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London tops Google searches by US students

London is the world’s most searched-for city on the internet among US students looking to study abroad, new research by Google reveals. Announced by London Mayor Boris Johnson at a London higher education showcase in New York, the data shows the capital’s institutions also dominate individual university search rankings by Americans.

Photo: Roger Harris photography

"London has heritage and culture oozing from every pore and is the gateway from which to explore the rest of the UK and Europe”

Paris and Barcelona were the second- and third-most searched-for cities, followed by Berlin, Singapore, Amsterdam, Rome, Dublin, Hong Kong and Oxford.

“Google have used their search data to prove what we’ve known for years – that US students love to come to London”

“Google have used their search data to prove what we’ve known for years – that US students love to come to London,” commented Johnson.

He made the announcement at the ‘London: Connecting you with the World’ event organised by the London Universities International Partnership and London & Partners, as part of a trade mission to the US.

“It is no wonder we are the number-one destination for US students studying abroad because London offers world class universities, has heritage and culture oozing from every pore and is the gateway from which to explore the rest of the United Kingdom and Europe,” he added.

London is the most popular study abroad destination outside North America for US students and is host to some 30,000, including 6,440 on undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

On top of this London opens its doors to an estimated 22,000 US students who arrive for a 5- or 16-week period study abroad programme and many more plan shorter two-week study tours.

Google data shows that London also dominated search by universities among US students, making up half the universities in the top 30 searched for institutions and taking five of the top 10 spots.

The locations of the 30 most search-for cities

A map of the most searched-for cities among US students looking to study abroad

However, it was University of Oxford and University of Cambridge that took first and second place, showing that universities in the ‘golden triangle’ of London, Oxford and Cambridge remain highly sought-after.

King’s College London, University College London and the London School of Economics and Political Science followed.

Trinity College Dublin and Australian National University were the only two non-UK universities to appear in the top 10, in eighth and tenth place respectively.

Five Australian universities appeared among the top 30 most searched-for institutions, along with two in Korea and one in China.

“No matter how we looked at it, by university brand or just generic keywords, there is no doubt that London and the United Kingdom are the biggest magnets for US students seeking to study abroad,” commented Harry Walker, Google Education Industry Head.

Business and/or finance was the most searched-for London-based course, followed by fashion, medicine and art.

At the University of Westminster, Professor Geoffrey Petts, Vice Chancellor of the University of Westminster, said, “Students from all over the globe are attracted to our location – London is our Campus.”

International students account for just over 25% of the total London student population and contribute over £2.5 billion to the economy per year.

The top 20 most searched-for study destinations by US students were:

1. London, UK
2. Oxford, UK
3. Cambridge, UK
4. Edinburgh, UK
5. Melbourne, Australia
6. Seoul, Republic of Korea
7. Sydney, Australia
8. Dublin, Republic of Ireland
9. Hong Kong
10. Canberra, Australia
11. Glasgow, UK
12. Singapore
13. Durham, UK
14. Brisbane, Australia
15. Leeds, UK
16. Amsterdam, Netherlands
17. Berlin, Germany
18. Warwick, UK
19. Nottingham, UK
20. Shanghai, China

The top 20 most searched-for universities were:

1. University of Oxford, UK
2. University of Cambridge, UK
3. King’s College London, UK
4. University College London, UK
5. London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
6. University of Edinburgh, UK
7. Imperial College London, UK
8. Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
9. University of the Arts London, UK
10. Australian National University, Australia
11. University of Glasgow, UK
12. University of Sydney, Australia
13. University of Melbourne, Australia
14. Durham University, UK
15. University of Leeds, UK
16. Monash University, Australia
17. University of Westminster, London, UK
18. University of Warwick, UK
19. Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
20. University of Exeter, UK

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