5 Famous Politicians Who Studied Abroad and Why You Should Too

Higher education is a demand for the world’s most famous leaders – presidents and politicians. Education abroad is an advantage for those of them who earned a degree in another country. How this is reflected in their strategies is shown in a study made by INSEAD.

More specifically, the institution made an analysis of how education abroad is influencing the countries’ GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Although the number of presidents and top politicians is quite balanced, there is a difference of 5 trillion dollars. The countries that have leaders who studied abroad have a total GDP of 37 trillion USD while the other countries produce a total GDP of 32 trillion USD.

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You may be surprised to learn that 60% of the presidents you sometimes see on television didn’t earn degrees at universities abroad. The most popular destinations among the world leaders are UK, USA, Australia and Germany.

Major leaders of countries and their higher education:

1. Bill Clinton – former president of the U.S.

Study abroad Bill Clinton.jpg

Some of the world countries have or had presidents that studied abroad. One of them is the USA, represented by its 42nd president, Bill Clinton. The former president earned a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree at Georgetown University, the U.S.

After earning a Rhodes Scholarship, Clinton attended the University of Oxford, the UK. Bill Clinton studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.

2. Shinzo Abe – current prime minister of Japan

Japan, the country of technology and inventions has a prime minister that is pretty popular among his electors. Shinzo Abe became the youngest post-war prime minister of Japan. He studied Political Science at Seikei University in Japan and, after graduation, he enrolled into a Public Policy programme at the University of Southern California, the U.S.


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3. Park Geun-hye – former president of South Korea

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South Korea also went through a premiere, after having the first female president of the country and from the East Asian area. Park Geun-hye was named the 11th Most Powerful Woman in the World and the Most Powerful Woman in East Asia, as well as the 46th Most Powerful Person in the World by Forbes.

She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering at Sogang University (South Korea) and enrolled in the University of Grenoble (France). She didn’t graduate the French studies. However, Park Geun-hye received honorary Ph.D. degrees from the Chinese Culture University (Taiwan), Pukyong National University (South Korea) and KAIST (South Korea).

4. Abdullah Gül – former president of Turkey


Turkeyhad, between 2007 and 2014 a president that was highly visible in the newspapers. Abdullah Gül first studied Economics at the Istanbul University (Turkey) and then enrolled in a Master’s degree course in London and Exeter (UK).

He pursued an academic career and also earned a Ph.D. from the Istanbul University and an honorary Ph.D. from Amity University (India) and an LLD from the University of Dhaka (Bangladesh).

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5. Tony Abbott – former prime minister of Australia

In Australia, between 2013 and 2015 there was a prime minister who was also experienced in journalism, management, and political advising and who became worldwide popular.

Tony Abbott earned Bachelor of Economics and a Bachelor of Laws degrees from the University of Sidney (Australia). The politician also attended The Queen’s College (Oxford, UK) as a Rhodes Scholar and he earned a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and later an MA degree.

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Other successful politicians who studied abroad

There are country leaders that have earned degrees abroad and impressed through their success. Below you will find a list of some of the prime ministers and presidents that are in charge of their country’s evolution and who built their higher education abroad.

Ma Ying-jeou, former president of China

Yingluck Shinawatra, prime minister of Thailand

  • BA degree from Chang Mai University (Thailand) a
  • MPA in Management Information Systems from Kentucky State University (USA)

Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia

  • Bachelor of Economics and Business Administration degrees from the University of Kansas (USA)
  • MSc. in Economic Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science (UK)
  • MPA from Harvard University (US) and an honorary LLD from Harvard University (USA)

These, along with other circa 40% of the world leaders have earned a degree abroad and learned from studying in an international environment and different cultures. They also are part of the total group of states that have a higher GDP than those who have a domestic degree.

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Studying abroad makes you a better person and politician

This does not necessarily mean that by enrolling in a university programme you will earn the status of any of the persons mentioned above. They also are part of the total group of states that have a higher GDP than those who have a domestic degree.

This does not necessarily mean that by enrolling in a university programme you will earn the status of any of the persons mentioned above. However, studying abroad will also provide you perspectives and experience in a multicultural environment, you will adapt to a different kind of society and, of course, gain advanced knowledge.

Or you can benefit from education abroad, focus on self-development and make it possible to become a president or a politician and have a contribution to positively changing the world.

You want more? Discover also which celebrities studied abroad.

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