10 best countries in the world that are perfect to study and start a new life at

best countries in the world
Studying in one of the best countries in the world is a life-changing opportunity. Source: AFP

With 193 different countries to choose from, how do you find the best countries in the world to study, graduate and start a whole new life at?

A good place to start is to see the most popular choices made by the 6.4 million students who took the leap to leave their country to study abroad in 2022.

Fortunately, whether you’re looking for big cities or small towns, hot weather or cooler climates, there really is somewhere for everyone. 

But with tuition fees reaching up to US$73,460 per year, is it worth it to study in the best countries in the world for international students?

Benefits of studying in the best countries in the world

Don’t just take our word for it. Hear it from Maya Terro, who pursue three master’s degrees over the course of five years in Lebanon, Italy and the UK.

“Studying abroad changed my life for the best and was easily one of the best decisions I’ve made,” she says.

Similar to Terro, Sam Henthorn found his time in Rome during his junior year and in Greece during an immersion class trip to be life-changing.

“Studying abroad changed my life. I became more confident in myself, more aware of the world outside the US, and many of my career and personal goals were shaped by my time in Italy and Greece,” he says. 

During the financial crisis, a Chilean left his finance job, sold his car and took loans to study an MSc in finance at Manchester.

When he returned home, he got a more senior role in the central that paid 50% more than he had before, and has been able to pay off his loan. He said his level of English and his Manchester degree “differentiated” him.

These are just two voices out of millions who have seen and experienced the benefits of studying abroad:

  • Around 95% of international graduates (who are not from EU countries) would recommend others to study in the UK and/or at their university
  • Over 80% of international students said their UK degree helped them, fully or partially, get a new job or return to their old job
  • A study at a US university found 65% of its international students said they have found a community of friends
  • More than 95% of international students said their experience made them more mature and confident, compared as well as had a lasting impact on their worldview (IES Abroad 50-Year Alumni Survey).
  • They also got a job within six months of graduating compared to only 49% of non-study abroad students (IES Abroad)

If you want to enjoy these same benefits, here are the best countries in the world to do so and the best universities to consider:

10 best countries in the world for international students

best countries in the world

The US is the top study abroad destination for international students. Source: AFP

1. US

For decades the US has been the most popular study-abroad destination for international students all around the world. 

With over 5,000 universities and colleges, the US is home to prestigious institutions that consistently dominate global university rankings.

The country has so much to offer, including various academic programmes. Wherever your interest lies, you’ll find a subject that suits your needs, from engineering and computer science to business management and music.

Aside from academics, there is so much to be explored. Whether you are a foodie or someone who loves adventure, the US offers it all. Visit the museums in New York, or sink your teeth into the delicious food from New Orleans or strap on your boots and hike up the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

It is no surprise why it is called the “Land of Opportunity.”

Ready to achieve your “American Dream”? Here are the best universities to do so:

  • Harvard University 
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University 
best countries in the world

The UK has a long history of providing world-class education with universities ranking high globally. Source: AFP

2. UK 

The UK remains a top choice for international students due to its renowned education system, rich cultural diversity (six million people living in the UK were of non-British nationality in 2021) and global academic reputation (with four universities ranked in the global top 20 according to QS World University Rankings 2023).

With many prestigious universities and institutions, the UK offers high-quality courses and degrees across various disciplines. These include accounting, finance, psychology, sports science nursing, animation and many more. 

The UK has a rich history of higher education, and many of the world’s oldest and most admired universities are located here. The University of Oxford, for example, is over 900 years old.

Meanwhile, the University of Manchester was home to mathematician, computer scientist and codebreaker Alan Turing. During his time at the university, he designed the Manchester Mark 1, one of the first stored-programme computers, which laid the foundation for modern computer architecture.   

Aside from world-class universities, there’s so much more to experience beyond high-quality education. Imagine sipping on tea in the middle of London after walking through the ruins of Stonehenge or perhaps grabbing pints at the pub following an afternoon exploring museums. 

Kickstart your study abroad journey at the best universities in the UK for international students:

  • University of Oxford 
  • University of Cambridge 
  • University College London
best countries in the world

Canada is one of the most welcoming countries for international students to study in. Source: AFP

3. Canada 

O Canada, the land known for its natural wonders, diverse cultures and maple syrup. More than that, Canada has a reputation as one of the best countries in the world for international students. 

Every year students travel from far and wide to study in Canada. The country boasts an impressive higher-education system, and many of Canada’s universities feature in global rankings, including the University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of British Columbia.

As a bilingual country, French and English are widely spoken — making Canada one of the best countries to study abroad to learn a new language. 

The Canadian government’s policies, such as the Post-Graduation Work Permit Programme (PGWPP), make it easier for students to transition to the workforce and potentially immigrate.

Here are the best universities in Canada to choose from:

  • University of Toronto
  • University of British Columbia
  • McGill University
best countries in the world

China is a popular study-abroad destination for international students, welcoming thousands of international students every year. Source: AFP

4. China

China has become a top choice for international students due to its universities rapidly rising through global rankings, its unrivalled economy and its rich cultural heritage with 56 languages and ethnic groups

China’s economy is booming and will overtake the US in the coming years. Studying here will provide valuable insights into what’s set to become the world’s biggest economy. 

Mandarin is the world’s most widely spoken language and is becoming essential in international business and politics. Immersing yourself in Chinese culture is also the best way to build your fluency in Mandarin. 

Choose from these top universities in China as you embark on your study abroad journey: 

  • Tsinghua University
  • Peking University
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University
best countries in the world

Australia boasts a world class education system, offering high quality education for fair tuition fees. Source: AFP

5. Australia 

Renowned for its high-quality education, Australian universities consistently rank among the best countries in the world, offering a wide range of cutting-edge courses and research opportunities across various disciplines. 

Researchers at the Australian National University have made many discoveries, including the fastest-growing black hole, the discovery of a “lost world” of ancient organisms and the world’s oldest colours. 

Australia’s stunning natural landscapes, vibrant cities, and relaxed lifestyle provide numerous opportunities for exploration and adventure. 

Australia has the highest percentage of international students relative to its student body. Besides the golden beaches and guaranteed sunshine, students are drawn to the country’s excellent universities and colleges.

In Australia, studying almost any subject you can think of is possible. Whether you want to be a clown in a circus, brew beer or study the Aboriginal culture, Australia is the place to be. 

Tuition fees are lower than in most English-speaking countries — at around 20,000 to 45,000 Australian dollars in tuition fees per year — so studying here won’t break the bank either. The University of Southern Queensland has an annual tuition fee of around A$25,038

Here are the best universities in Australia for international students:

  • University of Melbourne
  • University of Sydney 
  • University of Queensland
best countries in the world

Fall in love under the Eiffel Tower when you study in a country known for its romance. Source: AFP

6. France

When you think of France, the first thing that comes to mind is love. While the country is famous for its romance, did you know that it also consistently tops the list as one of the best countries in the world for international students? 

While the vibrant nightlife, delicious food and long walks along the Seine surely make France a top choice for students, the country also has much to offer academically. 

The affordable tuition fees, scholarships, and numerous opportunities for international students increase the country’s appeal. The Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, for example, covers tuition and living expenses.

France boasts some of the world’s finest universities and institutions, offering various programmes and disciplines. The country’s commitment to research and innovation further enhances the academic experience. 

Kickstart your educational journey in this beautiful country at one of the best universities France has to offer: 

  • Sorbonne Universite
  • Universite de Paris
  • Universite Paris Saclay

 7. Russia

Russian universities are quickly scaling the heights of global rankings thanks to their world-leading programmes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 

Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU), ranked at the 75th position in the QS World University Rankings 2023, offers the following programmes: business management, life sciences and medicine, anthropology and many more.

Studying in Russia also allows you to be immersed in an academic environment. Russia has the world’s most highly-educated population, with over half of Russian nationals holding a university degree.

Another major advantage of studying in Russia is the scholarship opportunities available. Each year, the Russian government grants thousands of scholarships to international students. This scheme has seen the country’s popularity grow immensely.

The relatively low tuition fees and cost of living make Russia an attractive destination for budget-conscious students seeking a quality education. 

These are the best university in Russia for international students:

  • Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • Moscow Institute of Physics & Technology
  • National Research Nuclear University MEPhI 
best countries in the world

Indulge in Germany’s famous bratwurst sausages when you study in one of the best countries in the world. Source: AFP

8. Germany 

While Germany has delicious sausages, that isn’t the reason why the country is a top choice for international students every year.

Germany is an unrivalled destination for students seeking top-tier education in a diverse and dynamic environment. Renowned for its academic excellence, Germany offers a wide array of world-class universities and research institutions with tuition-free or affordable education. 

Here, universities regularly receive awards in teaching and research, so you’re sure to have an enriching educational experience. Its emphasis on innovation and cutting-edge research fosters learning and provides opportunities for hands-on experience and professional growth. After all, this is the country that produces BMWs, Adidas and gummy bears.

Germany’s commitment to quality education, diverse culture, and career prospects make it an excellent choice for international students.

If you are looking to study in Germany, consider these universities: 

  • Technical University of Munich
  • LMU Munich
  • Heidelberg University
best countries in the world

Japan is not only one of the best countries in the world to study abroad but also one of the most beautiful. Source: AFP

9. Japan

Japan is home to universities that consistently rank among the top globally, ensuring a high-quality education. 

The Japanese society’s emphasis on discipline, respect, and hospitality fosters a safe and supportive atmosphere for international students. 

Japan has some of the world’s highest educational standards, and its universities are renowned for their excellent programmes.

An increased number of English-taught programmes and the country’s low tuition fees and living costs have seen Japan’s international popularity soar.

Aside from academics, Japan’s distinctive culture, exquisite cuisine, and awe-inspiring natural beauty make it an extraordinary place for personal growth and cultural enrichment. 

Interested? Check out the best universities in Japan for international students:

  • University of Tokyo
  • Kyoto University 
  • Osaka University 
best countries in the world

Spain is one of the best study destinations among European countries to pursue a degree for international students. Source: AFP

10. Spain

Spain is known for its food, music, siestas, bullfights, arts and architecture. But did you know that this beautiful country is one of the best countries in the world for international students?

Spain is an ideal country for international students to further their education. The country offers academic excellence, cultural immersion, and a vibrant lifestyle. Spain’s universities provide a diverse range of high-quality programmes that attract students worldwide. 

Beyond academics, Spain’s lively cities and breathtaking landscapes offer a unique and enriching experience. From Barcelona’s bustling streets to Granada’s historic charm, students can immerse themselves in the rich culture. 

Spain is full of fantastic universities and colleges, including: 

  • University of Barcelona
  • Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • Pompeu Fabra University