10/04/2010 05:20 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

9 Amazing Study Abroad Locations (PHOTOS)

Forget Paris. Some colleges are taking the concept of educational globalization to heart. According to Newsweek, more and more college students are choosing to study abroad, and many of them are opting out of traditional locales. The Institute of International Education reports that four times as many students are traveling abroad today than were two decades ago, and that of the 25 top destinations 15 are outside of Western Europe.

The rising numbers may be reflective of institutions' growing awareness of the value of study abroad. Inside Higher Ed notes that, according to a report (PDF) published by the Georgia Learning Outcomes of Students Studying Abroad Research Initiatives, University of Georgia students who elected to study internationally were more academically successful than peers who remained in the U.S.

Other schools are also taking the educational merit of study abroad seriously. Some schools, like Lee University and Goucher College, require students to complete part of their degree in a different country. And while other institutions haven't made study abroad a mandatory part of students' curricula, they do encourage their students to go abroad -- and to take risks in their choice of destination.

Bard College is especially interested in exposing students to countries that are politically unstable. According to Inside Higher Ed, Bard's Director of the Institute for International Liberal Education and Vice President of Special Global Initiatives Susan Gillespie is committed to developing "deep partnerships" with certain foreign institutions. What this means, for students, is that they can study in such unconventional places as Al-Quds University, a Palestinian school in East Jerusalem, the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and (pending approval) the University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan.

Students who share Gillespie's ideology but whose colleges do not offer such extensive programs can opt to travel via SIT, a study abroad program funded by the non-profit organization World Learning that is not affiliated with specific educational institutions, or through similar organization Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE).

Below, see some of the least traditional places to study abroad, many of which have gained popularity in recent years, and the programs that offer the trips.

Would you go to one of these places? Or if you've already gone abroad, where did you go? Let us know in the comments section.

Least Traditional Study Abroad Locations (PHOTOS)
Least Traditional Study Abroad Locations (PHOTOS)