Why You Should Study Abroad Outside Of Europe

Countries in Europe hold so much history, culture, monuments, and – for many people – heritage. This might explain why European countries like Germany, Italy, Spain and England are some of the most popular travel and study abroad destinations.

Oftentimes, incredible countries in Africa, Asia and South America are overlooked as potential and unconventional classrooms. However, I would like to encourage people to shake their stigmas of these places and realize that there is so much there that you simply cannot find in the wealthy European countries.

study abroad outside of Europe mountain

So much culture remains unknown and misunderstood in other parts of the world. A great example of this is the welcoming and loving culture found in Morocco. This country in northern Africa boasts some of the warmest hospitality in the entire world.

As soon as you step into a carpet shop in the local Medina and get offered mint tea, you will understand why. This culture prides itself on welcoming strangers and helping others often. The green mint tea is a huge symbol of Moroccan hospitality, so when you are offered this (and you will be offered mint green tea often), you know you are in good, loving hands.

study abroad outside of Europe stones

The history of people in countries outside of Europe extends far beyond what history books state. A history of a time before conquistadors, imperialism and colonization. In South America, I remember being amazed by the rich history that people were proud of. Stories and legends which are still passed down from the ancestors of indigenous people, and the ruins that still stand as a reminder of a culture and people that imperialism could not fully exploit.

There certainly has been an attempt to wipe out these histories and cultures, but it was not completely successful in some cases. So much can be learned about these cultures and histories that we are not taught in our “world history” classes.

Other parts of the world contain some of the most incredible sites that could ever be seen. Cliffs, waterfalls, mountains, beaches and jungles that are absolute must-sees. Tons of these are also found all over South America. With the variety of terrain in countries like Peru, you could see a bunch of these all in the same trip.

study abroad outside of Europe river

Don’t get me wrong – Europe has some incredible sites, people, culture, and history too. But these are not the only places that have so much to be proud of. While I cherish my time in Europe greatly, I found that the culture and surroundings were very similar to those I knew at home.

Traveling to countries in Africa and South America were so incredibly different and eye-opening. I learned so much more from these people and cultures, and it really taught me what it means to have and value diversity. I strongly encourage visiting Europe and experiencing all that it has to offer… but don’t forget other parts of the world too.

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Allyson is a junior at the University of Akron in Ohio, USA. She is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in media production with a minor in anthropology. Allyson kicked off her dream of traveling around the world with Semester at Sea during the Fall 2016 Voyage. She visited 11 countries throughout Europe, Africa, and Latin America. Some of her life goals include road-tripping the entire length of the Pan-American Highway and living on a kibbutz in Israel. Her dream career is to travel around the world making documentaries. To her, the best parts of traveling are learning new things from other people, and constantly hunting for the best cup of coffee in the entire world.

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