5 Interesting Study Abroad Destinations

Study abroad has become a staple of the college experience, with England, Italy, Spain, France and Australia being some of the most popular destinations for U.S. students. But what if you want to study off the beaten path? Pick one of these cities, and you're sure to get a less-than-typical study abroad experience.

1. McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Although there are currently no study abroad programs in space, Antarctica's programs come pretty close. Biology students can stay at the McMurdo Station, a U.S. run station on Ross Island. Topics of study include global warming and climate. If you choose to go, remember this one fact about one of the world's most remote regions: in Antarctica, no one can hear you scream.

2. Bamako, Mali

If helping a country with some of the lowest health and development indicators and one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world sounds like your kind of thing, then you might be interested in Mali. SIT Study Abroad offers a "Health, Gender, and Community Empowerment" program that delivers students to the capital city, Bamako. You might want to brush up on your Bambara before you go, though French is the country's official language. [Image via Wikimedia Commons user Guaka]

3. Irkutsk, Russia

When I was little, I played a lot of Risk. In addition to learning about military strategy, I learned where Irkutsk is. It's in Russia. Siberia, to be exact. Siberia as in frozen, hostile, let's-send-prisoners-of-war-there Siberia. If you're interested in Siberian tigers, vodka, and Russians, Irkutsk might be the place for you. More officially, study abroad programs in Irkutsk specialize in Russian history and industrialization. Be sure to pick up one of those furry hats, though, as winter temperatures are regularly in the negatives.

4. Saint-Louis, Senegal

You could go to France to learn French. Or you could go to Senegal. Although no one really knows where the name Senegal comes from, the country isn't too hard to find. Located on the Western end of Africa, Senegal is known for its distinct musical heritage. Although Australia is a much more popular destination, Senegal is similarly focused on enjoying the moment and forgetting life's worries. Essentially, then, Senegal is like a French African Australia with fewer kangaroos where the cultural instrument is the tama instead of the didgeridoo.

5. Malé, The Maldives

In addition to having the coolest flag in the world, the Maldives is also the lowest country in the world. Since the '70s, the invention of the picture-a-day calendar showcasing the country has caused a substantial increase in tourism (well, that and the country's push for tourism). In 1972, there were two resorts on the 26 atolls that make up the country. In 2007, there were 92 resorts. Marine life, crystal clear water, and blue skies make the Maldives popular for both tourists and biology students alike.[Image via Wikimedia Commons user Shahee Ilyas]
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Did you study abroad? If you could go back and design your own program, where would you go, and what would you study?


Afternoon Map
The Literal Translation of Every Country's Name In One World Map

What's in a name? Some pretty illuminating insights into the history and culture of a place, it turns out. Credit Card Compare, an Australia-based website that offers its users assistance with choosing the credit card that's right for them, recently dug into the etymology of place names for a new blog post to create a world map that highlights the literal translation of the world's countries, including the United States of Amerigo (which one can only assume is a reference to Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer who realized that North America was its own landmass).

"We live in a time of air travel and global exploration," the company writes in the blog. "We’re free to roam the planet and discover new countries and cultures. But how much do you know about the people who lived and explored these destinations in times past? Learning the etymology—the origin of words—of countries around the world offers us fascinating insight into the origins of some of our favorite travel destinations and the people who first lived there."

In other words: there's probably a lot you don't know about the world around you. But the above map (which is broken down into smaller bits below) should help.

For more detailed information on the background of each of these country names, click here. Happy travels!

Micah Bochart, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
The Loneliest Road in America Is This Arctic Supply Route in Alaska
Micah Bochart, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Micah Bochart, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Sick of traffic? Try heading for Alaska’s Dalton Highway, considered the least-traveled road in the United States, CityLab reports. The 414-mile highway, traversed largely by a handful of truckers and passing through only a few small towns, sees the fewest cars per year of any road in the U.S., according to America’s Quietest Routes, an interactive website made by Geotab, a company that helps optimize truck fleet routes.

To create the site, Geotab used data from the Highway Performance Monitoring System’s 2015 average traffic statistics. Though the Nevada stretch of U.S. 50 is sometimes called the “Loneliest Road in America,” the numbers show you’d be much lonelier driving down the Dalton Highway, also known as State Route 11. The route, which runs along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline north-south between Fairbanks and the remote Arctic town of Deadhorse, saw an average of 196 vehicles a day over the course of 2015—one for every two miles of road. Many of those vehicles are trucks carrying vital supplies to the oil fields of the Arctic.

The highway has been featured on the History Channel reality show Ice Road Truckers and is considered one of the most dangerous routes to drive in the world. There is a 240-mile stretch that features zero services, and it’s full of steep grades, avalanche-prone areas, and the slow-moving landslides known as frozen debris lobes. Despite the dangers, it’s a picturesque route, one with views that writers regularly call “Tolkienesque.”

One thing’s for sure—you probably don’t want to drive it on your own.

[h/t CityLab]


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