Top 10 Destinations for Teens

A summer abroad is one of those special experiences that you will always remember – it’s a milestone – so it’s important to pick somewhere that’s right for you. Your decision will ultimately come down to what language and culture you’re most drawn to, but here (in no particular order) are our top 10 destination suggestions!

London (England – English)

London is an international cultural and business center. While there are plenty of serious people and serious sites here - the Queen, Buckingham Palace, Westminster abbey, etc. – London also has a vibrant, enthusiastic youth culture that’s impossible to ignore. The city was Banksy’s first playground and continues to have some of the world’s most innovative and attractive street art – an unconventional, offbeat, visual way that shows London’s constant evolution. Spend days exploring the vast collections at the British Museum or eat at Damien Hirst’s restaurant (where you may find yourself sitting next to a whole cow preserved in formaldehyde). If you’re looking for a fast-paced, slightly –posh, cosmopolitan study abroad experience, then London is calling!

Paris (France – French)

No one does things quite like the French, and nowhere feels more quintessentially French than Paris! This stylish, sophisticated metropolis is a cultural center and fashion capital. Spend evenings or afternoons hanging out with friends and eating pastries on one of the many patios by the Seine, visit the key monuments like the Eiffel Tower and L’Arc de Triomphe, get lost in the Louvre, put a lock on the original love lock bridge for someone special, and anything else that suits you! Enjoy living in France and appreciating the direct, vaguely Epicurian French way of life. The French are all about the pursuit of pleasure and, as Audrey Hepburn famously said “Paris is always a good idea.”

Nice (France – French)

Nice is one of the best cities to get lost in. This idyllic town in the south of France was popular with the British upper classes in the 18th and 19th centuries but it now attracts a much younger crowd, locally and internationally. During your free time you can explore the many winding streets, shop for curiosities in the antiques quarter, sample some of the local dishes at the Cours Saleya outdoor market, or spend the day at the beach. Nice manages to possess old-world opulence and a fun, contemporary atmosphere in equal measure. Spend your summer in Nice, where you will be surrounded by art, a lively social scene, and perfect weather.

Berlin (Germany – German)

Since the wall came down, Berlin has stood out as a city that is slightly confused and contradictory, but vital and engaging nonetheless. This complex metropolis is aptly described as a city in flux. Dividing and reintegrating a city such as this has left it in possession of an organic quality that is often missing from other big urban centers. Berlin is a wonderful place to spend time studying abroad because it is full of young people who have brought their innovative, alternative lifestyles with them. With so much rebuilding done in the latter half of the 20th century Berlin is also an ideal place to see monuments that seem relevant, monuments that actually make you feel something. Connect with the profound, creative, evolving atmosphere unique to Berlin! P.S. Check out Ampelman!

Rome (Italy – Italian)

Rome has an incredibly rich past; it was the center of an Empire; the home of some of the greatest men and women in history; and a city so admired and beloved from its very beginning that brother slayed brother in defence of its laws! From antiquity to the renaissance Rome was a world power in some form. Now it is one of the most spectacular places to visit and study abroad. Rome is more than historic ruins, beautiful churches, and museums of curiosities – it is a living, breathing, cultural center where you can experience what it is to live in a modern, urban, metropolis. Fall in love with Italian food, art through the ages, and the atmosphere of a city that is always on the move but never in a rush. Come to Rome, learn some Italian, and do as the Romans do!

Florence/Firenze (Italy – Italian)

Florence has been called the ‘birthplace of the renaissance’ and the ‘Athens of the middle ages’. The famous Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as ‘Duomo’ was the result of more than 600 years of work and is the piece de resistance in a city that is one enduring, evolving work of art unto itself. Florence is among our top suggestions for study abroad destinations because it has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, a rich history to explore, and it’s one of the best places to discover oneself. Spend your summer practicing your Italian over coffee and gelato (try the famous Crema di Grom – a Florentine specialty), sitting in the shadow of the Michelangelo’s David, and keeping your eyes peeled for celebrities. Fun Fact: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West got married at the Forte Belvedere in Florence in May 2014.

Barcelona (Spain – Spanish)

Come to Barcelona and learn about the Catalonian way of life! This vibrant, beachside city combines two of the best parts of summer – an active, urban, social experience, and relaxing in the sun. Barcelona is easy to get around and full of surprises. A bike-ride through the city will undoubtedly take you past great works of art, beautiful buildings, and historic sites, and through markets where you can sample the many delicious local dishes. Here you can get inspired by the same city that influenced Pablo Picasso, Antoni Gaudi, and Salvador Dali. Barcelona is an animated city that is both peaceful and whimsical. A trip to Barcelona will help you improve your language skills and boost your creative energy!

Playa del Carmen (Mexico – Spanish)

Mexico has a unique and thriving culture that has its roots in Spanish, Aztec, and Mayan traditions. This Latin American country is an ideal place to learn Spanish while you discover flourishing post-colonial communities, delicious food, natural marvels, and ancient history. The weather is almost perfect year round but the summer is the best time to go. Playa del Carmen is particularly spectacular because of its kilometers of sandy unspoiled beaches and crystal-clear Caribbean waters. In Playa del Carmen you can look forward to staying in a safe community with an active social scene just a short distance from some of Mexico’s most famous ancient sites, including Tulum, Uxmal, and Chichen Itza. When you’re not in class you can play the part of an explorer, a diver, or a beach-bum!

Málaga (Spain – Spanish)

Málaga is a charming, eclectic city that boasts 2800 years of habitation and history. As one of the oldest cities in the world, Málaga is an ideal place in which to study Spanish and Spanish traditions, and to see a diverse array of architecture from throughout the centuries. The juxtaposition of the city is part of what makes it so beautiful. Walk or bike through Málaga to appreciate the aesthetic of the city and then kick back and relax at the beach where you can go for a swim and eat grilled sardines. Watch an open air performance in a real Roman theatre found in the city center, explore the gardens of the 14th century castle of Gibralfaro, and mingle with internationals and locals alike in the lively Mitjana town Square!

San José (Costa Rica – Spanish)

Costa Rica is home to some of our most innovative programs. This Central American country has one of the lushest, most geologically impressive landscapes in the world – a landscape that is actually being preserved thanks to sustainable government policies. San José is the lively capital of a vibrant and spirited country. When you’re not in class learning the lilting Latin American version of Spanish or volunteering, you can explore the city’s many artisan markets, try local dishes, or take a short drive to one of Costa Rica’s incredible beaches. This charming city is teeming with creative minds working in untraditional ways. Visit contemporary art galleries housed in colonial mansions, see some of the world’s most dramatic and abundant graffiti, and explore indigenous heritage in one (or more) of the San José’s many museums.