15 Unusual Countries to Study Abroad You Should Consider This Year

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Most students who want to study abroad look to the most common study abroad destinations. As a result these popular countries become more competitive for international students. They are often more costly, and getting the necessary documents and visa could be difficult.

It will interest you to know that there are unusual destinations around the world that have, in recent times, been attracting a drove of international students. They are not your usual study abroad destinations like UK, Australia and Canada. But they are sure worth looking into.

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We’ll be sharing 15 of these unusual countries with you in today’s post. If you are new to these posts, welcome. We aim for all-round education of young Africans. Consider joining 20000+ others in subscribing to AfterSchoolAfrica on Youtube to continue exploring opportunities and watching videos like this one below:

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1.     Thailand

This beautiful Asian nation is decorated in stunning beaches, exquisite temples, and rising cities. Thailand is the perfect location for students who want to find unique study abroad programs. Thailand offers students a mix of cultural immersion and adventurous destinations all while providing an exceptional educational experience. Nearly all the major universities have academic tie-ups with international universities. This facilitates exchange programs by both students and academics. Tuition fees are also cheap between $1000-$2000 per year.

2.     Israel

Israel is one of the smallest countries on earth, tucked between Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The country is however rich in culture and is birthplace of two of the world’s major religions. As a student, one of your main concerns with studying overseas is the quality of the institution you will be attending. Israel’s higher education institutions are known worldwide for academic excellence. With several universities ranked amongst the highest in the world, excellent colleges and research institutes, Israel offers you a high quality academic experience!

3.     Ireland

Ireland is well-known for many things, including Guinness, pots of gold, and Irish dancing. But something that you might not have known is that it has a small but perfectly formed selection of universities. From the Hogwarts-esque Trinity College Dublin to the modern Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), there will be an institution to suit you. All courses are taught in English. Tuition is free for EU students while students from outside this area have to pay. Ireland enjoys proximity to the rest of Europe making it an attractive study abroad destination. Depending on your interests, you can spend your spare time hiking around the Emerald Isle or taking refuge in a pub to sample some Guinness.

4.     New Zealand

New Zealand is quickly becoming one of the most popular study abroad destinations in the world. The weather offers a wonderful temperate for the majority of the year and allows for a plethora of fun activities, including kayaking, golfing, rugby, and cricket. New Zealand has only eight universities but they all rank in the top 600 in the World University Rankings. Each university sets its own tuition fees, so course costs will vary depending on where you decide to study. Although tuition fees are on the pricier side for international students ($25,000-$75,000) the cost of living in the country is relatively low.

5.     Nigeria

Nigeria has three universities in the World University Rankings and has over 130 institutions in total. Its top university, Covenant University is ranked among the top 500 universities in the world according to Times Higher Education, and among the top 200 young university ranking. All university courses are taught in English. Nigeria is a highly diverse country, with a lot to offer international students. Tuition fees in the country’s federal universities are some of the lowest in the world with some charging as low as $40. The cost of living is equally low in the country.

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6.     Mexico

Full of interesting and unique culture to explore, Mexico is one of Latin America’s most-visited nations, and has lots to offer international students. Tuition fees vary, with private universities charging more, and average around US$6,300 per year for international undergraduate students. Living expenses are reasonably low in Mexico. Although the main language of instruction is Spanish, Mexican universities are offering more English-taught courses to attract international students.

7.     Brazil

 Brazil has an impressive number of universities, many of which appear in the World University Rankings and dominate the Latin America University Rankings. A key selling point of studying in Brazil is that public education is free up to postgraduate level. This means that most public institutions will only charge students a registration fee. Before applying to a university in Brazil, students must prove that they are able to study in Portuguese and take the admission exams. Students will also need to obtain a visa before heading to the country. If you decide to study in Brazil, you’ll be making the choice to study in a lively, bustling country.

8.     Slovenia

Slovenia is located in the heart of Europe with easy access to neighbors; Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. Universities in Slovenia are used to foreign students. Professors always take additional time for you, and they are usually less demanding towards foreign students. The majority of Slovenians are fluent in at least one foreign language – usually English or German. You’ll have no problem having nice conversations with people in English. The country also offers one of the cheapest tuitions in Europe with fees ranging from $1500-$6000. Cost of living is also relatively low.

9. India

India is one of the biggest countries in the world by population, and higher education is a part of that. The recently launched Study in India programme aims to encourage more than 200,000 international students to come to India by 2023. It now also has one of the largest higher education systems in the world. Many of the institutions in India focus on science and engineering programmes but arts and humanities programmes can be found in some of the general universities such as the University of Delhi or Tezpur University. Students can lead a relatively frugal lifestyle in India as the cost of living is much lower than in many other countries around the world. 

10. Argentina

The second-largest country in South America, Argentina is ideal for students keen on outdoor adventure and exploration. Argentina is also considered one of the safest countries in the region and is known for its fun-loving culture and passionate national identity. The capital city, Buenos Aires has over a 100 movie theatres due to a robust film industry. You can typically study for free at any state-funded (public) university, with tuition fees of around US$5,100 per year or more at private institutions. You’ll need around US$5,000 for living expenses, with rent costing around US$350 per month. You should learn the Tango dance while you are there. It is Argentina’s national dance.

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11. Taiwan

Taiwan nods at ancient Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese culture and history while embracing the age of technological advancement.  The top university in Taiwan, National Taiwan University, is in the top 200 of the World University Rankings and there are 32 Taiwanese universities in the World University Rankings in total. Tuition fees in the country are pretty cheap, although they do vary across courses and institutions. Fees for international students are less than £1,000 per year at most universities, but you can expect to pay more at a private institution.

12. Moldova

This European country is tucked between Romania and the Ukraine and has come a long way in a short time. While you may not be familiar with Moldova, it produces indisputably some of Europe’s most interesting wines and has a growing tourism industry. Home to 15 public university and 10 private universities, Moldova’s higher education system is structured in the European tradition, and offers a broad range of courses at the undergraduate, Master’s and Ph.D. levels. The majority of the courses are taught in Romanian, but most universities also offer programs in English.

13. South Korea

Known as one of the four “Asian Tiger” economies, this powerhouse nation has seen an exponential increase in the number of international students over the past 10 years. The government has invested heavily in its higher education sector in a bid to build international ties through scholarship opportunities, streamlined visa applications and attractive employment opportunities. The country offers a lot of English courses and universities from the US and UK have campuses in the country. Tuition fees range from $3500-$6000.

14. South Africa

 Nicknamed “the rainbow nation,” South Africa celebrates diversity and is heralded for its multicultural feel. Of all the areas undergoing growth right now in South Africa, higher education is at the top of the list. South African universities rank high both on the continent and in the world with the University of Cape Town ranking as Africa’s best university. There are also a number of scholarships available to international students and the cost of living in the country is relatively low.

15. Malaysia

Malaysia is one of the most beautiful countries in Asia and undoubtedly one of the cheapest countries to study abroad. Its capital, Kuala Lumpur, came first for affordability in the QS Best Student Cities 2016, and most students will only need about $3,550  per year to live comfortably in Malaysia. Malaysia is also home to a number of branch campuses of international universities, such as the UK’s University of Nottingham or Australia’s Monash University, offering the opportunity to gain a degree accredited by these institutions at a lower cost.

There you have it. 15 unusual countries to study abroad you should consider in 2020. Which one of these countries appealed to you the most? Tell us about it in the comment’s section below. If you are yet to subscribe to the After School Africa channel, now is a good time to subscribe. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!


  • Ifeoma Chuks is a naturally-skilled writer. She has written and contributed to more than 6000 articles all over the internet that have formed solid experiences for particularly aspiring, young people around the globe.

    Content Manager

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