The World's 50 Best Cities for Students

Universities have become increasingly global institutions, so the opportunity to study abroad has never been better.iStock
50. Lisbon (Portugal).iStock

The number of young people in higher education has soared in recent years, and continues to increase year on year. By 2025, it is forecast that there will be a staggering 262 million people at university worldwide, twice the number there were in 2012.

University experts QS have released their annual list of the best places in the world to study. The comprehensive rankings are decided not just by the reputation of the city’s university (or, in some cases, universities).

Important factors included in the rankings, aside from the stature of the university itself, are what job prospects are available to students during and after their degree; how affordable the city is for students; what cultural activities are available; how open it is towards international students; and the how students feel about their experience as a whole.

So while America boasts some of the best educational facilities in the world, not one of the top ten student cities is in the U.S. Apparently it’s preferable to study in South Korea’s capital.

Given that the top five cities are among the most expensive in the world, it seems clear that the second of the ranking factors—affordability—isn’t given special weight by many students.

Universities have changed immensely over the past few decades—for better and for worse. While more and more people are able to access the institutions, in some respects, there is less and less to enjoy.

In many Western countries, student debt is on the rise, while employment opportunities aren’t as easily secured with a degree as was previously the case, and university staff are often overstretched.

But universities have also become increasingly global institutions, and so the opportunity to study abroad has never been better.

In the new market of universities, different countries and campuses compete across continents to attract the brightest and highest number of students internationally. Some universities pair up with others, hundreds of miles apart. For students—as this gallery shows—this means there is more choice than ever.

49. Budapest (Hungary).iStock
48. Brussels (Belgium).iStock
47. Nottingham (United Kingdom).iStock
46. Ottawa (Canada).iStock
45. Copenhagen (Denmark).iStock
44. Coventry (United Kingdom).iStock
43. Glasgow (United Kingdom).iStock
42. Lyon (France).iStock
41. Adelaide (Australia).iStock
40. Chicago (United States).iStock
39. Perth (Australia).iStock
38. San Francisco (United States).iStock