Last Updated on September 1, 2023 by AIFS Abroad
Short-term study abroad program options are becoming increasingly popular amongst college students, particularly during the winter season. Whether you refer to it as a winter program, winter session, intersession, January term, or J-Term, there are so many benefits of choosing this type of program. With an abundance of incredible destinations to spend your winter break, it’s tough to choose which one is right for you! To help you along, we’re breaking down some of our favorites.
Are you ready? Here are our top winter study abroad program locations:
Spend time in in the elegant and scenic city of Salzburg, Austria! Immerse yourself in the charm of this peaceful city, birthplace of Mozart and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located in the Austrian Alps, you’ll love the breathtaking scenery and cozy, quaint atmosphere — it feels like a fairytale! At the AIFS Abroad Global Education Center, you’d be taking a music history course this winter, but learning does not begin or end in the classroom. To help you get a true taste of Austrian culture, various activities will be organized such visits to museums, galleries, markets, eateries, and concerts.
San José, Costa Rica
Try the laidback and picturesque city of San José, Costa Rica. Choose from a variety of course options focusing on health and human sciences at Veritas University, the first private university in Costa Rica. Study on the university’s urban campus, equipped with modern facilities and located near the heart of the city’s vibrant nightlife scene. To help you get a true taste of Costa Rican culture, a wealth of cultural activities and excursions are included in your program fee, like field trips to public health facilities, markets, and different cities, like Cartago. You’ll also have access to beautiful natural landscapes like volcanoes and rainforests, plus exposure to some of the most biodiverse areas on Earth. Did we mention the weather averages in the high 70ºs during this time of year? So long, snow!
Winter is beautiful in the historical and stunning city of Florence, Italy. Florence itself plays a vital role in your study and becomes your open-air classroom with fascinating hands-on experiences. With AIFS Abroad, you can learn all about Art History, Painting, Photography, Food Culture or Marketing of Fashion. Join a program-led exploration of the Gucci Museum, a leather factory, and artisans’ workshops, or enhance your understanding of Italy’s Renaissance art by viewing Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia gallery, touring the Uffizi Museum or visiting the Pitti Palace. The art classes will make great use of Florence’s beautiful scenery with classes on location around the city and unforgettable walking tours to capture all the hidden treasures.
Founded in 735 BC, Rome is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe. With its unparalleled history, archeology, art, religion and religious culture, and delicious food, Rome has so much to offer you during your winter study abroad experience. The Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, its gardens, parks and art, the world-famous film industry make Rome a city that fascinates with its unique beauty and mesmerizing atmosphere. Choosing an AIFS Abroad program here means you’ll have the option to choose a course in Architecture and Engineering, Roman Art, Comparative Religion, Cross-Cultural Psychology, Italian Culture, or Italian language.
London is a magical place to spend your winter break! As a bustling metropolis, you’ll have the world at your fingertips. With program options at our very own Global Education Center and at University of the Arts London, you’ll find a high-impact educational opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom in fields like history, marketing, sociology, and the arts. Your textbooks will come to life as you visit museums, local cooperatives, and other places the field. If you’re looking for a destination where there isn’t much of a language barrier (hello, British slang!), London is the place for you.
This busy metropolitan city has it all! Paris, famous for its restaurants and haute cuisine, handmade clothing, and distinctive cream-grey “Paris stone” buildings, is the perfect destination to take your academic career to the next level. Whether you’re looking to spend your winter break taking a business, fashion, art, or art history course, you’ll find high-impact experiential education opportunities here through AIFS Abroad at two leading institutions: Institut de Langue et de Culture Françaises and Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne. Against the backdrop of iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, you’ll gain insight into the infrastructure, culture, and history of this European capital city.
Travel to the modern and trendsetting city of Berlin, Germany. Choose from a variety of course options offered at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the city’s oldest university, in fields like cultural studies, education, ethics, geography, history, international studies, Jewish studies, law, political science, religious studies, sociology and urban planning, or German language. The University occupies a former royal place and was host to 29 Nobel Prize winners, including Albert Einstein. Berlin has been at the heart not just of European politics and culture but also world affairs for several centuries. As a city reunified in 1990, it combines a tremendous variety of experiences from fine historical museum to cutting edge modernism, to a vibrant club culture and sprawling parks.
Venture to the friendly and culturally rich city of Dublin, Ireland. Study Irish literature at Trinity College Dublin, the country’s top-ranked university. Ireland, known as the “Emerald Isle” due to its lush greenery, has more green spaces per square kilometer than any other European capital city, with 97% of city residents living within 300 meters of a park area. However, Dublin’s not all about its beauty — it’s also home to a deep history of music, dance, and hospitality.
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Explore the ecological diversity of the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. Study environmental science at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), a leader in education, research, creativity and entrepreneurship in Latin America. Field trips will be a key part of your study, taking you to nearby beaches, lakes, and animal habitats. This is a nature-lover’s paradise.
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Plan your trip to the scenic city of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Surrounded by rolling vineyards and dramatic mountains, Stellenbosch, only around 30 minutes from Cape Town, offers the best in Western Cape warmth and hospitality. Courses are offered in business and photography fields. Business students will visit a large-scale beer and wine export company, while photography students will enjoy a 3-hour game drive to locate and photograph elephants, among other incredible excursions. There is so much to do!
Roam the captivating city of Lisbon, Portugal. Study international business at the Instituto Universitario de Lisboa (ISCTE) International Business School. Located in the lively city center, the business school holds both the prestigious AACSB and AMBA business accreditations. Lisbon is famous for its sunny weather, colorful buildings, Fado music, and friendly locals. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe, dating back to 205 BC.
Find yourself in the exciting and eclectic city of Barcelona, Spain. Study Spanish art and culture through Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, ranked among the top 5 universities in Spain. To help you get a true taste of Spanish culture, the AIFS Abroad team in Barcelona arranges a variety of cultural and social activities, like visits to La Sagrada Família, Park Güell, and the Gothic quarter and Cathedral.
Barcelona’s not your style? Try Salamanca, the elegant and historical city known for its local cuisine. Study Spanish Language at the University of Salamanca, the oldest university in Spain. The University is Spain’s leading national institution in teaching Spanish as a second language. Visit museums, take a Flamenco class, see the gorgeous cathedrals. The learning and exploration never ends!
How about the charming city of Granada, Spain? Study Spanish and Islamic Culture at the University of Granada. The last Moorish kingdom to fall, Granada is a city rich with both Islamic and Spanish history. You can hike the Sierra Nevada in the morning and enjoy tapas by the light of the Alhambra in the evening.
European Art and Culture
Why pick just one location when you have the option to do a multi-destination program? This unique opportunity allows you to spend 3 nights in London, 4 nights in Paris, 2 nights in Nice, 2 nights in Milan, 2 nights in Venice, 3 nights in Florence and 3 nights in Rome studying the masterpieces of art history. With numerous museum, gallery and site visits to enhance classroom study, your academics will be brought to life. The magic of this experience can’t be beat.
Make this winter a life-changing one with a study abroad program you’ll never forget.
Step out of your comfort zone and embark on an unforgettable journey of cultural immersion, personal growth, and academic enrichment. Leave behind the chilly winter blues at home and embrace the opportunity to expand your horizons, forge new connections, and create lasting memories in a distant land. Whether you choose to explore the historic streets of a city in Europe, dive into the vibrant cultures of a country in Central America, or venture into the breathtaking landscapes of a remote archipelago in South America, the possibilities are endless when you choose to study abroad this winter. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience the world in a whole new light!