For some, the idea a study abroad program is a daunting prospect, I mean studying at home is already hard enough. But take it from someone that flourished during their exchange experience – don’t get me wrong it’s damn challenging at times – but the memories, the mates and the travel is what made it so rewarding. So if you’re thinking about taking the plunge, here are our top cities where you’re guaranteed to have a great time.
#1 Berlin, Germany
Don’t expect traditional ‘bierhauses’ in the German capital, a city of underground clubs and hip Vegan restaurants awaits you. It’s the new cosmopolitan of Europe; young, vibrant, edgy and filled with an abundance of culture and history. As someone that completed their year-long exchange in Berlin, I really can’t complain about much. The people can be a little cold at first, but once you start networking you’re bound to make some loyal Berliner mates that will welcome you to their city with open arms. There are a few unis that offer an exchange with Aussie ones (eg. Humboldt University, Technical University Berlin and the Free University), with flexible classes in both English and German. Even better, rent is dirt cheap, you can either live on campus or find your own apartment, but trust me, you’ll be paying about 400 euros a month for a room (crazy, I know). It’s location makes for easy access to travel throughout Europe and of course the rest of Germany, but once you get to Berlin, you probably won’t want to leave. They have an incredible club scene, lots of cafes and restaurants, flea markets and even beaches by the river.
#2 Cape Town, South Africa
This city is the coming together of cultures, cuisines and landscape. I mean, could you pick a more spectacular location to complete an exchange, picturesque beaches and a spectacular mountain range at your fingertips. Your best bet for an exchange program will be at the University of Cape Town, it’s literally at the foot of Table Mountain’s Devil’s Peak and students hail from over 100 countries across the globe. Filled with culture and history, Cape Town also holds a cool urban edge, heaps of galleries, bars, restaurants and design-savvy shops. You’re looking at about 700 Aussie bucks a month for rent (which you have to admit is pretty reasonable), with uni accommodation an even cheaper option, but overall living expenses are not gonna set you back hundreds of dollars. And you know what that means, more money for site seeing and exploring the city and country.
#3 Buenos Aires, Argentina
There is an extensive selection of universities you can attend in the city, with the University of Buenos Aires ranking in the top 100 of the world. But it really will be the lifestyle that draws you into the Argentian capital. It is the perfect blend of European grandeur and Latin passion; with continuous nightlife, exciting cuisine and a great climate, plus it has the continent’s most vibrant arts and culture scenes. Rent will set you back around 8000 pesos a month, don’t be alarmed, that’s only 550 Aussie dollars, but what should excite you more is that a good quality bottle of red wine is about seven bucks – an absolute bargain. Be prepared to return from your study abroad a tango pro and a fluent decent Spanish speaker.
#4 Tokyo, Japan
It’s one of the fastest growing and most advanced cities in the world, so it’s probably not even a wonder that Tokyo is on this list. It’s not only home to the government seats, but the imperial family and some of the best universities in Asia such as the University of Tokyo and the Keio University. If you’re planning on studying in Tokyo, you’re set to be in the heart of a truly international and influential city, filled with helpful and friendly locals and lots of expats from abroad. The city is fast paced with one hell of an efficient public transport system and state of the art technology. Be prepared to consume your body weight in ramen and fresh sushi. Cost of living is fairly level with cities like Melbourne or Sydney, but when you think about the potential experience you will gain, well every cent will be worth it.
#5 Montreal, Canada
If you can’t handle the cold, this city might not be for you, but if you think you can handle the cooler months, well Montreal is the ideal student-city experience. Get ready to polish up on your French as it’s the world’s second largest French speaking city (after Paris of course), however it is also a very multicultural city filled with Brits, eastern Europenas, Chinese and even Latin Americans. It’s home to McGill University, the best ranked in the country, but there are plenty more universities that offer great study aborad programs. Nightlife is of course easy to stumble across with a heap of micro breweries and rooftop bars. Even better, your Aussie savings will get you far in Montreal, with exchange rates basically dollar for dollar, monthly rent sitting at about $650 and meal prices between ten to 20 bucks.
Image Sources: Pexels, Tourist Destinations, Arcadia Study Abroad, Your Amazing Places, Travel + Leisure, Mini Time.