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Best Student Cities 2012 revealed

Find out which cities were named the Best Student Cities in 2012.

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Where your university is located will hugely impact the type of study abroad experience you’ll have there. In fact, a number of surveys have revealed that location is second only to the perceived quality of education of an institution for students deciding where to study. Taking into account a range of factors, the 2012 QS Best Student Cities ranking has outlined the best cities worldwide to study in. Thinking of studying abroad, but not sure where you want to go? Let our overview of the 2012 rankings help give you some ideas.

Global university rankings have long focused their attention on the standard of education, research and quality of teaching within institutions from around the world, but international students’ choices reflect a bigger picture. When choosing where to study abroad, students want world class education as well as great experiences offered by quality of living, culture and affordability of education. Generally, the Best Student Cities survey puts Europe ahead of the US in quality of living and affordability, with tuition fees averaging under US$1,000 per year. However, the number of European universities ranking in the Top20 is far fewer than those within the US, UK and Asia.

In first place, beating London and other Australasian cities, Paris was selected by international students as the best student city for its affordable tuition fees and the quality of lifestyle, cultural options and general safety available. Another important factor influencing applicants is the expectation of a job after graduation.

Read the full list below:


1. Paris

Situated in the heart of Europe, Paris is frequently rated as one of the most liveable cities in Europe. It is also one of the most historic, culturally vital and beautiful cities of the world: a perfect place to study! Paris also scores highly in the quality of living indicator as the cost of living is generally cheap. Graduates have the opportunity to develop contacts with businesses and employers from all across Europe.


2. London

One of the world's great centres of culture and creativity, London offers an abundance of study and lifestyle options to any student. However, with a high cost of living, too much fun can prove costly. London is one of the world's most important financial centres, so is a land of opportunity for corporate-minded graduates. It is also one of the most important cities in the world for media and art lovers.

Highly ranked universities include University College London and London School of Economics and Political Science


3. Boston

Boston prides itself for being the US capital of culture, and one of the most historic cities across the nation. Boston boasts an abundance of green, open space and come autumn is famously awash with warm yellows, burnt oranges and browns. One of the main drawbacks however is the price of education if students are unable to benefit from generous financial aid packages which significantly reduce tuition fees.  Each year the city welcomes more than 250,000 students from all over the world.

Highly ranked institutions include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University  


4. Melbourne

Melbourne is Australia's second largest city and is the cultural hub of Australia. Students can explore the cool hidden bars and outdoor-cafes in the city's laneways, eat in one of the top restaurants, or take in a performance at one of the theatres. As well as offering world-class education, Melbourne provides just about the most favourable study environment around.

Highly ranked institutions include the University of Melbourne and Monash University


5. Vienna

Frequently ranked as one of the world's most liveable cities and with some of the lowest tuition fees around for international students, Vienna is also home to an number of magnificent museums and galleries. Not to mention its terrific public transportation system.


6. Sydney

Functioning as a key Australian financial hub, Sydney attracts thousands of international students every year. With the stunning panorama of Sydney Harbour, including its famous opera house and exotic parks, Sydney offers students the chance to finish up their class readings from some of the most renowned beaches on the planet.

Highly ranked institutions include the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales.


7. Zurich

Zurich is the wealthiest city in Europe, boosted by the global capital that flows through its corporations. This affluence affords students a high quality of living, green streets and a safe city to study within. However, living expenses can be high.


8. Berlin

Berlin is often toted as one of the coolest cities in the world. With a flourishing cultural scene, the city is a major centre of design, fashion, music and art that rivals New York and London. Berlin, however, is still easily affordable on a student budget, whilst also being enough of a global financial centre to appeal to those more corporate-minded. Comfortably the most affordable city in the top ten, Berlin combines tuition of fees of just US$1,000-2,000 and a greater provision of courses in English available for international students.


8. Dublin

Sharing eighth place with Berlin, the busy charm of Dublin with its wealth of bars, restaurants and unusual boutique shops has attracted spades of international students for decades. As an international student in Dublin, you’ll get the chance to sample the Irish music scene, rich storytelling tradition, hearty food, Gaelic culture and enjoy wonderfully lush, green and varied landscapes.


10. Montreal

Montreal has been dubbed the cultural capital of Canada, and enjoys a distinctly hybrid culture. The site of several major international festivals including the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the world's largest comedy festival, Just for Laughs, Montreal offers plenty of options for adventure to international students that grace its shores.


What do international students really want?

Despite the fact that a few of the top 10 cities also count with world class universities highly ranked in major world university rankings, this survey demonstrates that students’ study abroad preferences are significantly influenced by factors such as quality of life, job prospects and city culture. After all, it isn’t only about homework!

Politicians and local business communities increasingly recognise the importance of students to the economies of student cities, whilst universities place particular focus on recruiting students internationally.

Local governments, universities and students themselves recognise how beneficial the presence of young and diverse talent is for cities in general. The needs of prospective international students then are only set to become more relevant. 



Now that you’re inspired to study abroad, why not start browsing undergraduate, postgraduate, vocational or doctoral courses abroad now?



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