with cultural history, offers numerous subjects to study from international business to art and political science.  While in Barcelona, take in Catalonian culture through Gaudi’s architecture, stroll down the pedestrian Las Ramblas or frequent the numerous cafes and night clubs. Barcelona has it all! 

3. South Africa
Although a lengthy,16 hour non-stop flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, South Africa is a pristine location for a study abroad experience.  In addition to the bustling city life of Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa is known for its natural environments. On breaks, students can explore the 1,500 miles of coastline or take a safari.

4. China
Both an ancient country and a new world economic power, China offers students the chance to learn one of the most useful languages in the world as well as vast travel opportunities. While the idea of studying in China can be daunting, there numerous universities in cities of all sizes. Programs enable students to take courses in English while learning intensive Chinese, an increasingly valuable skill. In addition to academics, China has a fascinating history.  Visit Beijing, Xi’An or anywhere in between! 

5. Costa Rica
Interested in Latin America?  Cheaper than studying in Europe, a study abroad experience in Costa Rica allows students to improve their Spanish, enjoy academic courses indoors and outdoors (in Costa Rica’s rich, bio-diverse ecosystem), and even explore the rain forest!  This Latin American country, where the people are friendly and ecotourism is encouraged, is a dream for anyone interested in the environmental studies.

Kirsten and Missy for My Wonderful World


Image courtesy Weeklywriter

2 thoughts on “Five for Friday: Oh the Places We’d Like to Go

  1. I fully agree spaintraveldeals’s comment that you have to go in other country to actually understand your country well and then only you can differentiate the culture between the two countries as a whole.

  2. Studying in Barcelona for a half a year was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me.
    There is a saying: “If you want to get to know your own country, you have to leave it for a while.”
    That is so true, because you get the chance to actually be outside the box and see and experience new things, what otherwise you would never meet.

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