“Rocky Mountain College is in an awesome location… We took trips to Yellowstone National Park; the Beartooth, Bridger, and Pryor Mountains… Coming to RMC for the Environmental Science Program was one of my best decisions.” – Mary, former student of Environmental Science at Rocky Mountain College

So you’re looking for a unique study abroad experience overseas – what’s your main priority; the location or the academics?

It’s a tough decision for any aspiring student, and being completely honest, it’s one you really shouldn’t have to make. When it comes to studying abroad there’s no room for compromise – it’s time to scout out those world-class schools in truly unforgettable locations!

“Choosing where in the world you wish to study is not always an easy task,” writes Top Universities. “As well as your own personal interests you should think about practicalities such as the costs of studying in that country (both tuition costs and living costs), your graduate career prospects (is there a good job market?) and your overall safety and welfare.”



On top of these factors, it’s important to consider what kind of lifestyle you’re likely to adopt while working towards your degree. Are you a social butterfly with a need to let-loose at events and festivities? Are you a nature buff who likes to blow off steam in the great outdoors? Or are you a city slicker with a cosmopolitan edge and an urge to shop ‘til you drop? Wherever your interests lie, it’s important for the location of your host institution to accommodate your particular needs, or your study abroad experience could wind up being disappointingly blah…

So what if you find a school in the absolute prime location but the course is just not the one?

Ultimately, you are looking to study overseas with the purpose of obtaining a degree. If you settle for a university in your dream destination but the courses on offer are mediocre, you’re likely to end up with a lacklustre experience and a second-rate qualification.

What would be the point investing all that time, money and effort into a once in a lifetime opportunity that ends up being undeniably forgettable?

Erin LaFavor, former student of the Physician Assistant (PA) program at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana, is the perfect example of a student who opted for reputable academics in the optimal location.

“Rocky’s PA program is a small town college with a lot of opportunities,” she says. “The faculty have multiple years of experience in a variety of specialities, so they are able to offer great personal experiences and real-life scenarios.



“In the clinical year, they give you the best opportunity to learn in different environments by offering a range of locations for rotations, from small town Belgrade or Miles City, to the big city of Chicago.”

Reflecting on her time at Rocky Mountain College, Erin fully appreciates that while she received instruction from qualified leaders of the field, she would never have been able to pursue such valuable placement opportunities if it weren’t for the school’s convenient location in Billings – Montana’s largest city.

Bordered to the north and east by the 400-foot sandstone cliffs known as the Rimrocks, Billings boasts a pleasant climate all year-round, making it the perfect fit for the keen young scholar with a passion for outdoor pursuits. Red Lodge, the gateway to Yellowstone Park, is a 50-minute drive from Billings, presenting the ideal setting for skiing and chilled-out downtown shopping. The Beartooth and Pryor Mountains, on the other hand, are both just an hour away, offering superb alpine settings for hiking, fishing and camping.

But don’t let Rocky Mountain’s dreamlike location distract you from its stellar academics…



All Rocky Mountain students learn from inspiring professors in a stimulating learning environment, but being a mere two and half hours’ drive from Yellowstone National Park means learning at Rocky Mountain is not strictly confined to the classroom. Instead, science students might find themselves in a Yellowstone laboratory examining the local wildlife, for example; or those studying photography might find themselves testing their shutter skills in one of Earth’s most stunning natural environments.

These are the real-world experiences, all of which are entirely dependent on location, that make the Rocky Mountain education experience so unforgettable. As a sterling example of an elite institution in a first-class location, Rocky Mountain offers the best of both worlds to all of its global applicants. When it comes to selecting your preferred course in an ideal international setting, remember the bar has been set – and there’s really no room left for compromise.


This article is sponsored by Rocky Mountain College, a residential and comprehensive liberal arts college beneath the sandstone “rim-rocks” in a suburban neighborhood of Billings. The college, highly regarded regionally for its overall excellence, expresses its mission through the core themes of academic excellence, transformational learning, shared responsibility and stewardship. Faculty are dedicated to student-centered learning and lead programs that include an ongoing experiment aboard the International Space Station and the nation’s first unmanned aircraft certification curriculum.

Image courtesy of Rocky Mountain College.

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