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10 famous Americans that have studied abroad

A list of 10 well-known Americans who studied abroad during high school or college

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Each year, close to 300,000 American students study abroad. But did you know that many of these students go on to become famous authors, actors, musicians, and even presidents? Here is a list of some of the most famous people who studied abroad during either high school or college. Some of them might really surprise you!

 

1. President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton, perhaps one of the most well-liked but controversial U.S. Presidents of our time, studied at Oxford University in England. He was a recipient of the Rhodes Scholarship, which allowed him to study there for two years, even though he never ended up getting a degree there.

 

2. Kris Kristofferson

 

 

Kris Kristofferson, the famed songwriter, was also a Rhodes Scholar at Merton College, Oxford. He graduated with a master’s degree in English Literature, and was also involved in boxing.

 

3. Matthew McConaughey

 

“Alright, alright, alright…” Actor Matthew McConaughey spent a year in high school studying abroad in Australia on a Rotary International Scholarship. He was a part of a Rotary Exchange student program, and stayed in Warnerville, New South Wales, Australia.

 

4. Roger Ebert

 

Late film critic Roger Ebert was also a Rotary Ambassador Scholar, and studied at the University of Cape Town, South Africa in 1965. He went to study English Literature, but he was more heavily influenced by the experience and the culture, as well as the tumultuous nature of society at that was present at that time. He later said that this experience greatly affected him and his world view.

 

5. Vincent Price


 

Vincent Price, one of the coolest, creepiest actors to ever grace the silver screen, was a member of the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London. He had intended to study fine arts there, but the stage called him, and he changed his focus to theater. He started acting in 1934, and continued until he died in 1993.

 

6. Tia Mowry

 

Tia Mowry (on the right in the above photo), an actress and half of one of the most famous set of twins in pop culture, spent a summer at Pepperdine University’s campus in Florence, Italy as part of the Pepperdine University’s Study Abroad Program. She majored in Psychology, but while in Europe she focused on Humanities and Italian Language. Bravissima!

 

7. Harper Lee

 

Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird and its recent follow-up, Go Set a Watchman, spent a year studying abroad at Oxford. She was studying for a law degree at the time, but would later put this aside to focus on writing.

 

8. Rachel Maddow

 

Rachel Maddow, a host on MSNBC, was the first openly gay U.S. student to receive a Rhodes Scholarship. She used this scholarship to attend Oxford University, where she earned a doctorate in political science.

 

9. Natalie Portman


 

Natalie Portman, known for her roles in V for Vendetta, Black Swan, Thor, and many other highly successful movies, was actually born in Jerusalem, and went back there to take graduate courses at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2004. This was most likely not a challenge for her, seeing as she is both bilingual (in English and Hebrew), and a dual citizen of both the United States and Israel.

 

10. Chris Pine

 

Last but not least, Chris Pine of the popular new Star Trek series, studied English at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom in 2001. He studied there for one year as an exchange student, and later went on to pursue acting instead of literature. Several times since then, though, he has been voted one of the university’s best-looking alumni, which is saying something, since Leeds itself is voted “Britain’s best looking uni [university]” nearly every year!

 

Now that you know some of the great talents that have studied abroad, you might want to check it out for yourself! To read up on even more study abroad alumni, you can take a look at this list of Notable U.S Study Abroad and Peace Corps Alumni compiled by the NAFSA. Buon viaggio!

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About Author

Jessica Scott is a University of Louisville graduate with a degree in English and Humanities, specialising in literature, linguistics, and classical and modern languages. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where she has been writing since the age of three. Her first novel, Chase and Charlie, was published in May 2015. Her interests include reading, writing, cooking, and studying Italian.