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Places to Study Abroad If You Love the Beach

by AIFS Abroad

The Weather Channel keeps saying something about a Polar Vortex — maybe it’s time to plan a trip somewhere nice and warm. Better than a vacation though, you can study abroad, get acquainted with a new city, earn college credit, learn a new language, and be near the beach this summer.

Here are our picks for study abroad program destinations if you love the beach.

1. Costa Rica

An obvious one, but Costa Rica has no shortage of amazing beaches. You will be in San José during the week, living with a Tica host family and practicing your Spanish. But once classes are out, you can head to the east coast to visit a turtle reserve, or head to the west coast to visit National Parks like Manuel Antonio. The coast isn’t far from the city so you can be at the beach before sunset. It’s a small country, but there is no shortage of things to do and see. You may want to extend your stay and travel after your program is done!

2. Barcelona, Spain

There are so many amazing places to go in Spain. Granada offers an authentic “Spanish” experience and you’re only an hour from the beach (or mountains!). But if you love being on the beach, then Barcelona is the city for you. With amazing culture, architecture, food and more, you can study Spanish, history, business or sociology and still head to the beach during your afternoon siesta.

beach in Barcelona, Spain

3. Stellenbosch, South Africa

Only 30 minutes from the coast, Stellenbosch is for serious ocean lovers. Cage shark diving? Check. Surfing? Check. Whale watching? Check. It’s not for the faint of heart (see: sharks) but you will see some of the most amazing coast line in the world.

4. Athens, Greece

Athens itself may be a bit chaotic, but if you want to see picturesque, screensaver, calendar worthy beaches, head there for the summer. During the week you can study art, history or cinema, and during the weekends you can take AIFS excursions to places like Hydra, or check out the Greek islands for yourself.

5. Cannes, France

Cannes offers the best of both worlds: immersion in French language and culture, and the scenic Mediterranean coastline. Study art, business and history, travel around Southern France, intern at the Cannes Film Festival, with this as part of your daily commute:

Beach in Cannes, France

 6. Viña del Mar, Chile

Viña del Mar, Chile’s premier beach resort, is considered the ideal home for college students. It offers the charm of a smaller community, but with a modern and vibrant atmosphere. Travel along the Chilean coast, visit Pablo Neruda’s home on Isla Negra, and enjoy the spectacular sunsets every evening.

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