Learning Abroad in History

Learning Abroad in History

Study abroad offers a unique perspective on the history and cultures of other countries. By allowing students to visit historical sites and monuments, explore world-renowned museums, and be exposed to new cultures through people, language, and customs, study abroad offers new and exciting perspectives on the study of history. The Department of History strongly encourages its students to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Imagine studying the history of Paris, learning about ethical tolerance in the Netherlands, Buddhism in Japan, language and culture in Mexico, folklore in Vietnam, or conducting archival research in London. No matter which program you choose, study abroad can offer valuable insight into the past.

“Study abroad offers unique insights into the world around us. It will enable you to foster your historical imagination, expose you to new cultures, enhance your language and critical thinking skills, and gain valuable international experience. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity—every student should study abroad.”
—Erika Lee, Associate Professor of History

Study Abroad Process

This is the basic process you'll complete in order to study abroad. The order in which you do things is somewhat flexible.

Academic Planning

Review the following suggestions from the Department of History before beginning your study abroad research.

Choose your study abroad experience wisely

Align study abroad with your personal, academic, and professional goals

Work on your history major or minor

Consider timing and length

Seek cultural immersion

Pay special attention to program type

Fulfill Liberal Education requirements

Once You Have Selected a Program

While You Are Abroad

After You Return

Programs

Africa and the Middle East

Ghana

University of Ghana (available through CIEE Ghana)

  • Program type: University Study (and Study Abroad Center)
  • Comprehensive university on the outskirts of the capital, Accra. The University of Ghana has a strong African studies program and offers many courses in African history.
  • Sample course titles among many: History of Africa up to 1500; Islam and Christianity in Africa; The Black Diaspora; Economic History of West Africa.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of an African language is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

SIT Ghana– Origins of African Identity

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program based on Cape Coast, a modern educational center that was once a major port for the slave trade. Diaspora content makes it highly relevant to U.S. history.
  • Experiential components include a field study seminar and research project, field trips to other parts of Ghana and to Benin, a month-long homestay, and a week-long rural homestay.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of an indigenous Ghanaian language is required. Fall or spring semester.

Israel

University Study in Israel: Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • Program type: University Study
  • Participants study in the Rothberg International School. Strengths include Jewish studies, Biblical history and archeology, Israeli and Middle Eastern studies, Islamic studies, Hebrew, and Arabic.
  • Although most students in Rothberg School courses are from other countries, Israeli students are eligible as well.
  • Instruction at the Rothberg School is in English; no prior Hebrew is required. Students fluent in Hebrew may also take regular courses. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

University Study in Israel: University of Haifa

  • Program type: University Study
  • Participants study in the University of Haifa’s International School. Most history courses focus on Israeli and/or Jewish and/or Arab history. Special peace and conflict program is a major attraction.
  • Although most students in International School courses are from other countries, Israeli students are eligible as well.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Hebrew is required. Students fluent in Hebrew may also take regular courses. Fall semester, spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Kenya

Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further ensure cultural immersion. Themes include historical development of global inequality.
  • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, ethnographic research, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community environmental conservation, refugees.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Swahili is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

Senegal

Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further ensure cultural immersion. Themes include historical development of global inequality.
  • Past internship placements include social work agencies, youth projects, women’s groups, orphanages, health clinics, community centers, and many more.
  • Instruction is in French. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

South Africa

University Study in South Africa: University of Cape Town

  • Program type: University Study
  • Still struggling to emerge from the nightmare of apartheid, South Africa is an interesting place for comparing the civil rights movement in the U.S. with the liberation movement in Africa.
  • University of Cape Town is one of Africa’s leading research and teaching institutions. Its century-old History department is the oldest in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of African languages required. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

Americas

Argentina

Study Abroad in Buenos Aires

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Very cost-effective U of M program open to all but aimed especially at students interested in Latin America but with insufficient Spanish language skills to take courses taught in Spanish.
  • Offers language courses at all levels, Argentine studies courses taught in English, and a Service-Learning in Buenos Aires course that requires four semesters of prior Spanish.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Spanish is required. Fall  or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Bolivia

SIT Bolivia– Latin American Revolutionary Movements & Conflict Resolution

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program based in La Paz with field trips to other areas in Bolivia and bordering regions of Argentina and Brazil.
  • Focus is on revolutionary movements in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including the movement that produced the first indigenous president in Bolivia’s history.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Spanish, Aymara, or Quechua is required. Fall or spring semester.

Chile

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (available through IES Chile, IFSA Butler Chile and CIEE Chile)

  • Program type: University Study (mostly)
  • PUC, located in Santiago and enrolling nearly 20,000 undergraduates, is one of Chile’s top institutions. One or two center courses supplement university courses in these programs.
  • Extensive range of history course offerings is especially strong on history of Chile.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; 4 semesters (IES), 5 semesters (IFSA Butler) or 6 semesters (CIEE) of prior Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Dominican Republic

CIEE Dominican Republic– Santiago Liberal Arts

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Based in Santiago, the Dominican Republic’s second city, this program offers a range of language and area studies courses supplemented by opportunities to take university courses.
  • Curriculum focuses on the Caribbean context of Dominican realities and includes several course offerings on aspects of Caribbean history and culture.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year. Students may combine one semester with a semester in Santo Domingo or in the Santiago service-learning program.

Ecuador

Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Academic program built around grassroots development internships. Homestays and research further ensure cultural immersion. Themes include historical development of global inequality.
  • Past internship placements include rural women’s empowerment, literacy, public health/nutrition, sustainable agriculture, community environmental conservation, fishing or handicraft cooperatives.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year; consider year option to maximize cultural immersion and gain deeper research experience.

Mexico

Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida (available through ISFA-Butler Mexico)

  • Program type: University Study (mostly)
  • Among top departments are Anthropology, Archeology, and Latin American Studies. Some coursework is also available in Caribbean history and Latin American history.
  • ISFA-Butler supplements university courses with a mandatory Spanish course and two optional courses including one on Mayan history and culture.
  • Instruction is in Spanish. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Peru

Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (available through CIEE Peru)

  • Program type: University Study (mostly)
  • Founded in 1917 and located on a 90-acre campus in Lima, PUCP is Peru’s oldest private university. For course descriptions in the online course catalog, look under Sumillas.
  • PUCP offers many courses in Peruvian history as well as Latin American history, Andean ethnohistory. Both programs require 2 center courses: Spanish, and Peruvian Social Reality.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; five prior semesters of Spanish required for both ISFA-Butler and CIEE. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Asia and Oceania

Australia

University of Wollongong (available through Arcadia

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located in a seaside city of about 250,000 just south of Sydney, Wollongong is a highly international university, with about 20% of its students from other countries.
  • Broad history curriculum includes courses on all major world regions. Greatest strengths are Australia, Asia, and Europe.
  • Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Cambodia

CIEE Cambodia

  • Program type: Study abroad Center
  • Based in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, program focuses on history of Cambodia from ancient times the current period of post-genocide justice, reconciliation, and national building.
  • Includes visits to Angkor World Heritage Site, Khmer Rouge genocide memorial sites, Khmer Rouge tribunal, and a rural village.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Khmer is required. Summer.

SFS Vietnam/Cambodia– Environmental Ethics & Conservation

  • Highly experiential program exploring the natural, human, and political economy of Vietnam and upstream areas of the Mekong River Delta in Cambodia.
  • Examines issues of sustainable development, pressures on natural resource exploitation, and ecotourism in Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of Chinese or of local minority languages is required. Fall or spring semester.
  • Pre req:  One semester of college-level ecology or biology.

China

Alliance China– Xi’an

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Program name is Globalization Then and Now: Xi’an & the Silk Road. Includes two-week Silk Road field trip into Central Asia.
  • Includes Chinese language study, The Silk Road Yesterday & Today, and choice of one other course in Chinese history, art history, or contemporary society and culture.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Chinese is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or summer.

India

CIEE India

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center (mostly)
  • Area studies program based in Hyderabad, India’s fifth largest city and one of the most dynamic centers of its rapidly expanding global economy.
  • Courses for foreigners supplemented by opportunities to take regular University of Hyderabad course, including in the History department, alongside Indian students.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of a South Asian language is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

SIT India– Himalayan Buddhist Art & Architecture

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program that includes opening and closing sessions in New Delhi, two weeks in Leh (Ladakh Valley), extensive travel in other areas of the Tibetan plateau, individual research.
  • Focus is on the symbolism and cultural and religious significance of ancient (as well as newer) Indian art.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of South Asian languages is required. Summer.

Mongolia

SIT Mongolia– Nomadic Culture & Globalization

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program that incorporates field trips, rural and urban homestay experiences, group and individual field study, and a field research project.
  • Studies one of the few remaining pastoral cultures in the world and how it copes with the sorts of tension between globalization and traditional ways of life that all such societies have experienced.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Mongolian is required. Fall or spring semester.

New Zealand

University Study in New Zealand: University of Auckland

  • Program type: University Study
  • New Zealand’s largest university, located in its largest city. History department offers a wide range of option for study.
  • Students can focus on a region (e.g., New Zealand/Pacific, Europe, Asia), a specific period, (e.g., ancient, medieval, or early modern), or a topic (e.g., gender history or history of technology).
  • Instruction is in English, although some  Maori studies courses are taught in Maori instead. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year

University Study in New Zealand: University of Otago

  • Program type: University Study
  • Otago is located in Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island, a particularly attractive location for students interested in outdoor activities. It is renowned for its vibrant campus lifestyle.
  • Sample history courses: Early Australia & New Zealand; Pacific Islands to c. 1900; Imperial Japan; Empires & Globalizations; Science & Society 1789– 1914; Scottish History since 1688.
  • Instruction is in English. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.
HECUA New Zealand Culture and the Environment: A Shared Future
  • The program examines how social and environmental factors impact and shape political and ecological aspects of identity and culture and how New Zealand populations are envisioning and developing a shared future in Aotearoa New Zealand. 
  • Field seminars focus on environmental management, biodiversity protection, Maori culture, national public policy, and urban planning.
  • Potential internship opportunities (not an exhaustive list) in the fields of wildlife and habitat conservation, climate change, food, environmental law, sustainability, transportation advocacy, community-based television, water quality, Permaculture and Transition Towns initiatives, local democracy, youth development, and urban agriculture.

Samoa

SIT Samoa– Pacific Communities & Social Change

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Program studies process of change in Samoa and other Pacific communities, including impact of new and different values in light of development and globalization pressures.
  • Includes orientation In Hawaii, field study in Samoa, field trips to Fiji and American Samoa, and an independent research project.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Samoan is required. Fall or spring semester.

Europe

Balkans

SIT Balkans– Serbia, Bosnia, & Kosovo: Peace & Conflict Studies in the Balkans

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program in several countries of the former Yugoslavia. Based in Belgrade (Serbia), with field trips to Kosovo and Bosnia.
  • Classroom study, field experiences, and research project all provide insights into Balkan conflicts that date back many hundreds of years.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Serbo-Croatian or Albanian is required. Fall or spring semester.

Czech Republic

CIEE Czech Republic– Central European Studies

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Multidisciplinary program offering special courses at Prague’s Charles University in such fields as cultural studies, economics, history, political science, and many others. Internships also offered.
  • Sample course offerings: Czech & Central European History; Contemporary Czech Culture; Rise & Fall of Central European Totalitarianism; History of the Jews in Bohemia & Central Europe.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Czech required. Fall semester, spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Denmark

Study Abroad in Denmark

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Copenhagen-based DIS, one of Europe’s largest and academically strongest study abroad programs, offers a wide variety of courses on Denmark, Scandinavia, and Europe.
  • Sample history offerings: A Cultural History of Travel; Environmental History of Europe; Impact of Epidemic Disease upon European History; History of Copenhagen. Many study tours available.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Danish is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

France

Université Paul Valéry through Study Abroad in Montpellier

  • Program type: University Study (there is also a Study Abroad Center track)
  • Paul Valéry’s History department offers a wide variety of courses on France, on Europe more generally, and on other world regions.
  • Students in the University Study track may also take language and culture courses from the Center track; these include some civilization and culture courses but no history courses per se.
  • Instruction is in French; one year French required for center track, two for university study track. Fall or spring semester, academic year; center track also includes May term and summer options.

Germany

University of Freiburg

  • Program type: University Study
  • Highly rated university located in an extraordinarily picturesque medieval city center of environmental activism at the foot of the Black Forest near the French and Swiss borders.
  • Plethora of majors– e,g,, Ancient Civilization Studies, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Early Modern & Modern History, Medieval & Renaissance Studies– hints at breadth of history curriculum.
  • Instruction is in German; four semesters of prior German required for academic year, five for spring semester. Spring semester or academic year.

Greece

Arcadia Greece

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center (semester/AY), Field Study (summer)
  • Semester– Courses in three clusters: Ancient Greek/Classical Studies, Byzantine Studies, Modern Greek Studies.
  • Summer– Two 3-week summer programs, on Archaic/Classical Greece and Hellenistic Greece, are built around field trips throughout Greece.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Greek, either ancient or modern, is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Greece & Italy

Arcadia Greece/Italy– Mediterranean Myths & Monuments: The Classical World Today

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Intensive 8-week program combining classroom study with tours of 3 significant sites of Etruscan, Greek, Hellenistic and Roman worlds: Athens, Rome, and Syracuse (Sicily).
  • Curriculum integrates archeology, art history, and history.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of Greek, either ancient or modern, is required. Summer.

University College Dublin (available through Arcadia Ireland)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located on the outskirts of the Irish capital, UCD is one of Ireland’s strongest universities. The History department is among UCD’s largest teaching units.
  • History curriculum strongly emphasizes Europe, including many courses on Ireland. Some world history and non-European regional courses (e.g., Canada, Australia, Muslim world) available also.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Italy

Study & Intern in Florence

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • U of M-sponsored language and area studies program whose multidisciplinary curriculum focuses on Italy and is heaviest in art history.
  • Limited internships available depending on interests and language proficiency.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of Italian is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Universitá di Bologna (available through Bologna Consortial Studies Program, BCSP)

  • Program type: University Study (and Study Abroad Center)
  • Bologna is Europe’s oldest university and arguably the most prestigious in Italy. All students take UB courses, supplemented by program courses including one each semester in history.
  • UB History department, which focuses almost exclusively on Europe, is strong on ancient, medieval, and modern history alike.
  • Instruction is in Italian; at least two prior years of language study are required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year. (Academic year option highly recommended.)

Portugal

CIEE Portugal 

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center (and some University Study)
  • Lisbon-based program for students at all levels of Portuguese. Advanced students may supplement center courses with courses at Universidade Nova de Lisboa.
  • Sample center courses: Colonialism & Post-Colonialism; Early Modern Portuguese Colonial Experience; Arts & the Portuguese Empire. University courses in Portuguese history also.
  • Instruction in is in English for some courses, Portuguese for others; no prior study of Portuguese is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Spain

Study & Intern in Madrid

  • Program type:  Study Abroad Center
  • English-taught coursework and English speaking internships available in a variety of fields. 
  • Take Political History of Contemporary Spain and fulfill a requirement for the History major or minor.  
  • Live with a Spanish host family. 

Universitat de Barcelona (available through CIEE Spain)

  • Program type: University Study (and Study Abroad Center)
  • Regular university courses supplemented by an intensive language course (first few weeks only) plus one or two CIEE area studies courses. Internships offered as well.
  • Sample UB courses: Colonial Americas; European Historiography; Conquest & Colonization of the Americas (16th Century); History of Daily Life in the Modern Era.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; six semesters of prior Spanish or equivalent required. There is no additional Catalán language prerequisite. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Study & Intern in Toledo

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • U of M language/humanities/social sciences program located one of Europe’s most picturesque cities, a living museum of medieval and Renaissance architecture.
  • Sample courses: Cultural Heritage of Spain; Management of Cultural Heritage; History of Spanish Women; Spain Since 1936. Internships and a service-learning course on immigrants offered also.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; four prior semesters of Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, May term, or summer.

United Kingdom– England

London School of Economics & Political Science (available through ISFA-Butler England)

  • Program type: University Study
  • One of the world’s leading institutions for the social sciences, LSE includes a large array of history courses. Look under Economic History as well as History in the online course catalog.
  • Although history curriculum emphasizes Europe, a number of offerings are available on other parts of the world as well.
  • Academic year or summer (summer through ISFA-Butler only).

University Study in the UK: Queen Mary University of London

  • Program type: University Study
  • QM’s academic departments, library, students’ union, and administrative buildings are all on one campus in the multicultural East End, making it unique among the traditional London colleges.
  • Greatest History department strengths are British history, European history, and U.S. history.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Study & Intern in London

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Area studies program whose course offerings include British History in the 20th Century; Understanding Modern Britain; Post-War British Popular Culture; and many more. 
  • Special features include a 6-credit course-internship combination (3 credits in the summer) and a 6-credit service-learning course (semester only).
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

University of East Anglia (available through IFSA-Butler England)

  • Program type: University Study
  • UEA’s location in the city of Norwich offers easy access to the continent. History department is very strong on general European, British, and British Empire history; little on non-European regions.
  • Sample courses: Anglo-Saxon England, c. 500-1066; England in the Wars of the Roses; Norman Conquest; History of Norwich; Medicine  & Gender; The Crusades; Madness & Medicine.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

United Kingdom– Northern Ireland

Queens University Belfast (available through Arcadia United Kingdom)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Founded in Ireland in 1845, Queens holds to principles of non-denominational teaching and equality of opportunity. Small number of American students (ca. 300 out of 23,000) facilitates immersion.
  • Strongest on British history, Irish history, and U.S. history. Several courses offered as well on European history and history of British Empire; few on rest of world.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

United Kingdom– Scotland

University Study in the UK: University of Glasgow

  • Program type: University Study
  • UG’s History department offers a broad range of courses on British, Scottish, European, and American history; little on other world regions.
  • Sample past course offerings: The Scottish Highlands 1400–1609; American Landscape History; Computing for Historians; Renaissance Florence; Saints & Sinners; Northern Britons 400–1100.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Additional Options to Consider

Intensive Language Programs

  • Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor.
  • Work on your CLA language requirement or on a language minor while immersed in the language
  • Complete two, three, or even four semesters of language in a semester or a summer.

Global Seminars

  • 3-week, 3-credit programs at the 3000-level led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff over Winter Break or May Session.
  • Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.
  • Explore an exciting location and topic! Check out this year's offerings!

Freshman Seminars

  • Freshman Seminars Abroad combine on-campus instruction during spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break.
  • Seminars are 3 credits at the 19xx level and most fulfill a liberal education requirement.
  • Seminars are designed specifically for first year students as an introduction to study abroad.

Student Project for Amity Among Nations (SPAN)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Summer research abroad preceded by spring semester preparation and followed by fall semester project write-up; ideal vehicle for overseas research toward a senior project.
  • Faculty adviser helps students prepare, accompanies each group during the summer, and assists as the thesis is written.
  • Locations vary from year to year; two to four destinations offered annually. No language prerequisite for most sites. Summer.

Work, Intern, Volunteer, and Research Opportunities

  • Consider a study abroad program that includes structured experiences outside the classroom such as research opportunities.
  • Don’t confine your search to study abroad; check out non-credit online WIV or teaching English first step modules.
  • Consider combining a WIV experience with study abroad.

Student Experiences

Jon K. Studies in France
Jon spent a semester in Montpellier gaining credit for his history major and French minor. The experience opened him to a new way of looking at life, and he hopes to continue to explore those options in the future.

Stephanie C. Studies Spanish in Chile
A semester living with a host family in Valparaiso, Chile was just what Stephanie needed to push her Spanish skills to the next level. Her courses for the Learning Abroad Minor also helped her make the most of a cultural immersion experience.

Visit the Learning Abroad Center's Student Experiences web page for details on other students' experiences studying abroad.