According to OECD, there are around 4.3 million students enrolled at a University outside their home country with Australia, the United Kingdom and Switzerland having the highest percentage of international students. 

The temptation to study internationally is getting stronger each year as more people choose to embrace new cultures and cities in order to get the best qualification for them.

If you’re considering studying abroad, it can be hard to consider where is best for you to complete your studies. With around 196 countries to choose from, there’s plenty of options available. We’ve taken a look at six of the best cities in the world for students to study in, so, this guide should give any budding international students some great ideas.


California, United States of America

California has two of our top cities for students, Pasadena and Berkeley, which are home to Caltech and UC Berkeley. California Institute of Technology recently came in at first place on the Times Higher Education’s World University Ranking. Meanwhile, the University of California, Berkeley came in thirteenth place – showing just how well regarded universities in the city are. Caltech even has 34 Nobel prizewinners and 6 Turing Award winners amongst its impressive line-up of alumni.


When you’re not studying, California has a rich variety of recreational activities for you to experience – take a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, explore Alcatraz or visit Disney California Adventure park. Meanwhile, there are plenty of breathtaking national parks for you to enjoy the city’s nature.

California is great for students studying technology, science, engineering or law.


London, United Kingdom

London is known for being a great place to study. Whether it’s Oxford, Cambridge or Imperial College London, you know you’re in good hands.


University of Oxford came in 2nd place on the Times Higher Education list, whilst the University of Cambridge came 4th, Imperial College London in 8th and the University College London came in 14th place.

Saying you’ve studied at one of these world-renown universities comes with a level of prestige that you can’t get from other cities and will always impress potential employers.

As a capital city, there is also plenty to see and do too. Discover the Royal Opera House, be amazed at the Tower of London, visit Westminster Abbey or explore the Tate Modern.

London is great for students studying politics, economics, history, arts and science.


Zürich, Switzerland

Located in north-central Switzerland, Zürich is home to one of the best universities in the world.


With notable alumni including Albert Einstein, ETH Zürich is currently ranked the 5th best university in the world for students reading engineering, science or technology on the Elservier QS World University Rankings list. ETH is known for its tight curriculum and can sometimes consist of twice as many lectures as other Swiss universities but the hard work is worth it for a degree from such a reputable institution.

The university annually hosts the biggest decorated ball in Europe; this gives some idea of the level of prestige the institution holds. The Polyball includes over 10,000 dancers and partygoers every November. During your free time, take a train up the Uetliberg mountain or explore the Kunsthaus art museum.

Zürich is great for students studying science, technology, engineering, mathematics and management.


Beijing, China

According to the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China report, there were more than 377,054 foreign students studying in China in 2014.

ancient Chinese architecture

Peking University in Beijing is the oldest modern national university in China. The university recently came in joint 2nd place in the Asia University Rankings 2016 list and, with their ever-growing partnerships with Stanford University and Yale University, they are one of the most established universities in the world.

Just recently, Peking University launched the Yenching Academy which is set to train the next generation of global leaders in a prestigious course that educates students about China’s role in the world.

If you’re looking to explore the sights of Beijing, then you can’t go wrong with the Forbidden City imperial palace, the Great Wall of China and Beihai Park.

Beijing is great for students studying business, science, humanities and education.


Edinburgh, United Kingdom

The University of Edinburgh recently ranked as the 24th best university in the world on the Times Higher Education list and also the joint 6th best university in Europe by the U.S. News’ Best Global Universities Ranking.

As one of the oldest universities, notable alumni from the University of Edinburgh include Charles Darwin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Alexander Graham Bell and J.M. Barrie. Edinburgh is the place for you if you want to study Computer Science and Informatics, as it was recently ranked 1st in the UK by the Research Excellence Framework.

Be sure to visit Edinburgh Castle, Scottish National Gallery and the 16th-century royal Holyrood Palace.

Edinburgh is great for medicine, veterinary medicine, computer sciences, humanities and social science.


Whether you feel like studying at home or prefer the idea of studying abroad, the choice is up to you. If you’re determined to get the most out of your qualification, you may decide to study at the university that is most respected for your preferred career choice but, ultimately, what you put into your studies is what you’ll get out of it wherever you end up.


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