The coolest study abroad locations in Asia

September 24, 2020 •

35 min reading

The coolest study abroad locations in Asia that will make your friends jealous

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Language, adventure, cultural immersion, social enrichment, career enhancement and personal growth. The benefits of studying abroad are manifold and can have a lasting impact on your life. But beware: not all study abroad locations are created equal. To truly take your university experience to the next level, you’ll want to make sure you choose the optimum study abroad location.

On your quest to seek out a great university, a powerful economy and a rich cultural scene, consider studying abroad in Asia. For those of you who have your sights set on a career in the hospitality industry, it may be a particularly worthy option. Setting aside any recent public health developments, Asia has seen “dramatic increases of domestic and international tourist arrivals, as well as increases in tourist receipts”. Hardly surprising for an on-trend destination beset with must-see attractions and idyllic natural landscapes.

Jewels on your CV and enough to make your friends green with envy, here are some of the best study abroad locations in Asia, hand-picked by EHL Insights:



Ranked 2020’s number one place to study abroad in Asia by, up from second place just six months previously, Japan is the cream of the crop. The home of sushi, sumo wrestling, tea ceremonies and traditional flower arranging dominates the charts both as a location for adventure and for its high-quality teaching. In fact, Times Higher Education’s 2020 Asia University Rankings place Japan firmly in the lead with 110 universities in the ranking.

Take a snapshot or ten of your time in this entrepreneurial, technologically advanced country against the backdrop of an iconic pagoda. While away an afternoon peering up at the cherry blossom. Or perhaps Mount Fuji is more your style? Permission to feel a little bit smug granted.



If your passion lies in the hospitality industry, why not study abroad in Singapore? You may be familiar with EHL’s outstanding reputation, ranked number one in Hospitality & Leisure Management by QS World University Rankings the last two years running. It just so happens the Swiss heavyweight will soon be offering its Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management at its new campus in Singapore.

The ambitious will be right at home in clean, green Singapore – the number one location in Asia to achieve your career goals. Its four official languages, English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil will satisfy those looking to improve their language skills, while its decidedly innovative buzz provides the perfect atmosphere for budding entrepreneurs. What’s more, the likes of the Merlion overlooking Marina Bay and the Tree Top Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir make this city-state highly instagrammable.

Want to study abroad? Discover why Singapore is the ideal Asia destination for your Hospitality Management studies.



Knocked off its top spot this year only by Japan and Singapore, Thailand is considered the third most desirable study abroad location in Asia. According to, Thailand is also Southeast Asia’s tourism leader, having experienced millions of tourist arrivals. Alongside the undeniable perk of being home to Dusit Thani College, which boasts EHL certification, this largely Buddhist destination is sure to give you a taste of the exotic.

Explore the wonders of Thailand’s natural environment, from roaming hills and refreshing waterfalls to tropical seas just calling out for you to grab your snorkel and dive in. Imagine yourself lying back on Railay Beach or taking the holiday of a lifetime in the Phi Phi Islands. Semester holidays will surely be put to good use. A magical setting destined for TikTok glory.



You will find the top two universities in Asia in one and the same country: China. All in all, 81 of China’s educational institutions rank among the best on the Asian continent. For the hospitality-minded, EHL-accredited Guilin Tourism University is also located in the People’s Republic. Or does a Hospitality Executive MBA at top-ranking business school CEIBS float your boat? Either would be an apt fit, considering the number of international tourism arrivals has been on the up, coming in at almost 63 million in 2018 – the highest recorded in Asia that year.

Fancy adding Mandarin to your repertoire? Arguably the most spoken language in the world, it would be an admirable string to your bow. Then there’s the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Great Wall of China, the bewitching Li River… the potential bucket-list tick-offs are seemingly endless. Promise us one thing: you won’t leave the country without trying authentic Chinese street food – the flavors are in another realm!



Malaysia is ranked number one in Asia for making new friends and widening your professional network. Perhaps unsurprising with Kuala Lumpur rated second friendliest city in the world and expats settling in with ease. It’s interesting to note that the country’s tourism industry has boosted GDP growth. Malaysia stands out in Hospitality & Leisure Management university rankings, too. Three Malaysian universities feature on the list, taking places 16, 28 and 31.

Flex your English language skills and explore to your heart’s desire. Impressive cities, islands, rain forests and highlands await you. A word of warning: watch out for the sneaky little monkeys! They want your snacks and they’re not afraid to take them.



Let’s start the section on India by mentioning the ultimate sensory experience that is a cacophony of horns, an unrelenting hum of activity, the most vibrant colors, the most fragrant spices and the addictive quality of mango lassi. Juxtaposed with the complete quiet of meditation and the minute attention paid to all things sacred. India offers stark contrast and incomparable impressions.

It also offers not one but two EHL-accredited hospitality schools, the Indian School of Hospitality and the DICE School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts. Across all disciplines, India is the third most represented country in the THE 2020 Asia University Rankings with 56 featured institutions. Just saying…

Have you been bitten by the travel bug yet? Choosing a study abroad location is a hard decision to make when there are so many spectacular locations out there. We haven’t even mentioned Hong Kong, Indonesia or the Philippines. Something tells us this might take longer than just a semester abroad. It’s just a shame you can’t pick all of them. Oh, to be an eternal student!

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