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Canada: Latest News - Must read

Montreal in Canada named 'best student city'

Montreal triumphs in student reviews, beating Paris to the top spot of QS Best Student Cities

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The bilingual French-English city of Montreal has been crowned number one in QS Best Student Cities 2017, giving you yet another reason to consider studying in Canada! Montreal beat fellow French-speaking city Paris, which after four years in a row at the top spot, now falls to second place, followed by London in third.


South Korean city Seoul and Melbourne in Australia complete the top five. A further three countries make up the top 10: Germany, the US and Japan, with the former boasting two top 10 student cities.


What do the students say?
Jorge Rivera, HEC Montréal graduate told Hotcourses Abroad: “Montreal's multicultural and student-friendly environment facilitates the integration of international students as it is easy to blend with people and develop relationships."


Adam Burrows, Concordia BFA Film Studies alumnus also has fond memories of his time in the Canadian city. “My time in Montreal at Concordia has always remained in my mind as a great experience. Growing up in Toronto, I remember having a feeling of a very European city which afforded me the opportunity to immerse myself in another language and culture," he said.


“Concordia has a really great student life and they're good at creating opportunities for students to meet up. Aside from student life I loved the nightlife and food culture as well. There was no shortage of new and unique restaurants that, looking back, seem that they were way ahead of their time.”


These beaming reviews are reflected in the QS Student View, where Montreal scores fifth overall, performing particularly well for arts and cultural offering, as well as for friendliness, diversity and affordability. One comment in the survey read: “the city lives with/for its students,” while another praised its “tolerant culture”.


What do the Canadian colleges say?
Michael Mcallister, Directeur Général, Collège Herzing said Montreal's multi-lingual environment and diverse choice of programmes makes it unique. "Nowhere else will you find as many colleges and universities, public and private, French and English, to provide for your educational needs,” he said. 


Meanwhile, Ollivier Dyens, McGill Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), said: “While I find this amazing news, I can’t really say I am surprised. Montreal is a city where ‘Il fait bon vivre.’ Montrealers, like McGillians, are tolerant, gentle and creative and they welcome students and immigrants from all over the world with open arms.”


Canada and Germany top the ranking
Montreal’s strong performance this year sees it jump six positions from seventh and it’s not the only Canadian city to do well - Vancouver ranks 10th this year, climbing three positions, followed by Toronto at 11th. Ottawa, 26th and Quebec, 72nd, have also improved their scores. 


The only other country to have two cities in the top 10 is Germany, where Berlin and Munich come in at 6th and 9th respectively, both improving their positions. The country's affordability and low to zero tuition fees being a huge pull factor for students.


What's happening in the UK and US?
Despite Brexit, the UK has held its position well in the table. Brexit may actually have benefitted the UK in the short-term at least, as the weak pound against other currencies makes the country more affordable and attractive. Eight British cities make the top 50 - London is third up from fifth, Edinburgh climbs to 18th from 33rd and Manchester rises to 23rd, up an impressive 13 places.


With Canada the success story of this year's results, many eyes will be on their neighbour, the United States. Most US cities have slipped down the table, leaving only Boston, which performs well in Student View, in the top 10. 


Ben Sowter, head of the Intelligence Unit at QS, said: "I think today, studying at a U.S. institution or working as an academic at a U.S. institution looks a lot less attractive than it did six months ago.


"As a result, the opportunity for a Canadian institution that stands up and gets counted is considerable. It may not be showing in our results yet, but I think over the next two to three years, there's a reasonable likelihood that we will see a trend shift away from the U.S. and the U.K. as primary destinations, and towards alternative destinations with some similar characteristics — particularly around language."


How is it measured?

The research considers 125 cities across the world with a population of more than 250,000 and home to at least two universities featured in the latest QS World University Rankings.


The metrics are based on:

  • University rankings (placing in the QS World University Rankings)
  • Student mix (number of overall students and international students)
  • Desirability (based on factors such as safety and pollution) 
  • Employer activity (employers interested in graduates from at least one university)
  • Affordability (taking into account tuition fees, amenities and living costs)

This year also sees a new metric of survey answers (Student View) from 18,000 students and recent graduates.


QS Best Student Cities 2017
1. Montreal
2. Paris
3. London
4. Seoul
5. Melbourne
6. Berlin
7. Tokyo
8. Boston
9. Munich
10. Vancouver
11. Hong Kong and Toronto
13. Sydney
14. Singapore
15. Zurich
16. Vienna
17. Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe
18. Edinburgh
19. New York
20. Brisbane
21. Taipei
22. Canberra
23. Barcelona
24. Manchester
25. Shanghai


So, what have we learnt from this year's results? The international study landscape is certainly becoming more global and competitive, with students looking to underated alternatives from the popular traditional destinations. QS sums it up pretty well...


"It seems the world’s most iconic and in-demand destinations may not always live up to expectations, while lesser-known cities often make for the happiest students."


Want to find out more about the world's best student city? Check out our Montreal city guide!