international study
London's vibrant city life makes it an attractive destination for international students. Source: Tolga Akmen/AFP

Planning international study next year? You are not alone — 2022 is anticipated as the year economies recover, hence the year higher education bounces back too. With students setting their sights across the world, QS has released its ranking of the best student cities just in time for your international study planning.

As with years past, London is ranked as the best student city, followed by Munich, Seoul, Tokyo, and Berlin. This suggests that the UK, Germany, South Korea, and Japan will emerge top study destinations in the year ahead.

Two Australian cities have also made the list, namely Melbourne and Sydney. However, the decline in employer activity — a result of the country being closed off for over a year — has driven five of seven Australian student cities down in the ranking.

Over in Europe, Swiss city Lausanne debuts at #19 on the list. Unfortunately in the US, QS found that top student cities are “suffering from a systemic decline” in desirability. This is somewhat bolstered by Boston’s entrance into the top 10, home to the likes of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Here’s a closer look at the top 10 cities for international study in 2022, as ranked by QS.

international study

London remains best city for international study

London is among the UK’s most expensive cities, known for its high cost of living. At the same time, it boasts some of the world’s leading institutions including University College London, Imperial College London, and King’s College London.

Combined with the work and residency options for international graduates, it’s no surprise that this capital city is a perennial favourite for international study. In recent years, it has seen increased interest from two major source countries: India and China.

“Responses to our surveys from students that have actually studied in London make it clear that the city still offers outstanding cultural, economic, and educational opportunities,” commented QS Director of Research Ben Sowter. “With two of the world’s 10 best universities situated in the city, it remains a world-leading educational hub. However, exponentially-increasing COVID cases and lingering Brexit effects may serve to undermine London’s privileged position.”

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) reports that the number of international students in London grew 58% in the 2018-19 academic year, compared to 2017-18. Most of these students (25,650) came from China, as is the case with international students in the UK as a whole. “With its world-leading universities, thriving business ecosystem and unrivalled cultural landscape, studying in London offers the opportunity to be part of a city at the forefront of creativity and innovation,” said Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London.

QS ranks student cities with at least two prominent universities in the QS World University Rankings, with a population of at least 250,000. More than 95,000 students and graduates are taken into account in deciding the top destinations for international study.