Why Study Abroad?
The Center for the Study of Europe encourages all European Studies majors and minors to study abroad in Europe. To be successful in today’s interconnected world—personally, intellectually, and professionally—you must become a “global citizen,” skilled at navigating different cultures and capable of analyzing issues on a global level.
To become a global citizen
Studying abroad can help you:
- Develop new perspectives on academic subjects and real-world issues
Study abroad lets you study a variety of subjects in more depth and from different cultural perspectives. Outside the classroom, your personal education is enhanced through daily interactions in the foreign culture with host families or housemates and others in the community.
- Achieve proficiency in a foreign language
While you can learn grammar and vocabulary in Boston, it is impossible to become truly proficient in a foreign language without using it in a real-world setting. A non-English-speaking country is the ultimate “language classroom.”
- Experience personal growth
Study abroad is a challenging adventure, academically and personally. Students who return from abroad consistently report that they developed a greater sense of independence and confidence in their capabilities.
- Develop valuable career skills
Students who study abroad often develop career skills that make them especially marketable, including:
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Independence and self-confidence
- Teamwork and communication
- Motivation and leadership
- Flexibility and adaptability
- An expanded worldview and multicultural perspective
To extend Boston University studies
If you are approved to study abroad, you will remain enrolled at Boston University. You earn credit for coursework abroad and, in many cases, fulfill major, minor, or distribution requirements. Many students pursue internships or independent research projects abroad.
An increasing number of students have been conducting research abroad and then working with BU faculty upon their return to Boston to turn their projects into senior honors theses. In addition, a number of study abroad returnees have worked with BU’s Fellowships office to pursue fellowships for postgraduate study, either in their study abroad country, a different country, or in the US.
To take part in a life-changing experience
With proper planning and preparation, the study abroad experience can truly be life-changing. Nationwide, students who have studied abroad consistently count their international experience as one of the best parts of their college careers. They report that they not only advanced academically but also acquired a renewed sense of intellectual energy and focus, as well as a more sophisticated view of the world around them.
In all, for those students who undertake the challenge, living and studying abroad is one of the most exciting and enriching opportunities available at Boston University.
Study Abroad programs available in Europe Expand AllCollapse All
For more than 60 years, Brussels has been a center for international politics and is the place to study the ongoing developments and challenges of the EU. It is home to a variety of EU institutions including the European Parliament as well as the headquarters of NATO. The city is the home of numerous international organizations, politicians, diplomats, and civil servants.
Visit Brussels Internship Program (Summer) for specific programs and more details.
Copenhagen is a picturesque city—one of the cleanest and greenest in the world, in fact, and eminently walkable and bikable. In short, a treat to live in. On the University of Copenhagen exchange, Boston University students have the opportunity to enroll directly at one of Europe’s top universities, University of Copenhagen, for a semester or an academic year. This exchange program can be of interest to students in all undergraduate fields, especially political science, history, economics, international relations, psychology, and sociology, among many others.
Visit Programs in Copenhagen for specific programs and more details.
Samuel Johnson famously wrote, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” Would the corollary to that be “When someone is tired of college, he or she should go to London”?
One of our most popular destinations, London offers a number of exciting programs in what is arguably one of the world’s most incredible cities. Students take classes at BU’s London Academic Center, centrally located in exclusive South Kensington, minutes away from world-class museums, quaint residential areas, great shopping, and some of London’s famous parks.
Housing is in furnished apartments within walking distance of the BU London Academic Center. Flats vary in size (from 2 to 13 occupants), configuration, and style of decoration, but most consist of shared bedrooms, bath/shower room, and a living/dining room with cooking facilities. Telephone and Internet access are provided in each of the apartments.
Visit the BU London website for specific programs and more details.
Things to do range from a simple walk to Kensington Gardens or visiting one of London’s museums to travel around the UK to international trips to France, Spain, Switzerland, and more.
A beautiful, vibrant city nestled at the foot of the French Alps, Grenoble is a particularly fine choice if you want an off-the-beaten-path study abroad destination. Whether you pick the science program or the language and liberal arts track, you’ll find Grenoble’s reputation as a warm, welcoming city for students is well deserved.
On all programs, students study at the Université de Grenoble, an institution that dates from the fourteenth century. (Students on our programs rave about the professors.) Even more rewarding is the immersive experience students enjoy with their host families, who provide not only a place to live and hone language skills but a true home away from home.
Places to visit are supremely enjoyable, whether it’s traveling into the Alps, around France, or to other European countries.
The question isn’t “should you” think about studying in Paris—it’s “why wouldn’t you” think about it.
Look up “frisson” in the dictionary and you might find a picture of someone on a BU Paris program. That’s just the way Paris is—an exciting mélange of sights, sounds, and sensory delights that never fails to work its magic on students.
Even the academic experience is rich: courses are taught in French. The city’s many museums often serve as glorious classrooms. And with a carefully crafted internship, students can immerse themselves in Parisian life even further.
The Boston University Paris Academic Center, which includes administrative offices and classrooms, is located in the fifteenth arrondissement, within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower. Students live in French households, the option many students say is the way to go, or in student housing at the Fondation des Etats-Unis, a residence hall in the Cité Universitaire international student complex. Visit the BU Paris website here.
Class trips and cultural excursions range from museum visits to conference speakers and from wine tastings to cooking classes.
The Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) Exchange, offered either fall or spring semester or for the full academic year, makes it possible for well-qualified Boston University students to study typically in their junior year at Sciences Po, an institution renowned for its strong programs in political science, international relations, economics, and history.
Because Dresden was part of East Germany until the country’s reunification in 1990, it’s not automatically included on people’s “where I want to study abroad” lists. That’s good news for you if you’re looking for an immersive experience in a charming, historic city that’s off the beaten track.
On all of our Dresden Programs, students study at the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD), one of the oldest and most prestigious technical universities in Germany. With a full complement of science and humanities courses, TUD gets high marks from our students for its professors. The Dresden German Studies Program, offered fall and spring semesters, provides a superb opportunity to acquire insight into German academic culture, improve language proficiency, and study and live among German and other international students in university dormitories.
Housing is in university dormitories. Students receive room and board stipends, which may be used to buy food at student cafeterias, or students can shop at grocery stores or markets in Dresden and prepare their meals in the dormitory kitchens.
Because of its central location, excursions from Dresden to the rest of Europe are quite easy.
Visit Programs in Dresden for specific programs and more details.
Immerse yourself in one of the world’s most lyrical cities and delve deep into the rich world of Irish literature, history, art, and society. The BU programs at Dublin City University (DCU) and at University College Dublin (UCD) ensure you’ll walk away with a true appreciation for and understanding of the “real” Ireland.
The courses in each program feature local professors, all of whom hold adjunct appointments at Boston University. Courses ensure students have a solid background in Irish culture and society and/or a thorough understanding of modern Ireland. Past class excursions have featured trips to the infamous Kilmainham Gaol, Northern Ireland, and the lovely Glendalough.
Housing is apartment-style near the BU administrative offices, the DCU library, bookstore, and athletic facilities, with shopping, a park, and a pub nearby. Each person is assigned to a double bedroom unit, which is equipped with Internet access, a television, a study desk, and its own bathroom. The suites feature kitchenettes and seating areas.
Visit Programs in Dublin for specific programs and more details.
In this charming Tuscan town, you can still see the remnants of centuries of history dating back to the Etruscans. And with its artistic heritage, Arezzo is a fitting locale for a concentrated arts program.
Visit Arezzo Physical Theater Program for more details.
One of the world’s major financial and business centers, Milan is a beautiful, prosperous city with a definite international vibe. On this exchange, BU students have the opportunity to spend a semester or an academic year directly enrolled at the Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi (The Bocconi University or UNI-BOCCONI) in Milan, Italy.
Visit Bocconi University Exchange for more details.
Much less visited than nearby Venice, Padua offers a superb location for Italian immersion without worrying that everyone you meet is a tourist.
The program is headquartered at the BU Padua Academic Center and is run in cooperation with the historic and respected Università degli Studi di Padova.
Students complete their immersion by living in Italian households. The host family experience is considered a vital component of the immersion experience, one that students on our program report enjoying immensely. In their spare time, students can tour the Veneto, ski in the Dolomites, or travel to other nearby countries.
Visit Programs in Padua for specific programs and more details.
The Intercollegiate Center for Classic Studies (ICCS) consortium in Rome provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to study ancient history and archaeology, Greek and Latin literature, and ancient art.
Visit Programs in Rome for more details.
The semester-long program offers coursework in graphic design or painting in a city whose museums, walkways, and canals form a truly unique classroom. Unlike other art programs in Italy, in which American students only work and study with other Americans, BU in Venice is based on interaction with the Italian community of students, teachers, and artists as well as working with Boston University professors. Students profit from BU’s new center near Campo Santa Margherita, which includes studio space, classrooms, and administrative offices.
Visit Venice Studio Arts Program for more details.
The Venice Environmental Studies Program provides students with the opportunity to examine the economic and societal effects of both climate change and sea-level rise.The curriculum will use the history of the Venice lagoon, as well as its more recent modifications, to illustrate the issues connected with human-driven changes in coastal bays and estuaries, sea-level rise, and natural environmental dynamics. The program is offered during the summer semester from early June to mid July. During their time in Italy, students are placed in furnished apartments in Venice.
Immersion. That’s what you get on our Burgos program. It’s a beautiful, tranquil, historic city that the “outside world” hasn’t really discovered yet. Indeed, Spanish is pretty much the only language you’ll hear, both in and out of the classroom.
The program offers a full range of courses through the Universidad de Burgos. Students say one of their favorite classes is Intercultural Education because it allows them to interact with Spaniards and see the world through their eyes. Visit the BU Burgos website.
BU students, with advanced approval of the resident director, may enroll in a directed study for two academic credits.
Housing is in a modern, fully equipped student residence hall or—to make your immersion even richer—with a local Spanish family. Excursions include Madrid, Seville, Camino de Santiago, and Atapuerca.
Visit Programs in Burgos for specific programs and more details.
Madrid is one of those fantastic cities where immersion isn’t just a benefit of the program, it’s a way of life. Indeed, it’s hard to resist the energy, excitement, and culture of this capital city, and the many programs we offer here give you a chance to study and live in one of the world’s most dynamic metropolises.
Depending on which program you choose, classes are taught in Spanish either at the Instituto Internacional or the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, both highly respected institutions. Students live in local households and eat meals with their host families. Visit the BU Madrid website.
Madrid offers numerous cultural excursions, from museums to the arts to Real Madrid. Trips include visits to other Spanish cities.
Visit Programs in Madrid for specific programs and more details.
Imagine studying archaeology on a beautiful, off-the-beaten-track island in the middle of the Mediterranean. Menorca offers archaeology students hand-on experience learning the fundamentals of field excavation and recording, as well as the identification and analysis of pre-Roman and Roman artifacts.
The field school based in the beautiful city of Mahón is “base camp” for the six-week program. Mahón itself is a picturesque port city, yet the area surrounding it can feel quite rural and untouched—anywhere you go is beautiful. Students and staff stay at a very nice hotel, close to the port and beaches.
Visit Programs in Menorca for specific programs and more details.
With its glorious alpine setting, a multitude of important global organizations, and a certain sense that everything is “just so,” Geneva is a marvelous place to live and study.
Of our four programs in Geneva, one offers physics majors an incredible opportunity to work at the CERN Laboratory. The other three programs are geared toward students on an international relations and/or public health track. These students consistently report being in awe of the high-caliber lecturers and class visitors who come from the WHO, Red Cross, UN, or other organizations. Housing is in Boston University’s residence hall in the center of the city, with good public transportation very close by.
Places to visit are numerous from this centrally located country famous for its rail network. From snowshoeing in the Alps or trips to Italy, France, Austria, and other countries, a semester in Geneva is a global experience in every way.
Visit Programs in Geneva for specific programs and more details.