College is a time for exploration, and what better way to explore than to take a trip abroad to another country for a semester or two? Whether it is to learn a new language or surround yourself with a new culture, studying aboard has impacted students for many years, with most of them declaring the time a truly life-changing experience. Even celebrities got in on the act, traveling to different parts of the globe for a little adventure and learning. Here’s a list of the top ten celebrities that have studied abroad.
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1. Darren Criss
Hot, young actor Darren Criss made quite the splash when he made his debut on Glee, but the talented triple threat probably got the same type of attention when he spent time in Italy during his spring 2008 semester. Criss traveled to Arezzo to study Italian theater at the Accademia dell’Arte.
2. Tia Mowry
Like Darren Criss, actress Tia Mowry (Sister, Sister), also spent time abroad in Italy during her college years. The twin actress (her sister is Tamara Mowry), attended college at Pepperdine University, and decided to spend some time at their Florence campus in 2001.
3. Gwyneth Paltrow
At the young age of fifteen, Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love, Bounce) spent a year as an exchange student in Spain. The actress went to a small town outside of Talavera de la Reina and, according to Paltrow herself, the experience was life-changing. In an interview she gave to The Huffington Post, Paltrow considers Spain a second home and still keeps in touch with the exchange family she stayed with. How much did the experience affect her? Well, Paltrow speaks perfect Spanish, and even her children know the language.
4. Isla Fisher
France appears to be a popular destination among students who study abroad, and that list begins with Isla Fisher. The Confessions of a Shopaholic actress spent a semester studying at L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, a theater and arts training school located in Paris.
5. Ashley Judd
Ashley Judd majored in French at the University of Kentucky, but she decided to expand her knowledge by living in Paris for a semester. While there, Judd submersed herself in the language and really took her schooling to the next step.
6. Bill Clinton
Before becoming President of the United States in 1992, Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar who was awarded the opportunity to study abroad at Oxford University for two years. While at Oxford, Clinton studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Traveling abroad gave President Clinton a chance to experience new things, and even gave him a taste for rugby. However, the former President did not receive a degree from Oxford because he changed programs, and then opted to leave early for Yale University.
7. Matthew McConaughey
Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey has the look of a person who loves to travel, and has even starred in a few films that were based in exotic locales. That love must have come from his experience as an exchange student in 1988, when he lived in Australia for a year. Though the handsome young man was chased by girls during his time in the program, he was too busy to date, and instead kept the focus on school and helping out his host family.
8. J.K. Rowling
So, if J.K. Rowling can speak French, does that mean Harry Potter can speak Frenc, too? The author of the now legendary Harry Potter books learned the language while studying in France as part of her degree in French and Classics while at Exeter University.
9. Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper may be known as a heartthrob who can act, but he is also fluent in French. How did the American Sniper actor get so good at it? Well, Cooper spent six months studying French in Aix-en-Province when he was a student. What was his inspiration, you ask? According to The Telegraph, The Hangover star was so impressed by a scene in Chariots of Fire that he decided learning French was something he had to do.
10. Chris Pine
We could make a lot of jokes about how Chris Pine has gone to space and beyond, but, back in 2000, the current Captain Kirk actually did travel abroad. The Star Trek actor decided to take a year off at UC Berkeley and headed off to the University of Leeds in England, where he studied English. In an interview with Digital Spy, Pine called the experience one of the best experiences of his life.
So, if you have ever thought about going abroad, maybe you should really look into it. Not only will it be a great experience that will open your eyes to the world around you, but like the celebrities listed above, it just might change your life.