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10 Places to Study Abroad if You Hate the Cold 

by AIFS Abroad
Volcano in Costa RIca

Brrr! One thing a lot of colleges advertise is how cold it gets on campus in the winter. You should strive to take advantage of everything your school has to offer throughout the year — regardless of the season — but if you’re looking to take a break from the cold, consider doing a study abroad or international internship program in one of the many places that are warm.

Hate cold weather? Study or intern abroad in one of these consistently warm places. 

1. San José, Costa Rica

Average December High: 75º F

San José’s location in Central America makes it ideal for those who want to study abroad somewhere warm. Situated between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, it’s deep inside the tropics. It’s also about halfway between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator, so you’ll find warm temperatures there pretty much all year long. At the peak of what we consider the winter season, the high hovers in the 70s — perfect for outdoor exploration during class field trips or when you have downtime! 

Best warm weather activity: Zip-lining through the rainforest canopy amongst the howler monkeys of Braulio Carrillo National Park 

Marie shares a day in her life as a study abroad student in San José, Costa Rica

2. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador 

Average December High: 81º F 

Just beneath the Equator, 500 miles to the west of mainland Ecuador, lies the home of history’s most famous study abroad experience — Charles Darwin’s trip to the Galápagos. As Darwin found, the island’s location and rainy climate cultivates a vast network of endemic species. December to May is the islands’ warm season, and while it may occasionally rain, it’s nowhere near as much rain as the garúa (rainy season) of June to November, so it’s a great time be outside amongst the wildlife. 

Best warm weather activity: Interacting with the wildlife, including penguins, whales, sea lions, marine iguanas and, of course, (the GOAT) the Galápagos tortoise

3. Athens, Greece 

Average December High: 59º F 

Though it’s considered to be the hottest city in mainland Europe during the summer, the birthplace of democracy is quite comfortable in the winter. While you might experience a thunderstorm now and then towards the northern part of the city, the southern part is largely moderated by the Saronic gulf, so you’re free to explore its ancient ruins and delicious restaurants without getting wet. Also, wintertime is the country’s low season, meaning there are fewer tourists and more of Athens for you to enjoy for yourself! 

Best warm weather activity: Hiking the monasteries of Meteora, the largest complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries 

Niaz shares her experience as a study abroad student in Athens, Greece

4. Lisbon, Portugal 

Average December High: 59º F 

Lisbon has glorious weather all year long, but among European capitals, it specificallyhas some of the warmest winters. You’ll likely be able to go to all the same attractions and sights as you would in the summer, and with less crowds! It’s also the perfect time to get acquainted with Portuguese wine culture and warm pork sandwiches. 

Best warm weather activity: Exploring the rugged ancient Roman roads in the northern mountains of Peneda-Gerês National Park 

5. Rome, Italy 

Average December High: 59º F 

December, January and February are the historical city’s coldest months, but even then, the temperatures in Rome are relatively mild. There’s also a lot more daytime in the winters than other European cities, with 10 hours of daylight (versus, say, London, which only has about 8 hours in winter). This means there’s plenty more time to see all the sights, especially since it’s also the city’s least busy time of year when it comes to tourists. If it’s mild in the wintertime, can you imagine how pleasant it will likely be the rest of the year? 

Best warm weather activity: Experiencing a guided night tour of the Colosseum’s underground chambers and arena floor 

Jenna shares her study abroad experience in Rome, Italy

6. Barcelona, Spain 

Average December High: 60º F 

Because of its proximity to the warm Balearic Sea, Mediterranean climate, and the urban heat island effect, Barcelona’s climate is lovely most of the year — and winters are usually mild. Winter months here experience less rainfall than in other Mediterranean countries, so you likely won’t have to worry about your parade being rained on. With most tourists preferring to go to Barcelona during beach season, the city becomes a lot less expensive during the winter months, so you can experience the best restaurants and activities for less Euro. 

Best warm weather activity: Cheering on FC Barcelona, one of the best football teams in the world at Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe 

Nia-Grace shares her summer study abroad experience in Barcelona, Spain

7. Valencia, Spain 

Average December High: 62ºF 

Another Mediterranean climate, which once again means mild winters. Though it’s at a similar latitude to Madrid, Valencia boasts much warmer winters than the Spanish capital. While Madrid is in the approximate middle of the inland plateau, Valencia benefits from the seaside air. During its coldest months,you’ll still find warm temperatures and green leaves, almost like it’s still summer. 

Best warm weather activity: Basking in the sun at a chiringuito, a bar set up directly at the beach

Gabe shares his study abroad experience in Valencia, Spain

8. Seville, Spain 

Average December High: 62º F 

Fun fact: Seville is hottest city in Spain AND the warmest city in Continental Europe. It’s located in the lower part of the Guadalquivir Valley, aka “the frying pan of Andalucia.” Given that, it also boasts some of the warmest weather during the winter months, so you can still enjoy tapas outside and dance the flamenco until your heart’s content. 

Best warm weather activity: Meeting monkeys during the scenic coach ride rock tour to Gibraltar Rock

Jacquie shares her study abroad experience in Seville, Spain

9. Sydney, Australia

Average December High: 78º F 

Australia is in the southern hemisphere, which means that when it’s typically cold here in the United States, it’s the opposite for the Aussies. Even during its wintertime (June through August), Sydney maintains mild temperatures hovering in the 60s during the day. No matter what time of year you go, you’ll have the ability to explore the city outside — and beyond!

Best warm weather activity: Spending a day soaking up the the sun at Bondi Beach

Emily shares her study abroad experience in Sydney, Australia

10. Perth, Australia

Average December High: 82º F 

There’s a reason why the capital of Western Australia is called “The Sunset Coast!” With 8 hours of sunshine per day all year round, basically every season is beach season in Perth. If your primary reason to study abroad is to beat the cold, Perth ought to warm you right up.

Best warm weather activity: Venturing to nearby Rottnest Island for a close-up with adorable quokkas, an animal native to the region

Olivia shares her study abroad experience in Perth, Australia

Looking to beat the cold? AIFS Abroad is happy to help you study or intern abroad in warm places.

Escape the cold with a study abroad or international internship program with AIFS Abroad! With inclusions such as tuition, housing, insurance, excursions and activities, on-site staff, and emergency support, you’ll have a stress-free global education experience. Don’t miss the opportunity to stay warm while earning college credits. 

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