7 Exotic ISA Study Abroad Locations You Need to Check Out

By Kaitlyn Webster, Marketing Associate

Choosing the right study abroad destination can be an exciting but overwhelming task. ISA has programs in more than 30 different countries, including some you may know very little about. While popular study abroad destinations like London and Barcelona are always a great choice, maybe you’re looking for a program that’s a little more off-the-beaten path. Here are seven exotic ISA study abroad destinations you should consider when you’re making your decision.

ISA students in front of the Barranquilla sign in Colombia.
Photo by Halle Prentice

Barranquilla, Colombia

Study abroad on the Caribbean coast in Barranquilla, Colombia. Known as the “Golden Gate to Colombia,” Barranquilla’s prime location makes it easy for students to explore the nearby city of Cartagena, A UNESCO World Heritage Site and Tayrona National Park, where the scenic beaches of the Caribbean meet the rainforest. Barranquilla is the birthplace of famous Columbians Shakira and Sofia Vergara and is also home to one of the largest Carnival celebrations in the world. For four days in the spring, offices and businesses are shut down while locals and visitors from around the world celebrate with parades, masquerades, and street dances. In Barranquilla, ISA gives students the opportunity to experience the Colombian culture and study at one of the best universities in the Caribbean region: the Universidad del Norte. Study on the beach, take in a football match, and immerse yourself in the Spanish culture when you study abroad in Colombia with ISA.

Havana, Cuba

This elusive island is finally accessible to Americans after travel restrictions were lifted in 2014 by President Obama. Havana is the capital city of Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean. Travel back in time to this historic city, where you’ll find classic American automobiles lining the streets and colonial Spanish cathedrals decorating the skyline. ISA has summer programs in Havana for students looking to study the Spanish Language, Literature, and Cuban Culture in this truly exotic location. It’s a once in a lifetime experience in a country most people have never been able to visit!

ISA students in a swimming hole in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Photo by Andrea Mendez

Santiago, Dominican Republic

Just east of Cuba lies the the island of Hispaniola, which the Dominican Republic shares with its neighbor, Haiti. The city of Santiago de los Caballeros, or “Santiago” for short, is the second largest city in the Dominican Republic and yet another exotic ISA study abroad destination. Students will enjoy gorgeous tropical weather, Santiago’s famous Carnival celebration, and meet friendly locals while they study Spanish Language and Culture at the Pontifical Catholic University. ISA also offers unique service-learning opportunities in Santiago for students who want to give back to the community during their time abroad. If you’re looking for a vibrant and authentic Caribbean study abroad experience, look no further than Santiago.

Suva, Fiji

Looking to study abroad in the Pacific? While ISA has plenty of locations in Australia and New Zealand, don’t forget about the small, but diverse island of Fiji! The capital, Suva is located in the Rewa Province, Central Division, on the island of Viti Levu. Students have the opportunity to study abroad in a location most people only visit on tropical vacations, with plenty of beaches perfect for swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and diving. Suva is also home to the Hibiscus Festival, the largest Carnival in the South Pacific Islands. Study abroad on a tropical island in the South Pacific with ISA!

ISA students hiking in Cusco, Peru
Photo by Logan Graham

Cusco, Peru

Spend a semester in the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, just a short train ride through the Sacred Valley away from the iconic hilltops ruins of Machu Picchu. Cusco rises 11,152 feet above sea level, making the mile high city of Denver seem pretty low in comparison. The land isn’t the only thing that is elevated in this unique Peruvian city. Cusco is known for its stunning architecture, innovative cuisine, and stunning archaeological remains. Increase your Spanish fluency and study literature and culture at the new ISA Study Center, located in the heart of the city. If you want to elevate your study abroad experience, Cusco is the place for you.

Busan, South Korea

Study abroad on the southern coast of South Korea, where the island country of Japan is your closest neighbor. Busan is a great alternative to the hustle and bustle of Seoul, giving students the chance to explore some of South Korea’s natural wonders and incredible beaches. The city is bordered by the sea and the mountains, so there’s plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure! There are also many cultural events to check out, including the always-popular International Fireworks Festival, which is held every October and the annual lantern festival at the Samgwangsa Temple, an event celebrating Buddha’s birthday. ISA offers classes at Pusan National University, where students can study everything from Business administration to the Korean Language.

Busy street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Photo by Fiona Boler

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest and most populated city in Vietnam. ISA students study in this dynamic city at RMIT University Vietnam, an Australian university operating in Vietnam. Over a hundred courses are taught here, covering a wide range of topics, including design, technology, and fashion. Studying abroad in Vietnam gives you easy access to its neighboring countries, like Malaysia, Thailand, and Laos — ideal for students who want to see as much of the world as possible when they’re abroad. You’ll also get the most bang for your buck in Vietnam — the average meal is under $3 here! So if you’re studying abroad on a budget, this might be the perfect location for you.


If you’re interested in studying abroad, ISA can help you get started.

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