Updated December 13, 2022

Many people dream of traveling across the world. But college is when most will spend their time in one place, with visits to their hometowns possibly being the only journeys that take place. However, there is a way to study in America and travel to other countries all in one package. It's through a college's ... is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Many people dream of traveling across the world. But college is when most will spend their time in one place, with visits to their hometowns possibly being the only journeys that take place. However, there is a way to study in America and travel to other countries all in one package. It's through a college's study abroad program. An international program can be one of the most exciting and enriching experiences you ever undertake. And this article is going to show you the best ones.

Numerous colleges across the US now offer unique chances for students to spend part of their college career in another country. This allows the participating students to learn things in a different way while getting acclimatized to an entirely new culture. The advantage of these programs should be clear to anyone who is an adventurer at heart. Instead of taking classes in one place for four or more years, you can experience unique locations all while attaining a consistent and useful education.

But with the rise of so many study abroad programs, there is also so much choice. How can a prospective student know which colleges offer the best international study programs without spending many, many hours researching? The answer is to read this article. We've done the research so that you don't have to. The colleges on this list represent the best in overseas opportunities. The countries that these programs take students to are diverse. The overseas study is useful. And the life skills that the programs provide are second to none.

We're confident that the colleges below represent America's finest study abroad opportunities. However, it's also entirely possible that our choices may not be your perfect fit. That's fine, and there is still a lot to be learned from our selection. We've included summaries of what makes the colleges' foreign study options so good, meaning that you can compare and contrast these with your own college selections and see if they offer anything comparable. The programs below could directly or indirectly lead to you set off on an adventure that shapes you and your career forever!


There are already several lists online that give data upon what they consider to be the best study abroad colleges. Instead of creating another list that provides a divergent opinion, our rankings compile these various sources. Essentially, ours is the list of lists. Some of our sources use student ratings. Others gather opinion from the academics of a range of respectable colleges. Additionally, others analyze data to provide information on the colleges with the largest quantities of study abroad students or foreign study grant recipients. Our list looks at these differing opinions and statistics and sorts the most consistently recommended colleges into a definitive ranking. After this, we've researched the selected colleges and ensured that the colleges have international programs that are every bit as impressive as the methodology sources cite.

Our sources are as follows:

US News, Study Abroad:

US News, Most Students Studying Abroad:

Princeton Review, Most Popular Study Abroad Program:

Huffington Post, The 10 Best Study Abroad Programs:

College Rank, The 25 Best Study Abroad Programs:

Fulbright, Fulbright Top Producing Institutions By Year:

To feature in our list, a college needs to be recommended by at least two of our sources. It also needs to have substantial evidence that its international programs are educational, relevant and, of course, fun!

Our rankings, from 30 to one, are below.

#1 Goucher College Baltimore, MD
#2 Saint Olaf College Northfield, MN
#3 Middlebury College Middlebury, VT
#4 Kalamazoo College Kalamazoo, MI
#5 Bates College Lewiston, ME
#6 Elon University Elon, NC
#7 University of Denver Denver, CO
#8 University of Richmond University of Richmond, VA
#9 Dickinson College Carlisle, PA
#10 Centre College Danville, KY

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

  1. Goucher College

    Baltimore, MD

    Five out of six methodology lists consider Goucher College to be an incredible college for study abroad opportunities. Both US News lists feature it, with one noting that the college is also placed at 112th on its best liberal arts colleges ranking, and the other notes that 100% of students study in a different country. Princeton Review's student rating led rankings places it at second nationally. Fulbright reports that five Goucher students benefited from its grant from 2017 to 2018, making the college a top producer of recipients. Lastly and most impressively, it tops College Rank's list of the best colleges for studying internationally. Since 2006, the college has required all of its students to study overseas before they graduate. The college offers over 60 programs in more than 30 countries. This includes Australia, South Africa, Great Britain, Costa Rica, France, Germany and many more.

  2. Saint Olaf College

    Northfield, MN

    Fulbright notes that Saint Olaf College students were awarded eight of its grants in 2017 to 2018, making the college a top producer of grant recipients. In fact, the college ranks on all but one methodology list. Princeton Review names it the 15th best college for study abroad programs. College Rank names it the 11th best college for studying abroad. US News states that it has the seventh highest amount of students studying overseas, at 76%. Lastly, US News's academic sourced list features the college and notes that it is also the site's 57th best liberal arts college. Saint Olaf College's international opportunities promise that "You'll come back to St. Olaf a different person: more confident, more curious, more knowledgeable, and more experienced."

  3. Middlebury College

    Middlebury, VT

    Fulbright states that of the colleges that produced the most of its grant recipients, Middlebury College comes in at joint 10th. In fact, over half of the college's students study abroad, with US News putting the figure at 58%. US News's academic sourced study abroad list also recommends the college and notes that it is its joint sixth best national liberal arts college. Lastly, College Rank names Middlebury College the 24th best for international programs. One of Middlebury's main focuses in its international programs is sustainability. It encourages sustainable travel at all times and even provides grants to students who are undertaking foreign projects that involve researching means on how to reduce the human impact on the environment.

  4. Kalamazoo College

    Kalamazoo, MI

    Four methodology sources consider Kalamazoo College to be one of the top colleges in America for study abroad programs. College Rank places it at seventh. US News states that it's the college with the 14th most students studying abroad, with 70% doing so. US News's academic sourced list names it as one of the best colleges for foreign study and notes that it's the joint 76th best liberal arts college in another US News ranking. Lastly, Fulbright names Kalamazoo College as one of the top producers of its grant recipients. And Kalamazoo College's Center for International Programs ensures that all students know about the full range of international opportunities on offer and even provides extensive help to students applying to spend part of their degree overseas.

  5. Bates College

    Lewiston, ME

    Out of all the educational institutions in the USA, Bates College's students receive the most Fulbright grants. This is impressive, as Fulbright, "is the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world." US News also notes that 70% of the college's students study abroad. Lastly, Princeton Review considers the college to be the 19th best college for international programs in America. And on top of these accolades, Bates College is notable due to the sheer choice of its foreign programs. In fact, it offers over 200 opportunities for studying in different countries.

  6. Elon University

    Elon, NC

    Both students and academics are convinced that Elon University is a great choice for studying abroad. This is because Princeton Review's student-generated rankings place it at third in America for best study abroad programs. And, US News's faculty sourced list of the best international program colleges features Elon University and notes that the publication also considers it to be the number one southern university. US News's other list notes that 74% of Elon University's students study internationally. Elon University has dedicated centers in Dunedin, New Zealand; Florence Italy; London, UK; and Shanghai, China, where the college's faculty ensures that students are gaining unparalleled opportunities.

  7. University of Denver

    Denver, CO

    College Rank considers the University of Denver to have the 14th best study abroad programs of any American college. Princeton Review reports that the college's students completely agree and also names it the 14th best college for international programs. US News notes that the college has the 17th highest amount of students studying abroad, at 68%. And students at the University of Denver can easily find the best overseas program for them through an online application called DU Passport, which allows students to select from multiple options that correspond to their study aims.

  8. University of Richmond

    University of Richmond, VA

    62% of students that study at the University of Richmond spend time abroad, according to US News. The faculty members of many respected colleges are impressed by the international offerings that the college provides to these students, as its inclusion on US News's other list indicates. The source also notes that the college is ranked at joint 23rd on its site for national liberal arts colleges. The students also express strong levels of satisfaction with their international experience, and Princeton Review names the college the 12th best for study abroad programs overall. The University of Richmond really provides something for everyone. It has more than 75 programs around the world, which offer, "a complete portfolio of study abroad opportunities."

  9. Dickinson College

    Carlisle, PA

    This Pennsylvania-based college has impressed students and faculty in the methodology sources. US News features the college on its academic recommended study abroad colleges list, also noting that they consider it to be the joint 51st best national liberal arts college. US News's other list notes that 56% of Dickinson students study internationally. And Princeton Review's student-led ranking places the college at fifth for study abroad programs. Dickinson College has managed to gain such a strong reputation for foreign study due to how long it's been in the field. It's had global study and research centers for more than 50 years. These centers, "form a worldwide network of living laboratories from which students can trace the causes and consequences of global forces, examine differing policy responses to global change and assess and learn from successes and failures."

  10. Centre College

    Danville, KY

    This college has the smallest number of enrolled students on Princeton Review's best study abroad program colleges list, and it still manages to rank at 11th. US News also notes that it has the fourth highest percentage of students studying abroad in America, at 85%. US News also features it on the site's academic sourced list of the best international program colleges, where it also notes that the college is joint 46th on its national liberal arts colleges list. Some of the unique advantages that Centre College offers students are covering the cost of passports and providing stipends for overseas internships.

By BVS Staff
July 2020

Get prepared for your next steps

Use articles and resources to uncover answers to common questions, get guidance on your goals, and learn about applying to schools.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Explore different options for you based on your degree interests.