You’re a junior in college, and you’re starting to notice that everyone around you has had at least one amazing experience abroad. Scrolling through your Instagram feed, it’s just incredible sights, delicious food, and life-changing memories in foreign countries posted by one friend after another.
iXperience students in Lisbon
You badly want in on the chance to immerse yourself in a completely different culture and learn more than you ever could at home. But the last language class you took was level 2 Spanish all the way back in high school. Is there still a chance?
Of course! Being an only English speaker doesn’t have to hold you back at all or limit you to studying abroad in Canada alone. There are a ton of cities that have a large percentage of English speakers, but are still culturally unique, and full of exotic experiences waiting to be had.
We’ve done some research on the best cities to study abroad in for English speakers, and here are our top six suggestions:
iXperience Lisbon students exploring Pena Palace
This rustic city in Portugal is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. Almost half of the population speaks English (especially the younger generations) and the country is experiencing a great economic boom. But, this is at no cost to the culture and experience there, not to mention the affordable price of living. While in other cities, a drink can be $7 USD or more, in Lisbon, it’s often less than two dollars.
And take a look at the beauty of the city. It’s a definitely a place with tons of hidden nooks and crannies to explore and fully immerse yourself in.
2. Hong Kong
Photo by Tomasz Ganclerz
While most Asian cities don’t have too many fluent English speakers, almost half of Hong Kong’s population speaks English.
There’s an exciting blend of a Western community and traditional Chinese culture. Take a walk through a street market, or participate in the hustle of the city.
Hong Kong is also the perfect launch pad to get to other Asian cities, with a widely used high speed train to Shanghai, and a short four-hour plane ride to Tokyo. You can experience it all during your summer abroad here!
iXperience Berlin students
Berlin is Europe’s hottest spot. It’s Europe’s largest economy, the second largest city in the European Union, and was recently named the start-up capital of the world.
On top of that, it’s not just chock full with provoking art galleries and museums and steeped in history (check out the Berlin Wall!), but boasts of a fantastic nightlife as well.
Almost every young person in Berlin speaks English, so you’ll have no trouble sliding in. It’s the current top city to go to if you want to experience a city with global impact and a buzzing, incredible culture.
Photo by Josh Withers
One of Australia’s largest cities, Sydney is both beautiful and developed. It’s home to one of the most gorgeous bodies of water in the world, the Sydney Harbor – the site of many events and celebrations throughout the year.
Australia’s also got some awe-inspiring beaches. There’s surfing, secret beaches, outdoor rock pools, and tons more to do in the peaceful waters that surround Sydney.
With more than 500 neighborhoods, each with their own distinct character and feel, Sydney is a hubbub of different cultures, backgrounds, and people. Language wise, almost everyone speaks a form of English, an Australian accent is just a fun bonus.
5. Tel Aviv
iXperience launches in Tel Aviv in 2019
This city in Israel is a genuine melting pot. There are so many people from so many different backgrounds all living together, that the culture here is a one in a lifetime experience. But, even better, English is (almost) universal.
It’s got everything - from a laidback, student-life like culture with beaches galore, to a Google headquarters.
Come to Tel Aviv, and try to visit all 230 of its museums, enjoy the Middle Eastern food (falafel and hummus, anyone?) and work and learn in one of the world’s biggest tech hotspots.
6. Cape Town
Photo by iXperience 2018 alum, Bridget Scott
If you're thinking about heading to Africa during the summer, Cape Town, in South Africa, is where you should head first.
It’s one of the world’s most unique and diverse cities, located in a country with 11 official languages (English included). While you'll hear a variety of beautiful tongues (maybe try learn some Xhosa while visiting), English is still the second most used language in Cape Town itself, so getting by is easy.
Check out this skyline! Table Mountain, powder-white beaches, and a cosmopolitan city centre converge, creating an unbelievable panorama. Living here, you’ll have a chance to experience everything, from wild outdoor excursions, to a classic city life.
As you can see, there are a ridiculous amount of fantastic options for you to experience life abroad as an English speaker. These cities span countries, continents, and each one has a unique vibe - you’re sure to find one you love.