The city owes the accolade to its high-quality institutions, high levels of employer activity and student diversity, and its popularity among the global student body – all these positive features outweigh its lower rank in the ‘Affordability’ criterion.
“It’s no surprise given that London is home to world-leading higher education institutions and a vibrant cultural life”
“The fact that London has again been ranked the best city in the world in which to be a student is fantastic news – and is no surprise given that London is home to world-leading higher education institutions and a vibrant cultural life,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement.
“This is further evidence that London is open to students and talent from around the world.”
Half of the top-10 cities are European – London, Munich, Paris, Zurich and Berlin. Australia has Melbourne and Sydney, while Asia brought Tokyo and Seoul.
The only North American city in the top 10 is Canada’s Montreal, in 6th place. The US’s top student city is Boston, in 12th place, while the first Latin American city, Buenos Aires, is found in the early thirties.
The rankings take into account the number and performance of the universities, the extent to which employers are actively hiring, the city’s affordability, the city’s desirability and quality of life, and the diversity of a city’s student body.
Data from 87,000 current and prospective international students inform the ‘Student View’ and ‘Desirability’ indicators.
“Our research shows that students value a city that can offer a holistic experience: quality of life, inclusivity and the opportunity to forge meaningful interpersonal connections, employment opportunities, and strong academic standards,” QS spokesperson Jack Moran told The PIE.
But if there is one thing students prioritise above all others, Moran added, it’s university quality.
Citing Munich as an example, he explained that the city has obtained the top score for student view – with 57% of student respondents from Munich cite the quality of the city’s universities as the best thing about studying there, far more than any other criteria.
“We might draw the tentative but theoretically well-founded conclusion that a city can be as clean, affordable, and culturally-rich as it wants – but if it doesn’t have world-class universities it’ll end up attracting tourists, not students,” he said.
Commenting on the most visible risers, Moran cited Los Angeles, one of the cities that have improved the most on Student View. The reason, he explained, was its high scores on tolerance and inclusion, as well as on employment opportunities and universities qualities.
“We can’t help but notice that US cities don’t score especially highly for tolerance and inclusion, according to students that have studied there: one has to scroll all the way down to 34th position before one finds the most tolerant and inclusive US city, which is LA,” he added.