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The world’s best 5 student cities and why they topped the charts

best student cities
Tokyo is the second best city for students. Source: Benjamin Hung/Unsplash.

This week, the best cities for students were released by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) with London, Tokyo, Melbourne, Montreal, and Paris topping the charts.

But why do these five cities deserve the title?

London, UK

The capital of England, London is a bustling city bursting with opportunity. From ruby red buses and phone-boxes to phenomenal architecture like the Houses of Parliament, – with the famous Big Ben – the London Eye, and the Gherkin.

Winning points: London is not short of higher education institutes. The city boasts the highest concentration of world-class institutions in the world so if it’s a phenomenal education you’re after (of course you are), then you’ve come to the right place.

There’s a reason thousands of student fall in love with London every year. Source: Federico Tasin/Unsplash.

Often referred to as the ‘capital of the world’, London is culturally vibrant with an almost never-ending stream of museums, theatres, cinemas and restaurants. You could live in London your entire life and still not see it all!

England’s capital also has ample employment opportunities where students are easily able to connect with employers and increase their likelihood of finding a job after graduation.

The city has a huge international population – of students and workers – so international students should settle right in with the diverse mix of people London houses.

Downside: London’s problem? It can be mighty expensive, especially for students. However, QS remained positive with Research Director Ben Sowter claiming London “remains a great place to study, despite eye-watering costs”.

Tokyo, Japan

Japan’s capital, Tokyo, is a metropolitan city merging traditional with modern, with historical temples and gravity-defying skyscrapers.

Winning points: You will certainly never be bored in Tokyo. It boasts a thriving economy, the world’s busiest train station and a breath of fresh air and nature, including Mount Fiji, right on your doorstep.

Tokyo makes its way up the list this year for good reasons. Source: Redd Angelo/Unsplash.

With fantastic shopping streets and malls, a vibrant nightlife illuminated in neon lights, and a wide-range of delicious cuisines, you’ll never be short of things to do.

Tokyo has ten universities in the QS World University Rankings, and with some fantastic specialised institutions, especially in technology, Japan really has carved out a name for itself in the higher education world.

With a range of scholarships available as well, it’s no wonder why international students just keep coming.

Downside: Summers can be very muggy and housing tends to be expensive, although not as high as London. The majority of programmes are taught in Japanese although many universities offer pre-uni language courses so the language aspect is definitely something to consider if you don’t already speak Japanese.

Melbourne, Australia

In the beating heart of central Melbourne lies the Yarra River where you can find hundreds of bustling plazas, bars, and restaurants. The city is bursting with museums and art centres as well as other tantalising cultural experiences.

Winning points: Melbourne has long been crowned as a wonderful city to live in. It is a safe yet thriving city offering countless things to do and a number of world-class institutions.

The beauty of Melbourne by night. Source: Asif Aman/Unsplash.

Many universities in Melbourne have close ties to companies in the majority of industries to help their students stay connected with potential employers in Melbourne and worldwide.

Downside: The current housing shortage in Australia could prove to be a slight drawback for international students to come. Despite this, however, students have remained undeterred, and Australia’s international student market continues to thrive.

Montreal, Canada

Montreal is situated on a small island in the Saint Lawrence River while holding the status of the largest city in Canada’s Québec province.

Winning points: There is a huge international student population in Montreal, with 27 percent of the study body at Montreal’s ranked universities coming from overseas.

Montreal also fares well in terms of employer activity, proving both local and international employers regard Montreal’s institutions as fantastic places to graduate from.

Fireworks over Montreal. Source: Steve Courmanopoulos/Unsplash.

The city also has affordability on its side with very low tuition rates – at around CA$2,300 (US$1,800) per academic year and relatively low housing costs.

Downside: It is the largest French-speaking city in the world outside of Paris so if you’re not too confident in your language skills, you might want to brush up.

Paris, France

France’s capital Paris is internationally recognised as an art, fashion and culture hub. Think 19th-century architecture, the stunning River Seine for late-night evening strolls and quaint French cafes down beautiful boulevards.

Winning points: Paris boasts numerous prestigious higher education institutions offering a wide range of high-quality programs in all manner of fields including the liberal arts, technology, and the sciences, including medicine.

Lose yourself in the streets of Paris. Source: Earth/Unsplash.

The city is full of leading professionals in art, fashion, politics, science, and all manner of research, producing many world-renowned experts year upon year.

Students benefit from great links to employers, a wonderful social scene and an inspiring backdrop to conduct it all in.

Downside: Once again, you will need to be pretty confident in your language skills even if your course is in English. It can be seen as rude to just assume everyone will speak English to you and you may be brushed off as a tourist – if you want to live in the city, you should at least try and learn the language.

One problem you may encounter if you don’t speak French is dealing with the bureaucracy. Navigating the tricky world of visas and student housing can be made especially difficult if your French isn’t up to scratch.

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