6 Best Places to Study Abroad for Architecture Buffs

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Whether it's a charming 18th century building or a new modern glass tower, we engage with architecture every day. What you may not realize (until you study abroad) is how much influence other countries’ architecture has on the buildings you see in the United States. From historic castles to gothic cathedrals, modern museums to skyscrapers, structures from around the globe have a story to tell.

  If you love architecture, you’ll love discovering new places and experiencing new design in the six best places to study abroad as an architecture buff.



1. China

When you study abroad in China, you'll experience ancient Chinese architecture, which has developed over many centuries and can be seen throughout East Asia. Featuring decorative details, Chinese architecture can be seen in iconic structures, such as the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. Historic icons like these can be seen in Beijing, where we host our Contemporary China & Chinese Language Program and the Summer - Language Intensive Programs.   If you’re looking for more modern architecture, Shanghai is the place to be. Don't miss a visit to The Bund, the waterfront area along the Huangpu River, where you'll find some of the city's most famous architectural feats. Other must-see structures include the Jin Mao Tower, Nanpu Bridge, and Oriental Pearl Tower. These buildings are progressive for China’s place in the postmodern architectural community. When you study abroad programs in Shanghai, the sights and sounds of this bustling city will be part of your classroom abroad.  

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2. England

Imagine living and learning in one of the most celebrated, design-focused countries in the world - England! When you study abroad in England, architecture is at your fingertips. The entire country is a mix of old and new, and plays host to some of the most internationally-recognized architectural firms and iconic buildings: Stonehenge, Westminster Abbey, The Shard…you name it. From historic structures to modern marvels like The Gherkin, England has it all.

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3. France

Just like other cities in Europe, France has a vast mix of different architectural styles. Yes, historic and modern buildings like Notre-Dame de Reims, L'Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile, Sacre Coeur, Foundation Louis Vuitton, and Centre Pompidou are breathtakingly beautiful, but what also really stands out in France are the palaces and the castles!   Check out the Palace of Versailles, Mont Saint-Michel, Château des ducs de Bretagne, and more. With 14 semester and summer programs in Paris, Arles, Nice, and Nantes, you can find the perfect program to study abroad in France. And we can’t forget about the Multi-Location – Museums & Beyond: Art & Culture in Paris, Rome & Madrid Program, which is designed for architecture, design, and culture-focused student.  

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4. Germany

Germany has a way of making you love architecture, even if you weren’t an architecture buff to begin with.   Representative of the country’s complex history, German architecture crosses multiple styles, including Carolingian, Romanesque, Classical, Renaissance, Baroque, Modern, and Postmodern.   Imagine living in Freiburg, a city known for taking the lead in the development of eco-friendly technologies and architecture, or studying abroad in Berlin where you’re surrounded by work from some of today’s greatest architects, such as Daniel Libeskind, David Chipperfield, Richard Rogers, and Rem Koolhaas.   Step inside the places you’ve only seen in textbooks when you study abroad in Germany.

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5. Spain

Study abroad in Spain and visit a rich mix of UNESCO World Heritages Sites - the Alhambra in Granada, the historic center of Córdoba, the works of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, the Camino de Santiago (to name a few) - and a vast range of architectural styles, including Spanish Colonial, Spanish Baroque, Modernism, and more.   Whether you choose to study abroad in Barcelona or Madrid, or opt for more of a university town like Salamanca or Granada, there are architectural gems to explore everywhere you turn. Take your love for architecture to the next level and study abroad on a program with an architectural focus like our Madrid - Engineering, Architecture & Science Program, or our multi-location summer program: Museums & Beyond: Art & Culture in Paris, Rome & Madrid.

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6. The Netherlands 

The Netherlands offers unique design that is quintessentially Dutch from the countryside of Maastricht to its cities, like Amsterdam, where you can study abroad on a semester or summer program. Amsterdam is a top spot to study abroad in the Netherlands, offering you a place to take in the bike-friendly culture, history, and, of course, great architecture. Wander the canals that weave throughout the city, take in a museum like the Rijksmuseum, and enjoy the diverse culture and historic neighborhoods. Also, we can’t forget about the windmills that decorate the tulip-filled, Dutch countryside. You also have an opportunity to explore places outside of Amsterdam, such as the city of Rotterdam. After WWII, the city was completely reconstructed and is now known for its bold and modern architecture. With so much to explore, you won’t want to pass up the unique opportunity to study abroad in the Netherlands.

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We care about your interests and want to make sure your study abroad experience is filled with embracing the local culture, giving you the greatest learning opportunities in- and outside of the classroom, and creating life-changing experience abroad. We're glad we could share these top six study abroad cities for architecture buffs with you. Check out other best places to study abroad.