Study zones: Find out the best cities in the world for international students

By: | Updated: February 26, 2017 5:25 AM

SEARCHING FOR a study destination with high-quality education, lively student scene and great cultural experiences without breaking the bank?

This year, the list highlights Montreal in Canada as the number one location, pushing Paris into the second place. For the first time, New Delhi and Mumbai feature among the top 100.

SEARCHING FOR a study destination with high-quality education, lively student scene and great cultural experiences without breaking the bank? Well, the answers to all these could lie in the annual ‘Best Student Cities’ list taken out by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a British company specialising in education and studying abroad.

This year, the list highlights Montreal in Canada as the number one location, pushing Paris into the second place. For the first time, New Delhi and Mumbai feature among the top 100. Mumbai has been ranked at number 85, the highest position for an Indian city on the list, followed by New Delhi at number 86. Overall, the table ranks 125 cities on a number of measures, including student satisfaction, affordability, university rankings, employer activity, etc.

Here are the top 10:

Montreal

Montreal is home to several of Canada’s highest-ranking institutions, including McGill University and the Université de Montréal. As a French-speaking city in a largely English-speaking nation that has experienced mass immigration from across the world, Montreal is known for its multi-cultural make-up and inclusive ethos.

Paris

Home to 18 universities featured in the QS World University Rankings (either overall or in specific indicators), Paris lays claim to comfortably more world-leading institutions than almost any city on the planet—with the exceptions of Seoul (also 18) and London (17). While Paris does have a (justified) reputation for its high cost of living, this is, to a large extent, balanced out by low tuition fees.

London

In the wake of 2016’s Brexit vote, there’s been concern that the UK could lose some of its appeal as an international study destination. But the 2017 edition of the QS Best Student Cities sees the nation’s capital climb two places to rank third overall—helped in part by the fall in the value of the pound, which has made it a more affordable proposition for international students. Of course, London is still not exactly a cheap option. Yet thanks to the concentration of world-class universities, and professional and social opportunities, studying in London may well be worth every penny.

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Seoul

It’s not just about superb rankings and reputation. Seoul is a 24×7 city where life is never dull. Whether it’s the sounds of night-market sellers or the atmosphere of the all-night tea houses, Seoul is as alive at 3 am as it is at 5 pm. The magic of this city is that boredom is impossible, with culture, history and creativity everywhere you turn.

Melbourne

Known as Australia’s cultural capital, Melbourne regularly tops lists of the world’s most livable cities, and is full of all the attractions that make the Australian lifestyle so appealing—including beautiful beaches, nightlife and a fair proportion of sunny days.

Berlin

Having flourished into one of the world’s coolest urban hubs, Berlin offers both, an unbeatable culture and a hot financial market, making it as perfect for history buffs and art aficionados, as it is for budding financiers. And to sweeten the deal even further, all undergraduate degrees (and some postgraduate programmes) are free at public universities in Germany.

Tokyo

For those who want to study amidst the hustle and bustle of the big city, they don’t come much bigger and busier than Tokyo, one of the world’s most populous urban areas. Such is the mindblowing scale of the Japanese capital that even with 13 internationally-ranked universities, it still has one of the lowest proportionate student populations of any city in the QS ‘Best Student Cities’ index. Tokyo, then, is a city for those who favour total immersion in local culture rather than living in a “student bubble”.

Boston

Boston is without doubt one of the world’s best-known academic hubs, and its position is further bolstered by universities located within the Greater Boston area in the neighbouring town of Cambridge. The most famous of these are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. Boston combines the hustle and bustle of a major metropolis and a happening arts, politics and culture scene, with an abundance of open green spaces.

Munich

Located deep in Germany’s southernmost region Bavaria, Munich is the nation’s third-largest city and its affluence and vibrancy make it a particularly desirable place to live in. For many people outside of Germany, Munich is known first and foremost as the beer capital of the world—home to Oktoberfest, one of the world’s biggest and booziest parties, which, every year, draws tourists in hoards to road-test the local brew. Of course, this is not the reason for Munich’s high score in the QS Best Student Cities index, but the city does score among the highest in the world in the desirability category, which draws on a broad selection of sources designed to assess quality of life.

Vancouver

Two universities in Vancouver feature in the QS ‘World University Rankings’ 2016-2017, of which the highest-ranked is the University of British Columbia at 45th in the world. Vancouver’s other ranked institution, Simon Fraser University, offers a particularly unique study setting, thanks to the location of its main campus in the middle of the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area, just outside the city. Whether you’re based in the city centre or not, Vancouver has much to offer.

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