The online poll, carried out this summer, received 863 respondents from over 80 countries who were asked to list which countries they considered least and most safe, and why.
Second safest country after the UK was Canada, followed by the US, Germany and New Zealand. Students chose Germany, New Zealand and Canada for their low crime rates, while students saw the US as safe because it had a shared language and was multicultural.
Explaining the motivation behind the study, Elizabeth Shepherd, research director for the Council’s Education Intelligence, said: “The treatment of safety as a priority by universities and surrounding communities is imperative for the reputation of a study destination.”
The US appears in both the top five safest and least safest places to live
Due to a perceived availability of guns, the US also appears in the top five least safest places to live along with Israel, Brazil, India and South Africa.
South Africa was considered the least safe country because it is seen to have a high volume of street crime, as were Brazil and India. Students ranked Israel unsafe due to the threat of terrorist attacks.
The Student Insight survey, which has had 160,000 respondents since inception, shows personal safety has grown as a concern to students in recent years, surpassing cost of tuition, opportunities for employment while studying and opportunities to learn a new language.
“Personal safety for any young individual and his or her family is of overriding importance, and this issue is heightened by the transient and often inexperienced nature of these young individuals entering new communities,” said Shepherd.
“Student safety requires institutions and national organizations to be proactive rather than reactive to personal safety issues.”
International student safety has topped the agenda in the international education sector this Autumn. Last week the Australian Human Rights Commission released a set of guiding principles to raise awareness of international student rights, and the European Association of International Education released a similar charter last month.