Email Address:

Phone Number:


Flight Voucher Get a Flight Voucher worth up to $1,000 when you apply with code* by May 26, 2022

5 Awesome Reasons to Study Abroad in a Small City


Sometimes when students think about a study abroad city, they get the “go big or go home” mind-set. The larger and more popular a city is, the better, right? Well, not always. Smaller cities have quite a few benefits that students tend to overlook. I studied abroad in Galway, Ireland. After a few trips to the much larger city of Dublin, I started to see Galway as a little gem with more perks than I thought it had. You’d be surprised at just how much potential and benefits cozy, little towns have so don’t immediately rule them out.

Everything tends to be right around the corner

  Not to point out the obvious, but a small city is, well, small. Nothing is too far away, even places on the other side of town. In Galway, I never had to take a subway, metro, bus, or taxi to where I wanted to go. Because everything was within walking distance, it never became a project to get from place to place. Not to mention I got to truly see the whole city and never had to deal with everyday transportation costs. Close proximity to everything is definitely a huge benefit, being both a time and money saver.


After two or three weeks in Galway, I knew my way around the city. Because there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of ground to cover, I feel like I truly know Galway. It was comforting to walk down the street and see familiar faces. Also, because the population isn't enormous, I made strong relationships with almost everyone I interacted with. I easily found my school friends roaming around town and the owners of my favorite tea and coffee shops knew me by name. There was no getting lost, I wasn’t just another face in the crowd, and the comfortable familiarity made it truly feel like home.

Don't forget, the options are always open

  Don’t feel like you’ll be trapped if you study in a smaller city. If you’re craving a bit of adventure and want to experience some of the hustle and bustle of big city life, transportation isn’t an issue. A trip to Dublin was only a train or bus ticket away. And, an even bigger plus, most locations have student discounts! You’re adventure does not need to only be in the city you study in. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to get around. You can have the best of both worlds.

Less people

As much as I love traveling, I have to admit that I am a bit of an introvert and hate always being in huge crowds. Many people feel the same way, but what’s important to understand is that studying abroad is not out of the question for us shier people! A smaller city would be perfect for you. More intimate relationships, less chaos, quieter, and less crowded. All of the perks someone with a touch of social anxiety loves but still the adventure and cultural immersion that a study abroad trip should have.

Less touristy

On my trips to Dublin, I noticed a major difference between it and Galway. As fun and exciting as it was, Dublin was quite touristy. Irish gift shops were on every street and the crowds were largely composed of tourists. What’s the fun of meeting a stranger at a pub only to realize they are American too! Galway was quaint and authentic and full of locals. I felt like I experienced a real way of Irish life.

  Any study abroad experience is going to be eye-opening and what it comes down to is this: You need to figure out what works best for you. The experience is very personal and different places are going to attracted different people. The process of finding an ideal study location is unique. But don’t immediately think that bigger is better. Keep those smaller cities an option. They just might steal your heart.

Rachel Balon is a CEA Alumni Ambassador and a senior at Keystone College. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and was a CEA MOJO during the Fall 2014 semester.

Read more about our CEA Content Creators.
Load more comments
Thank you for the comment! Your comment must be approved first


Receive a $1,000 Flight Voucher when you apply by May 26, 2022

Get your flight voucher code and access to Passbook in two easy steps. With Passbook, you can track your favorite programs and courses, save flight vouchers, and watch videos on the destination you're interested in.

Apply Now

Step 1 of 2

Step 2 of 2

*By providing your mobile number, you agree to receive recurring text messages from CEA Study Abroad notifying you of important program deadlines. Message and data rates may apply.

Privacy Policy   |   Mobile Terms   |   Voucher Rules

Your flight voucher has been added to your Passbook. Apply now or view your Passbook to begin the next step in your journey.