Celebrities on Exchange​

Some of the most influential, powerful and famous people on the planet have undertaken a study abroad programme. Many describe it as a defining point in their life which shaped their future career. We thought you would be interested in reading which of your favourite celebrities have studied abroad. After your study abroad programme could you go on to become a Hollywood A-lister or even the next president of the United States!

Gwyneth Paltrow

American actress, singer and food writer and arguable one of the most famous actresses in the world. When she was 15 Gwyneth spent a year as an exchange student in Spain and learnt to speak Spanish. She said the experience ‘changed her life’ and still regards Spain as her second home.​

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper has been nominated for an academy award, voted Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine and is listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. During his studies Bradley spent six months as an exchange student in Aix-en-Provence in France and became fluent in French. While promoting The Hangover Part II he gave an interview entirely in French.

He is reported as saying when he was a child watching Chariots of Fire and learnt that French is the official language of the Olympics and thought ‘Man, that sounds so cool. I want to learn French.’ 

Matthew McConaughey

American actor and producer with an eclectic acting career from horror to hard hitting dramas and romantic comedies, Matthew was originally planning to become a lawyer. He changed to acting and ironically his big break came as playing lawyer Jake Brigance in the 1996 film 'A Time to Kill'.

With a passion for adventure, during his degree at the University of Texas in Austin, Matthew lived in New South Wales Australia as a Rotary exchange student back in 1998. He has said ‘I always had a wanderlust for travelling and I wanted to take a year off to go take an adventure, and it was’.

Vera Wang

American fashion designer Vera Wang was born and raised in New York City. She was an average college student at Sarah Lawrence College studying Art History until she decided to go abroad and study in France at the University of Paris-Sorbonne taking art and history courses. 

 In a biography Katherine Krohn stated ‘the architecture, fashion and design of Paris inspired her and reawakened her lifelong love of art’.

Kristin Scott Thomas

Kristin is loved for her quintessential English rose looks and voice. She won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress in Four Weddings and a Funeral, but made her debut in the late Prince directed film Under the Cherry Moon. 

 In her late teens Kristin moved to Paris to work as an Au Pair. She then went on to study in France and has lived there ever since.


Bill Clinton studied at the University of Oxford for a year in the 1960’s on a Rhodes Scholarship. 

Desmond Tutu studied his Bachelor’s Degree at Kings College London in the 1960’s. 

JK Rowling spent a semester studying in France during her degree. 

Penelope Cruz left her native Spain to spend time studying in New York.



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