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Study abroad : Before you leave

5 Famous faces who studied abroad, and what we can learn

Did you know Hermoine studied abroad? Or a certain Hangover star? Here's 5 celebrities who studied abroad and what you can take away from their experiences...

Emma Watson studied at Brown, in Rhode Island, America

While some may criticise our celebrity-obsessed culture, they are, whether right or wrong, influential role models for many young people. Musicians and actors are considered as important as politicians and writers in the eyes of many teens, who will consider what they have to say when making decisions about their future (one of the key such decisions being their education).

Like any process, it can be stressful at times, but only because there are usually many options, and it will impact the rest of your life. Getting advice and perspective from those who have achieved success themselves can be inspirational, and motivate someone to consider new options. Additionally, each of the examples below have their own unique lessons for those preparing to for higher education.

Read on to see who studied what and where, and decide whether it helped them...


Emma Watson

Imagine walking into your first lecture at university, and Hermoine is your fellow classmate! Or even better: she’s your roommate, and you can watch the Potter films with real life commentary! Okay, maybe not. Watson transferred from Oxford where she was studying English, to Brown to study European History and Drama (something she is rather qualified in, we would say).

Lesson: Despite having millions of pounds in the bank from acting before reaching the age of eighteen, Watson still decided to pursue further education at two of the best institutions in the world. It says a lot about her priorities and character. No matter your circumstances or aspirations, having some form of higher education qualification to your name is important as you never know where life will take you. That Watson managed to change her discipline (to fit in with her acting commitments) can provide some relief for students whose studies are interrupted for whatever reason (e.g. illness, death in the family, another pursuit etc.). Students can be tempted to remain quiet, rather than ask for help.

You could study: HistoryDrama



Bradley Cooper

Hopefully this Oscar nominee didn’t get into too much trouble like his character Stu from The Hangover, while he was in a new country. The handsome leading man was inspired as a child by the film, Chariots of Fire, to study French in Aix-en-Province.  

Lesson: Cooper’s inspiration came from a very early memory, long before one would normally begin thinking about study options. A lot of people get to this point and don’t know the route they want to take – it’s very common. Look at what makes you happy, and try not to over-think. Plus, you can see from Cooper’s route to Hollywood stardom, the experience and exposure of studying abroad can lead to almost anything – you could say the opportunities are Limitless! While career path is important to consider when choosing a course, studying something which you have a personal interest in can be incredibly rewarding. And that doesn’t mean your qualification will become useless once you graduate; we’re sure his language skills come in very useful when promoting his latest film around the world.

You could study: French



Isla Fisher

The comedy actress, known for Wedding Crashers and Confessions of a Shopaholic, has delighted audiences with her sweet and ditzy comedic roles. While these are very light-hearted affairs, Fisher has clearly taken her craft very seriously, by studying at the Ecole Internationale de Théatre Jacques Lecoq, in Paris.

Lesson: Acting and performance is very subjective, and will emphasise different ideas depending on where you study in the world. Many find excellent institutions in their own country for the subject they wish to study, and simply apply to these. While this is perfectly satisfactory, looking to abroad can open yourself up to learning from the best in the world, and not just your country. Our influences come from a diverse set of sources, including film, television and the internet; so why limit your study options to just those close to you? Perhaps your subject of interest has historical roots in another country? Living in the age of the internet makes it even easier to research these opportunities.



Julia Child

Modern audiences will know the name ‘Julia Child’ from the semi-biopic, Julia & Julia, where the famous chef was portrayed by Meryl Streep. Child is considered the first person to popularise French cuisine for American audiences in the States; consider her the Nigella Lawson of her day. It is her time studying at Le Cordon Bleu school in Paris which would go on to dictate her legacy.

Lesson: Child actually went to France initially not to study, but as part of her role with the United States Intelligence Agency. There she met her eventual husband who introduced her to French cooking. As well as the potential to find that special someone, students can learn from Child that journeys abroad can contribute towards your education indirectly. If you find yourself in a different country for a family holiday or a gap year with friends, ask about local universities or the education system. If you like the way of life, why not find out about opportunities to stay for several years?

You could study: Catering


Joely Richardson

Though slightly younger than a university student, the Nip Tuck actress attended Harry Hopman Tennis School as part of a scholarship when she was fourteen.

Lesson: Explore the wide range of scholarships that are out there. They do exist, and are there to benefit those who cannot rely on their families to pay for their tuition. There isn’t a stigma attached to them either; often it’s a way for former successful alumni to give back to an institution which helped start them off on their path, and you're evaluated on your passion for the course. In fact, Richardson herself is evidence of this, having come from a very affluent family. Terms and requirements will vary, so research them thoroughly before applying. Again, one thing can lead to another; so always remain open to new opportunities as they present themselves, rather than restrict yourself.



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About Author

Emma Watson studied at Brown, in Rhode Island, America

Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.