Food, glorious food. Aside from the potential adventures students can have when studying abroad, food is one of the main reasons many want to traipse across the ocean in the first place. After all, if your heart’s in it, but your stomach isn’t, what’s the point? Treating your taste buds to flavors that may have been nonexistent in munches past and filling your belly with exotic things you didn’t even realize were edible is well worth the crazy days of hitting the books and managing homesickness that often come with studying abroad.

12 Mouthwatering Foodie Destinations for Studying Abroad 

Order’s up — it’s time to let your tummy take the wheel and choose one of these countries with the best food for your study abroad adventure. If you consider yourself a true food lover, you definitely want to treat yo’self to one of these 12 delectable foodie destinations for your next international dish: 

Where aspiring foodies should study abroad

12. Brazil

A dozen orange cashew nut fruits on a table.
Native to Brazil, cashew nuts make delicious drinks.

Meat lovers will rejoice with all of the carnivorous offerings in Brazil. From feijoada feasts (hearty stews with cuts of meat) to mortadella (bologna) sandwiches, you’ll find yourself in a barbecue paradise. Get your fruit fix with jabuticaba (grape-like fruit) and pinha (custard/sugar apple), açaí, guava, passionfruit, and more. Sip on a caipirinha with your classmates as you practice your Portuguese

Recommended program: Study abroad in Sao Paulo with AIFS

11. South Africa

A grill with several halved lobsters.
Grilled rock lobster is a common South African dish.

Not only will the endless coastlines and majestic wildlife call you here, but so will the food. South Africa is quickly becoming one of the top foodie destinations, which is why you should seriously consider studying here. The Cape Malay curry with its cinnamon, turmeric, chili, and saffron spices with tingle your taste buds in delight. Don’t forget to try bobotie, a national dish that will please you with its minced meat and herbs. 

Recommended program: Semester or summer study abroad with CISabroad

10. Germany

A plate with wiener schnitzel and potatoes
Fun to say, and even more fun to eat.

Known for serving sausages, pork, sauerkraut and beer, Germany is a country that may require you to add an extra notch to your belt. This rich and heavy food is definitely worth a try when you’re in Deutschland. Aside from being delicious, it’s also fun to say,“ Ja, I would like das wiener schnitzel, bitte.”

Recommended program: Luneberg study abroad USAC

9. Greece

A salad with spinach, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese, and bread on top.
Greek salads are vegetarian pleasers.

Greatly influenced by its location on the Mediterranean Sea, Greece serves light dishes consisting of seafood, fruits, and vegetables. Greece is one of the best foodie destinations for the more health-conscious travelers. If you travel to inland Greece, you’ll find cheese incorporated into more dishes. Be sure to try the lentil soups, Greek stuffed squid, traditional Greek salads, and the inland cheese pie triangles when you journey to to this Mediterranean country.

Recommended program: CYA

8. Japan

A black rectangular plate with sushi and sashimi and a small dish with soy sauce and chopsticks on top of it.
You’ll forget how to use a fork after eating sushi all the time.

As an island, Japan is another country greatly influenced by its ocean surroundings. Seafood and rice are very common within Japanese cuisine. Sushi, in particular, is makes Japan one of the countries with the best food. Travelers to Japan should try traditional Japanese Ramen, Tempura, and Sashimi. The thought of eating raw seafood, which is popular in many dishes, may be frightening to some. Just remember that you studied abroad to try new things, so go for it!

Recommended program: IES Abroad

7. Mexico

An enchilada with black beans on the right side and a lime on the left side.
Enchiladas never looked so good.

Traditional Mexican dishes are much better than the Americanized version served at fast food restaurants across the globe (#sorrynotsorry Taco Bell). Served with a variety of sauces and seasonings, dishes are sure to have you unexpectedly drooling while studying in Mexico. Enchiladas, grilled tostadas, street tacos, and crispy gorditas are just a few tasty treats worth sampling during your study abroad program in Mexico.

Recommended program: Augsburg College

6. China

A circular container holds three small dumplings.
You need to get “dim sum” dumplings!

Chinese food is another victim of fast food and takeout alteration. Authentic Chinese food can be hard to find, so why not play it safe and travel to China? Dim sum, sesame chicken, spring rolls, sweet and sour pork…these are all scrumptious dishes that need to be sampled in between classes while studying abroad in China.

Recommended program: TEAN Abroad

5. Thailand

A white square plate with pad thai on it.
It’s thaime to try the Pad Thai.

Thai food, a top reason to study abroad here, is a cultural blend of Chinese and Indian, meaning your taste buds will be hit with the sweet and sour flavors of China mixed with the spicy seasonings of India. Popular dishes in Thailand include spicy shrimp soup, papaya salad, fried curry with pork, and Pad Thai (for you noodle lovers).

Recommended program: Athena Study Abroad

4. India

A small white bowl with chicken covered in cream of tomato.
You’ll never want to come back home after tasting the spices.

India is the land of spices, so why not learn how to differentiate the flavors in one of your classes while studying abroad there? Some dishes can contain as many as 25 spices, including cumin, coriander, and black pepper. Sweet Indian dishes often include cashews, almonds, and raisins, or other dried fruits. Fill your tum with butter chicken, chickpea curry, red lamb, and black lentils, or try a little bit of street food from all over the country.

Recommended program: Youth International

3. Indonesia

A straw plate filled with green beans, lentils, and rice.
The flavors and textures draw you into the deliciousness.

Rice, seafood, and legumes are all staple foods in Indonesia — perfect brain food for the study abroad student. Indonesian dishes are both healthy and flavorful, making it one of the top countries with the best food on the list; their use of fresh fruits and vegetables along with sweet, spicy, and sour sauces make Indonesian food a delicious and nutritious choice. If you head to this island country, be sure to try the peanut sauce, chicken satay, and Indonesian spiced rice.

Recommended program: Asia Exchange

2. Italy

bread with tomatoes on top on a small white plate

If you love pastas and tomato-based sauces, you need to sign up to study abroad in Italy and try these foods in the country that invented them. Italians take pride in their cooking, and each region has their own twist on classic dishes. If you travel to Italy, visit a number of cities and compare the flavor and preparation differences in your favorite meals. Traditional dishes in Italy include bruschetta, gnocchi, pizza, and lasagna. Don’t forget to pair your dish with some heavenly vino

Recommended program: API Study Abroad

1. France

A large circular white plate with a crepe and strawberries and whipped cream.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with strawberry crepes.

France is known for its breads, cheeses, wines, and delectable dishes. Food is incredibly important to the French culture; meals could last hours and contain a large number of beautifully displayed courses. If the French take their food so seriously, you better believe it’s worth experiencing for yourself. Some traditional French dishes include duck in wine sauce, crepes, and ratatouille.

Recommended program: ISA Study Abroad

You’re ready to eat your way around the world

Wherever you’re studying abroad, from Brazil to Indonesia, get out of your comfort zone with one (or more) of these 12 foodie destinations with the best international food. You’re sure to go from newbie to foodie in no time, so dare yourself to try some squishy sushi or spicy curry. You taste buds will thank you.

Check out Recipes from Abroad on our Pinterest page to make some of these tasty meals in your own kitchen! Don’t like the order of our list? Think we’re missing a country or two? Share your opinion in the comments section below!

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