global universities
Jacobs University is one institution with the largest number of international students in the world. Source: Jacobs University Bremen/Facebook

An international education is becoming more popular by the day. In 2020, Australia had the most international students compared to all other countries, with 31.3% coming from abroad. This is closely followed by Canada, at 23.7%, then the UK. 

Almost every university in the US, UK, Canada and Australia has a percentage of international students in their communities. Many factors affect this number, from the cost of tuition to the university’s rank, but one aspect is clear: the world of higher education is expanding to be inclusive to all. 

Some unis do this better than most. Times Higher Education collected data from 200 universities across the world to measure their international student population. Global universities from the UAE, UK, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and Australia were featured in the top 20, while London was found to be one of the most represented cities with international students on the list.

4 global universities with the highest percentage of international students in 2022

Macau is home to the Macau University of Science and Technology, with 88.3% of students coming from abroad. Source: Eduardo Leal/AFP

Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau

Ranking first on the list is Macau University of Science and Technology with 88.3% of students coming from abroad. It is a relatively young university — founded in 2000 — but has quickly established itself as the top choice for international students. 

Much of this has to do with its established partnerships with more than 200 institutions in Europe, the US, Australia, Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Student exchange is greatly encouraged by the university. It provides long-term, mid-term and short-term funding for a few deserving students to pursue their education overseas. 

There are 10 faculties within the university, including the social sciences, law, business, medicine, the sciences, tourism, art, and languages. To accommodate its international student population, programmes are taught in English, Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish. 

Near East University, Northern Cyprus

Next on this global universities list is Near East University, where international students make up 86% of its entire campus. As the largest university in Northern Cyprus, it is one of the most highly regarded institutions in the Middle East and hosts around 20,000 students from more than 100 nationalities.

Near East University has a modern campus with 17 faculties, 90 departments, four graduate schools and four vocational schools. It is particularly renowned for its expertise in dentistry and medicine, being the only university in the Middle East with parallel teaching and research hospitals accredited for clinical excellence. 

A large international student population means many opportunities to meet and make friends with students from all over the world. Source: Jacobs University Bremen /Facebook

Jacobs University, Germany

International students make up 78% of the population at Jacobs University. Located in Bremen, a major cultural and economic hub in Northern Germany, it hosts students from more than 110 countries. This includes India, Nepal, the US, Albania, Pakistan, Morocco and China. 

Jacobs University is primarily English-speaking, making it easy for international students to assimilate. It has more than 120 partnerships with institutions around the world spanning across pre-degree, undergraduate and graduate programmes. 

Eastern Mediterranean University, Northern Cyprus

Located in Northern Cyprus, Eastern Mediterranean University hosts 77.7% of international students across its entire body. Its main attraction? Offering scholarships worth up to 50% of tuition fees for international students to pursue their education. 

On top of this, Eastern Mediterranean University organises student exchange programmes in 13 countries across the world, from the US and Canada to South Korea and China. The university teaches programmes in Turkish, but many are similarly conducted in English, as well.