24/05/2013 08:28 BST | Updated 23/07/2013 06:12 BST

Five Famous Faces Who Were International Students

We always love to see a good (or bad) university yearbook photo of a famous face, regrettable hair and all. It adds a little background and colour to how we see them as individuals. All of us were that awkward, naive teenager at one time (some of us still are!). Seeing that someone has shaken off those insecurities and terrible outfits to become successful in their field is one of the more positive aspects of our celebrity-obsessed culture.

However, as we have discovered, sometimes we have to look a little further to find those university photos. We look at five famous faces who were once simply known as 'the international student', and consider how these earlier sojourns studying abroad may influenced where they ended up.

Alison Brie

The Mad Men and Community star took a break from the sun-lavished California Institute of the Arts, to spend a few months in......Glasgow. While the actress has said that she had originally hoped to study in New Zealand, she would actually make her way to Scotland to study at what is now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. It comes as no surprise to us; we thought that the headstrong way she deals with husband Peter in Mad Men, seemed familiar.

J.K. Rowling

As part of her French degree at the University of Exeter, J.K. Rowling hopped on her broomstick (kidding!) and traveled to Paris to study for a year. While she hasn't said as such, if you were once a spectacle-wearing little Parisian boy with a bowl haircut, you might just have inspired a certain famous literary hero. That Rowling continued to write creatively in addition to her degree-work, is a testament to committing to hobbies if you enjoy them; often, these interests make you a more interesting, well-rounded graduate to potential employers.

Bill Clinton

The former U.S. president studied at Oxford University, having received his undergraduate degree at Georgetown. Just imagine that: the cool musician with a bushy beard you speak to about absolutely nothing at a party may one day become one of the most powerful men on the planet. Clinton actually attended Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, which is a lesson to all applicants to enquire about such opportunities and take advantage of them - you never know how far you can go.

Maggie Gyllenhaal

The actress who is known for her smaller independent roles, briefly studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. On graduating, the Secretary and Dark Knight actress took up a waitressing job back in the States. Gyllenhaal's experience can be comfort to those international graduates who enjoy wonderful experiences abroad, but for whatever reason must return home to less-than-exciting circumstances. Good things come to those who wait, it seems.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Being the love interest of Iron Man sure must have its advantages, like being able to fly anywhere in the world at a moment's notice (whether by private plane, or holding on to Robert Downey Jr very, very tightly). Of course that is all fictional, though Gwyneth Paltrow continues to holiday in Spain regularly, revisiting the area where she spent a year as an exchange student. In fact, she is so enamoured with the country, that she even filmed a cookery show there. So remember: just because your degree has a set duration, doesn't mean it's the last you'll see of that country.