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London rises, Montreal wins in latest student city index

Montreal has been voted Best Student City in the latest QS ranking, with Paris relegated to second and London third this year, up two places. For the first time, 18,000 students and recent grads were also polled to influence ranking outcomes.
February 17 2017
2 Min Read

The bilingual French-English city of Montreal in Canada is officially the best student city in the world, according to the latest QS Best Student Cities ranking, with Paris dropping to the number-two position and London rising up the ranks to be considered the third best.

This year, the cities were ranked based on a survey of 18,000 recent graduates and students as well as the usual five metrics of: university rankings, student mix, desirability, employer activity and affordability.

Seoul in South Korea and Melbourne in Australia made a diverse top five, with another four countries in the top 10: Germany, Japan, the US and Hong Kong.

Only Canada and Germany had two cities in the top 10, with Montreal and Vancouver placing first and 10th, and Berlin and Munich placing sixth and ninth.

At McGill University, which is the highest ranked of Montreal’s two universities, staff welcomed the news but said the city’s creative spirit was unquestionable. “While I find this amazing news, I can’t really say I am surprised,” said Ollivier Dyens, McGill deputy provost student life and learning.

“We know from years of research that the most creative cities are also the most tolerant”

“Montreal is a city where ‘Il fait bon vivre’,” he said. “Montrealers, like McGillians, are tolerant, gentle and creative and they welcome students and immigrants from all over the world with open arms. And we know from years of research that the most creative cities are also the most tolerant.”

Another interesting finding this year was that all of the UK’s cities rose up the rankings, suggesting that the Brexit decision hasn’t hindered the UK’s appeal to international students.

In fact, according to QS, the UK’s ascendency was in part due to its improved affordability, thanks to the weakened value of the pound sterling.

With London in third position, Edinburgh was in 18th position, Manchester in 23rd and Glasgow in 34th within the top 50.

“It’s great to see the continued appeal of London and the UK in general after a year of political surprises and change,” commented Gary Davies, director of recruitment and international development at Roehampton University.

“This result reflects the great experience that London and its universities have to offer students and we are all working hard to ensure that experience is even better in the future than it is now.”

Seoul in South Korea also fared very well this year, moving up six positions to fourth. Seoul has 18 universities that feature in QS’s World University Rankings, including Seoul National University, ranked at 35.

Top ten Best Student Cities, 2017

  • Montreal
  • Paris
  • London
  • Seoul
  • Melbourne
  • Berlin
  • Tokyo
  • Boston
  • Munich
  • Vancouver
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