Study abroad is not just for college students who are multilingual or want to learn a new language: some of the best places to study abroad are countries where even monolingual, English-speaking students can get by with ease.
With English becoming more and more of a lingua franca by the day, there are countries all over the globe where you can get by without ever having to utter a single “parlez-vous” or “no hablo.”
So if you want to study abroad but are worried about being able to communicate with others during your stay, fear no more. There are plenty of options out there, even beyond the obvious places such as Canada, England and Australia. Here is a list of a few of the best countries for English-speaking students to study abroad in.
1. The Netherlands
The Dutch are known for their open, friendly, carefree nature, so no need to worry about snobbery here if you approach someone with a question in English.
In fact, if they notice you looking lost or confused, they may even approach you first and offer to help. Such was my experience during my short stay in the Netherlands — I had scarcely sat down on the train before a lovely woman began speaking with me like an old friend.
Whether you’re looking to traipse through the tulips, experience the hedonistic nightlife of Amsterdam or ride a bike past the International Criminal Courts in The Hague, The Netherlands has something for everyone – English speakers included!
2. South Africa
South Africa is a melting pot of languages. From the Afrikaans language developed as a result of Dutch colonization to the Bantu languages such as Zulu, the country boasts 11 official languages. Luckily, one of them is South African English.
Though it may be slightly different from the English you are used to hearing and speaking, you shouldn’t have any more trouble communicating than you would in countries such as England or Australia. Offering a wide array of attractions, from wildlife to extreme sports, South Africa is a stunning, less obvious study abroad destination for English-speaking students.
One of the leading countries at the forefront of scientific research, and extremely progressive in terms of LGBT rights, Iceland is a great study abroad option for English-speaking students interested in these areas. Though you may have trouble pronouncing the name of that pesky volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, you won’t need to learn a new language to communicate with the locals. As English is a mandatory part of the curriculum in Icelandic schools, more than 80 percent of the population speaks English – hopefully a little more clearly than Björk does.
4. New Zealand
Whether or not you’ve always dreamed of living the life of a hobbit, New Zealand is one of those countries that deserves a place on your bucket list. The natural beauty (whether or not it is accompanied by a soundtrack of Enya) is incomparably breathtaking and would provide a much more inspiring backdrop for your study sessions than the depths of your school’s library.
And as English is the predominant language in New Zealand, speaking with the locals will not, in fact, require you to learn Elvish – though you’re free to try!
It may come as a surprise to you, but English is actually the official language of Belize – the sole country of its kind in Central America. History students will be fascinated with stories of the country’s British colonization, and archaeologically-minded students will drool over the Mayan ruins.
With all of this located in a country with miles of beaches along the Caribbean Sea, what college student wouldn’t want to study abroad here?
The home of Hans Christian Andersen has one of the happiest populations in the world, which is also quite adept at speaking English.
As such, the country’s capital, Copenhagen, is a great place for students who only speak English to study abroad. It’s extremely bike-friendly, like the Netherlands, and committed to environmental protection, so students interested in environmental studies (or who simply enjoy living green) will feel especially at home.
What countries did we miss? Leave a comment below and let us know what countries you think are the best places for English-speaking students to study abroad in!