Top Study Abroad Foodie Cities in Abroad101 Rankings


Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thai food is popular worldwide, so why not go to the source! Study abroad students rave about the cuisine in Thailand and it’s way of mixing sweet, salty, sour and bitter tastes which balance together to give that distinctive taste of Thailand.

Why you should go:  “Man oh man, Thai food is scrumptious, and it was so fun to roam the street vendors looking for food” Jaiden D, Western Washington University

What you should eat: Eat EVERYTHING. It’s amazing and so cheap. Watch out for those chilis though!

Chiang Mai is RANKED #1 in the Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Sorrento, Italy

This relaxed town on the Amalfi Coast, Italy’s “Coast with the most” is known for its fresh markets with abundant citrus fruit, wine, nut and olives. A draw for tourists and students alike, especially those interested in the hospitality field.

Why you should go:  “My appreciation for Italian food has gone through the roof.” Antonio S, University of Notre Dame

What you should eat: It’s Italy, there’s food everywhere! Where do I start?!  With so many options, the food opportunities are endless! Best I’ve ever had, go for dolce and gelato and il leone rosso

Sorrento is RANKED #2 in the Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Florence, Italy

Florence is the heart of Tuscany and Tuscan food is known to be simple and abundant with local produce, mellow cheeses and grilled meats and especially white beans as the staple. Florence is one of the most popular study abroad destinations and from the reviews, food is a big part of the attraction.

Why you should go:  “The food does not get better than Italy!” Dylan N, The University of Texas at Austin

What you should eat: The food in Italy is out of control! Is there any explanation needed? The food is AMAZING? Gusta Pizza is a must. So is the very first gelato shop you come to when you cross the Ponte Vecchio (GET PINEAPPLE GELATO–it is the best here!)

Florence is RANKED #3 in the Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Madrid, Spain

Known as a gastronomic paradise because of it’s incredible choices of food to eat and wine to drink, Spain’s capital has it all, from small portion Tapas to full course meals, a capital of amazing food!

Why you should go:  “Even as a vegetarian coming into a very meat- and fish- centered diet in Spain, I loved the food during my stay, both at home and out and about.” Savannah C, University of Iowa

What should you eat: Two words: Jamon bocadillo. And… A favorite thing is to go get tapas in town near the Plaza de Cervantes – a cold cerveca con limon and a plate of olives is one of best things about Spain.

Madrid is RANKED #4 in the Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Cordoba, Argentina:

The traditional dishes of Cordoba have been greatly influenced by Italian and Spanish cuisine, not surprising when you discover that many Argentineans are originally of European descent. Argentinian take pride in their world famous “asados” (char grilled meat), pasta and the Argentinean empanadas – who can argue?

Why you should go:  “I am a vegetarian, which may seem strange since Argentina is known for loving meat, but my host mom made great food, and there were other options when going out to eat.” Bethany K, Morningside College

What should you eat: The Empanadas are AMAZING!!

Cordoba is RANKED #5 in the Top Foodie Cities for 2014



Milan, Italy

Milan is the largest of the three of the Top 10 Foodie cities in Italy and according to student comments it’s 5 STARS every day!

Why you should go:  “Everyone knows that Italy is famous for their food and it certainly lived up to my expectations.” MacKenzie K, Bentley University

What should you eat: It’s Italy. Food is great, especially if you know where to go. In Milan definitely go for aperitivos.

Italian food is amazing! Try many different things, a favorite being gelato (anguria is a favorite flavor), and polenta.

Milan is RANKED #6 in the Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Gold Coast, Australia

Your first thought of Gold Coast is beaches and natural beauty, but all those visitors gotta eat. According to one guide, there are 965 restaurants in Gold Coast, odds are you’ll find an American student in one of them.

Why you should go:  “it was really great to try all of the classic Aussie food (fish and chips, kangaroo burgers, sausage sizzles)” Andrea T, University of Dayton

What should you eat: Brekkie is big down there, and VERY good! There is everything you could think of. Guzman y Gomez is the equivalent to Chipotle, and there are many asian restaurants. Try all of the different types of food in Australia, like kangaroo meat and vegemite, and don’t forget the Tim Tams!

Gold Coast is RANKED #7 in the Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Aix en provence, France

In the top food cities every year, Aix is a true culinary gem. Cafes once frequented by Cézanne and Hemingway are now popular hangouts for the creative study abroad students, others find hidden delights in the back street boulangeries.

Why you should go:  “French baguettes and cheese + all of the fresh foodstuffs from the market are what you dream of.” Kevin Y, Cornell University

What should you eat: Any of the sandwich shops in the city center are fantastic, but be sure to check out Mezzo di Pasta for a nice hot lunch and Nikolas for a great pita. Have fondu at “La Louge”, frog legs (delicious BTW!) at “Carrefour Cafe”, and an amazing French dinner at “Mas de la Pyramid”. Although expensive, food and cuisine in Aix tastes great, and is usually local-grown, and organic. Make sure to taste the Provençal specialties and visit the markets.

French food is heavenly. Don’t miss the macarons!

Aix en provence is RANKED #8 in the Top Foodie Cities for 2014


San Jose, Costa Rica

Local ingredients make Costa Rican cuisine so attractive and so affordable. Fresh fruit like no other place in the world: in drinks, on salads, mixed in Casado is just the beginning, a seafood paradise as well with fresh catches from the Caribbean and Pacific.

Why you should go:  “All the food was fresh and while I thought I would never want to eat beans and rice again I truly miss it.” Caitlyn T, University of Memphis

What you should eat:  San Jose has so much delicious fruit, it’s magical!  It isn’t Mexican food so don’t expect tacos, burritos, enchiladas and such everyday. Healthy in type and portions! If in San Jose, try Casa Mundo and La Musa Confusa!

San Jose is RANKED #9 in the Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Pune, India

Reflecting a shift in demographics with more students from South Asia studying abroad, Pune brings the Maharashtrian thali to the Top Foodie list for the first time – you’ll be especially surprised at the deserts!

Why you should go: “I ate with gusto, because every food was new for me, and was very yummy.” Toniann M, Georgetown University

What you should eat: Restaurants in Pune are a great way to explore the city and culture through the immense variety of dishes. Moreover, the streetfood is a necessary component to Indian cuisine as well. Don’t be afraid of trying a new dish (even if you don’t know how to pronounce it), you never know if it might become your favorite one! Food is cheap, delicious, and full of surprises. Try everything!

Pune is RANKED #9 in the Top Foodie Cities for 2014


Want to find out about the rest of the Abroad101 Rankings? Visit our RANKINGS page for Top Providers, Programs, Most Livable Cities and more . . .


Study Abroad Rankings Released by Abroad101

Student reviews determine highest rated study abroad programs, locations, providers, and more.

New York, NY (PRWEB) March 25, 2015

Abroad101, America’s first and largest study abroad review website, released its fourth annual Study Abroad Rankings today in partnership with StudentUniverse, the travel booking site for students. The rankings are the result of compiled evaluations from US university students who attended short-term, credit-bearing study abroad programs overseas. The 2014 rankings recognize the study abroad programs and locations rated highest by American students who have studied abroad.

Study Abroad has many options including a range of program size, scope, and location. This breadth of programming is reflected in Abroad101’s study abroad 2014 rankings. The majority of the top-ranked programs are in Europe with Italy having three. The list also includes three top-ranked programs in Australia and two in China. Sydney was the only city with two top programs.

Program Rankings thumbnail

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The Abroad101 2014 Top 10+ Study Abroad Programs, including the program’s provider are:

1.    Sol Education Abroad: Study Abroad & Spanish Immersion in Heredia
2.    The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Gold Coast – Bond University
3.    American College Dublin
4.    IES Abroad: Programs in Vienna
5.    Loyola University Chicago: The Beijing Center
6.    Santa Reparata International School of Art: Florence
7.    Northwestern College: Romanian Semester Program
8.    Sant’Anna Institute: Sorrento
9.    University of New South Wales: Sydney
10.  Alliance for Global Education: Shanghai – International Business in China
11.  Duke in Istanbul
12.  CEA: Rome, Italy
13.  DIS – Danish Institute for Study Abroad: Copenhagen
14.  CAPA International Education: Sydney Study or Intern Abroad

Provider rankings thumbnail

Download the Provider Rankings Poster

In addition to the highest rated programs, Abroad101 released a list of Top Study Abroad Providers, the organizations that operate these programs. Top honor goes to SOL Education Abroad, an organization that specializes in Spanish Language programs. Upon hearing the news, co-founder Esteban Lardone said: “When we started Sol Education Abroad our mission was very simple: to treat our students the way we wanted to be treated when we studied abroad. Ten years later, our mission has not changed and it is heartwarming to see this reflected in the students’ reviews.” Lardone continues with “The high ratings are the result of our onsite directors who work night and day for our students and our Austin headquarters team. We would like to thank our affiliate and partner universities for directing great students to us. Most of all, we would like to thank each and every student that has decided to take a leap and explore the world through our programs.”

The rest of the Top Providers, listed in order, are: The Education Abroad Network (TEAN), CAPA International Education, IES Abroad, CEA, Academic Programs International (API), AIFS, SAI Programs, USAC, Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA), The School for Field Studies (SFS) and CiS Abroad.

A strong area of growth in study abroad has been through summer programs, which allow students added flexibility on what they study, and enhance elective courses with the powerful impact of immersion in the subject area. The variety of summer programs is demonstrated in the list of Top Summer Abroad Programs:

1.    ThisWorldMusic: Music, Arts and Culture in Ghana
2.    The GREEN Program: Sustainability and Renewable Energy Abroad (Iceland)
3.    New York University: NYU Summer in Dublin
4.    Forum-Nexus: Forum-Nexus: Tour Across Europe
5.    Hanyang University: Seoul – International Summer School

Jeremy Cohen, Founder & Director of the top rated summer program, stated “We are deeply honored to see this recognition from our students, and view it as a tribute to ThisWorldMusic’s hard-working staff, both in the U.S. and in Ghana. Special thanks to the Dagbe Cultural Institute in the village of Kopeyia for welcoming us into the community and enthusiastically sharing traditional West African music, dance and culture with these students.” Ghana, host to this top summer abroad program, was also on the list of Top-rated Non-Traditional Countries and Top Budget-Friendly Destinations.

Thailand was voted most Budget-Friendly, followed by India, Ecuador, and Peru. Favorable shifts in the value of the dollar are one reason these countries were rated so highly. Smaller cities dominated the Most-Livable Cities list with Gold Coast, Wellington, Heredia, and Alicante leading the students’ choices. Even food comes into focus with Thailand’s Chiang Mai edging out two traditional Italian favorites for the Top Foodie City. The rest of the rankings along with review highlights and program listings are now available at:

“With study abroad becoming more of a part of college life, Abroad101’s unique way of capturing program evaluations and publishing them in the popular review format is helping break down barriers and increase opportunities for students” says Mark Shay, the CEO of Abroad101. “Students look for and trust the opinions and experiences of other students, and the compilation of review ratings serves as a useful tool in their decision-making. Reviews also give students and their parents/advisors insight into what to expect while away. We see the rankings as an important way to celebrate what is working in study abroad; reading the first hand accounts of student successes abroad show the positive impact study abroad has on students” concludes Shay.

“Studying abroad not only shapes a person, but is often cited as one of the most memorable experiences of their lifetime,” said Mike Cleary, chief commercial officer, StudentUniverse. “Our mission is to make global experiences possible for students and youth. This involves helping students travel abroad cheaper, allowing them to go further and spend less. It also involves flexibility. Students may not know their exact return date when they go abroad. The pricing on our one-way fares helps students travel flexibly, without breaking the bank. We are proud to partner with Abroad101 on such an important facet of student travel.”

Under the direction of their academic advisors, students complete thorough online evaluations hosted by Abroad101 with both quantitative and qualitative responses. With a database of over 23,000 evaluations, the Abroad101 rankings provide an in-depth tally of student opinion on study abroad programs. For the 2014 rankings, many thousands of reviews were processed and 1,472 different programs received reviews.

The following is the full winners list:

Top Foodie Cities:

  1. Chiang Mai
  2. Sorrento
  3. Florence
  4. Madrid
  5. Cordoba
  6. Milan
  7. Gold Coast
  8. Aix-en-Provence
  9. San Jose
  10. Pune

Most Liveable Cities:

  1. Gold Coast
  2. Wellington
  3. Heredia
  4. Alicante
  5. Dublin
  6. Melbourne
  7. Dunedin
  8. Beijing
  9. Oaxaca
  10. Bratislava

Budget-Friendly Countries

  1. Thailand
  2. India
  3. Ecuador
  4. Peru
  5. Morocco
  6. China
  7. Ghana
  8. Mexico
  9. South Africa
  10. Turkey

Non-Traditional Countries:

  1. Iceland
  2. Ghana
  3. Peru
  4. Thailand
  5. Cuba
  6. Norway
  7. Panama
  8. Hungary
  9. UAE
  10. Botswana


About Abroad101:
About Abroad101: Founded in 2007, Abroad101 is the first and largest study abroad review website. Focusing on American college students looking for a semester or term abroad, this innovative platform connects past and future students, parents and advisors, and program providers through its market-leading online evaluation tool. Abroad101 grew from one partnership at Tufts University in 2007 to over 215 college partnerships today. The resulting Abroad101 directory of study abroad programs is the most comprehensive database in the field today.

About StudentUniverse:
StudentUniverse is is the world’s leading travel booking site for students that offers unique pricing and terms on flights, hotels and tours. Our unique pricing and terms are negotiated specifically for students, and some deals are also available for 18-25 year olds, through contracts with dozens of world-class partners and more than 70 airlines worldwide. StudentUniverse’s Travel Services department manages bookings for groups of 10 or more.

StudentUniverse launched in 2000, and has headquarters in Boston and offices in London, Toronto, New York and the Philippines. StudentUniverse believes that travel is essential to a modern education. Millions of students use our service every year. For real-time updates on StudentUniverse, follow our corporate Twitter, LinkedIn and Corporate blog and download our mobile application.