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Studying Abroad as a History Student
Since history focuses on the actions of people around the world throughout time, studying abroad is an apt choice for history majors. Even those focusing in U.S. history can benefit from a study-abroad program, since other countries have had a profound impact on the development of the United States. Read on to discover ten cities where history majors could enrich their studies.
Jerusalem is among the most historically significant cities in the world. The Dome of the Rock, Temple Mount, Church of the Holy Sepulchre and many other religious sites in the Old City make it a sacred place for Muslims, Jews and Christians alike. Over 5,000 years old, Jerusalem has throughout its history been a site of tumultuous religious struggle, and conflict persists to the present day.
2. Athens, Greece
Often called the birthplace of democracy and the cradle of Western civilization, Athens has been a fountainhead of philosophical, political and cultural developments with worldwide influence. Students spending time abroad there have access to the Acropolis, the Parthenon and many other sites of great historical significance.
3. Rome, Italy
As the location of the central government of the Roman Empire, Rome has been important in the development of Western ideals, culture, language and traditions. Having existed for some 2,500 years, the city surrounds Vatican City, home of the Catholic Church. Rome features architectural treasures that include the Pantheon, the Colosseum and St. Peter's Basilica. Additionally, the city's museums are home to sculpture, paintings and other works from all eras.
4. London, England
Established by the Romans some 2,000 years ago, London is the longstanding political, economic and cultural center of England. The city also served as the seat of the once wide-reaching British Empire. A stay in the city allows access to Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and St. Paul's Cathedral. History students will have particular interest in the British Museum, whose collection includes the Rosetta Stone and the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial. World War I and II history buffs won't want to miss the Imperial War Museum, which displays a variety of artifacts of war, including machinery and literature.
5. Cairo, Egypt
Although the city of Cairo is about 1,000 years old, parts of the city can be traced to the Ancient Egyptians. Cairo is an important cultural, economic and political center in the Arab world. The city's history is marked with dramatic power shifts involving various groups who have seen the large urban center as an important strategic stronghold. Near Ancient Egyptian sites and filled with extraordinary art and architecture, Cairo is a popular destination for international students. However, violence associated with the Egypt revolution may not allow for study in Cairo in the immediate future.
6. Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is a city that spans both Europe and Asia, making it a symbolic gateway that has had a significant role in the development of both continents. At various points in its history, the city has been the capital for Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman Empires. History students with an interest in religion will find that Istanbul features many important religious sites, including the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Chora Church.
7. Beijing, China
The longtime cultural and political heart of China, Beijing is replete with ancient buildings and storied monuments. History students from abroad enjoy up-close opportunities to learn about China's past by visiting Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and countless other sites. Beijing also features quick access to sections of the Great Wall.
8. Delhi, India
Habited continuously for 5,000 years, Delhi contains the ruins of many historical empires, though past settlements went by other names. Delhi is widely regarded to be the heart of India, offering evidence of the country's storied history and proof of its rich cultural heritage. International students are likely to be inspired by the city's past grandeur while living in its very eclectic present.
9. Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City is among the oldest recognized cities in the New World. Settled in 1325 under the name Tenochtitlan, the city has been the cultural and financial center of Mexico for hundreds of years. Students of ancient history will find particular interest in Aztec ruins, including the Templo Mayor, that are found throughout the city. Students in Mexico City should make the time to visit the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, which showcases pre-Hispanic and current-day indigenous peoples of Mexico.
10. Lima, Peru
Founded some 5,000 years ago, Lima features a history steeped in colonialism. The 'City of Kings,' as it was called, was established by conquistadors to serve as capital of the Spanish colony in what is modern day Peru. History students will naturally be drawn to the Inca Trail and Macchu Picchu, but they can also see remnants of the Incan Empire in Lima by visiting Pachacamac. Also worth a visit is Huaca Pucllana, a historic site known for the 2010 discovery of four Wari mummies.
Unsure why you should study in another country? Find out about the benefits of studying abroad.