Top 5 Best Rated Study Abroad Programs

By Stacy Zeiger , last updated January 22, 2012

Studying abroad gives individuals a chance to spend anywhere from a few days to a few months in a different country. From private companies to universities that offer their own study abroad experiences, the top five best rated study abroad programs offer high-quality experiences that combine cultural experiences with educational opportunities. Your experiences during this time away can be extremely fulfilling, if not life-changing. If you're looking for some fantastic study abroad programs, read on!

AIFS Abroad

AIFS Abroad, or the American Institute for Foreign Study, has provided study abroad experiences for students since 1964. Through this program, students have the opportunity to visit 17 different countries and study at 24 different universities throughout the world. All programs through AIFS include housing and meals, round-trip airfare, on-site support services, and transferable college credit. You may choose to live with a host family in the country, in a residence hall, or in an independent residence. For students who have difficulty finding funding to pay for a study abroad trip, AIFS Abroad offers over $600,000 in grants and scholarships each year. Students may choose to study abroad for a semester or during the summer.

IES Abroad

IES Abroad, or the Institute for the International Education of Students, offers award-winning study abroad programs for students. With its status as the nation’s oldest study abroad program, IES Abroad has worked to create a selection of quality study abroad programs in 34 cities across 19 different countries. Over 195 colleges and universities in the United States accept transfer credit through IES Abroad. The organization also offers over $2.5 million in grants and scholarships each year, including need-based grants, merit-based scholarships, and partnerships with public universities. Students may choose from semester, summer, and short-term programs.

American University

American University in Washington, D.C., offers multiple study abroad opportunities for students through its study abroad program, AU Abroad, which has been ranked as one of the top university study abroad programs. Study abroad opportunities are offered for students in over 40 countries throughout the world. The program works with each student to choose a study abroad opportunity that fits with his or her major and country of interest to ensure that students lose no time in pursuing their degrees. The university also works with students to help fund their study abroad experiences through scholarships, grants, and other financial aid opportunities.

Beloit College

Beloit College’s study abroad program has been ranked as one of the top study abroad programs in the United States by U.S. News and World Report. Through the Office of International Education, students have the opportunity to study abroad in approximately 15 countries. Most programs are a semester long, although some programs allow students to study abroad for an entire school year. All financial aid that would be applied to a student’s tuition and room and board while at Beloit College may be applied to studying abroad. Special loans are also offered to help finance any extra expenses.

University of Dallas

At the University of Dallas, 80 percent of the student body participates in a study abroad program. The highlight of this Catholic university’s study abroad experiences is its Rome program, which all students are encouraged to participate in. During the program, students spend a semester in Rome at the University of Dallas’ Rome campus. The campus offers a quiet location in the Alban Hills and includes a 3,000 square foot library where students can access the works of great Roman authors. Funding to help students study abroad is available through many of the university’s alumni and other donors.

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