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Study abroad : Destination Guides

What are the best student cities in 2023?

Discover the world’s top ten Best Student Cities 2023.

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International students have so many important decisions to make, from choosing the perfect course,and the right university to the right country and city. Knowing which cities around the world have ranked as the best student cities can help students make the right choice. 


Global university rankings focus 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.


To help you make your decision, here’s a list of the latest best student cities of 2023 according to QS Best Student Cities Rankings


1 LONDON, England


In number one place is London. One of the world's great centres of culture and creativity, London offers a wide choice of study and lifestyle options to any student. However, with a high cost of living, too much fun can be expensive. London is one of the world's most important financial centres, so it’s a land of opportunity for corporate-minded graduates. It’s 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.


2 Munich and Seoul


In joint second place are Munich, Germany and Seoul in South Korea. 


Munich, Germany

As Germany is becoming more and more desirable for international students, partly because of low tuition costs, it’s no surprise to see a German city in the top 5. However, Munich has now overtaken Germany’s capital, Berlin. As an undergraduate student in a public university in Munich, you will not be expected to pay ANY tuition fees, regardless of your country of origin. If this doesn’t help you to make your decision, then maybe the nightlife, cost of living and distinctive culture in Munich will get you thinking about studying here.


According to QS World University Rankings (2023), two of the top institutions include The Technical University of Munich (49th) and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (59th).


SEOUL, South Korea


An increasingly popular destination for students, with six institutions ranking in the top 100 worldwide in 2023, this Asian capital offers prestigious universities as well as entertainment and beautiful scenery. If you’re looking for an authentic study experience, Seoul could be the perfect choice for you. Students can soak up the South Korean culture, learning about different traditions and local food while also enjoying the vibrant urban landscapes.


Top universities in Seoul include Seoul National University (ranked 29th in the world) and KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.


4 Zurich, Switzerland


Zurich is one of the wealthiest cities in Europe, with a reputation for being clean, safe and affluent. This provides students with a high quality of living, green streets and a secure city to study. While living expenses can be high, tuition fees remain comparably lower than other leading study destinations such as the USA, Australia and the UK.  Students can also enjoy a balance of both city life and the surrounding nature while studying in Zurich.


Top universities in Zurich are ETH Zurich  (ranked in 9th place globally) and the University of Zurich.


5 Melbourne, Australia


A popular city for many students around the world, Melbourne is considered to be one of the world’s most liveable cities. This south-Australian city is also known for its creativity and culture, offering students an exciting and unique study experience outside of lectures. Some of Melbourne’s seven universities are placed within the world’s top 100 institutions, reflecting the high quality of education. These leading institutions include The University of Melbourne and Monash University.



6. Berlin, Germany


Berlin is known as one of the coolest cities in the world. With a lively 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 offers free tuition at public universities with a greater provision of courses in English for international students.


Top universities in Berlin include Humboldt University of Berlin and Freie Universitaet Berlin.


7 Tokyo, Japan


Tokyo city by night with Mount Fuji in the background


Coming in at 7th place, Tokyo is the perfect study destination for students who enjoy the noise and busyness of a big city. As one of the world’s leading financial centres, this capital city offers plenty of work opportunities and chances to gain international experience. It’s main university is in the top 30 for Graduate Employability Rankings 2022, meaning employers favour graduates from the university. 


Top universities include The University of Tokyo and The Tokyo Institute of Technology


8 Paris, France


Situated in the heart of Europe, Paris is frequently rated as one of the most liveable cities in Europe. It’s also one of the most historic, culturally vital and beautiful cities of the world: a perfect place to study. With 31 universities, Paris is an attractive choice for students from all over the world. You therefore have plenty of choice when it comes to browsing different types of institutions. Graduates also have the opportunity to develop contacts with businesses and employers from all across Europe.


Top universities include Université PSL and Institut Polytechnique de Paris


9 Sydney, Australia


As a key Australian financial hub, Sydney attracts thousands of international students every year. With the stunning panorama of Sydney Harbour, its famous opera house and glistening beaches, Sydney offers students the chance to study from some of the most famous attractions on the planet. If you do decide to study there, make sure you go to some of the top places to visit in Australia.  


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



10 Edinburgh, Scotland


The second largest city in Scotland, Edinburgh only has a population of 530,000 and has a strong international student community. Its castle,history, restaurants, bars and world-famous festival means that this lively city has something for everyone. If you want to explore beyond the city’s limits, Edinburgh has excellent train services all around Scotland and the UK. 


Panoramic view of Edinburgh with the North Bridge from Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. Captured during autumn.


Top universities include the University of Edinburgh (ranked 15th in the world) and Heriot-Watt University.


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

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