Top 4 Most Hardcore Study Abroad Programs

Abroad101’s vagabonding vixen, Tami Bolk, tells us about the Top 4 Most Extreme Study Abroad Programs.  Chuck Norris approved and fit for The Most Interesting Man in the World, these programs are sure to give you bada$$ bragging rights.

So you studied abroad.  Maybe you safaried in Kenya, hiked the Himalayas, or went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef.  Maybe your program let you explore 8 different cities in Europe, where you not only mastered your Scandinavian slang, but you sat kiddy-corner from that nearly-famous French actress (whose name you just can’t remember anymore)… oh, and you did all of this as a college Freshman. Ok, so maybe you’re a true baller if you really did all of that.  But for most that go abroad and think they’re the shiz for simply sipping a pint in the UK, it’s time to reconsider.  Check out this list of the Top 4 Most Hardcore Study Abroad programs and see how you measure up.

4) SIT Rwanda: Post-Genocide Restoration & Peacebuilding. There is a difference between being a true peace-building grassroots activist and being that person who posts cute pictures of African babies to Facebook in an attempt to legitimize your 3 credit service-learning trip. If you really want to impress your peers and gain something truly meaningful from a program like this, be sure you are ready to take on the challenges that will be provided every day, and be prepared to articulate how this program altered your global perspectives beyond just saying,”OMG it was life-changing”!  Save the white girl, black baby photos for your grandma, we want to see how this experience truly transformed you.


3) Broadreach: Shark Studies in Fiji. “Oh hey, you studied abroad in Australia… and went scuba diving… and touched the Great Barrier Reef?!  Well… you just killed a piece of natural beauty.  Way to go, slick…  I studied abroad in Fiji, and learned about the eating habits of the Great White Shark in my classroom… oh and by classroom, I mean in a cage underwater surrounded by said sharks.”  Not that we’re encouraging such arguments to ensue over whose study abroad program was the coolest, but c’mon, if you threw that out there, the sun will definitely not be setting on your rep anytime soon.


2) The Pyongyang Project: North Korea. As very few have ever been allowed to enter (or leave) this country, you could be an am[badass]ador to the conversation about what is really going on inside the boundaries of this mysteriously rogue state. Just don’t expect to meet any South Korean students while you’re there, as bordering neighbors and relatives south of the DMZ are not allowed to participate.  Now, that’s intense!

1) Study Abroad in…IRAQ?! Yeah, this really happened. As in past tense. As in it only occurred once, and will likely not be happening again in the near future. But it still ranks #1 Most Bada$$ Study Abroad Program, in my book. Some ambitious university president at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks was determined to offer three lucky (is that the right word?) journalism students the chance that no other study abroad program director would ever fathom, by allowing them to take their skills to IRAQ and follow the lives and duties of the Ft. Wainwright Stryker Brigade. Would you sign up for a program like this? You can learn more about what these three bold students and their professor did here.

As these programs are all pretty incredible, we do hope you take some time to think about what your real intentions are for going abroad and even come up with goals beyond being the most hardcore study abroad student in town. Check out Abroad101 to see what other students are saying about their study abroad experiences and find the one that suits you best (whether you’re looking for ultimate bragging rights or not)!


Want to study abroad?  Check out Abroad101 to read program reviews and discover the perfect program for you!