Where are the safest universities in Europe?
Europe is the safest continent in the world according to the Global Peace Index. Source: Jonathan Daniels/Unsplash

Every year, thousands of students take the blind leap of faith to study abroad, flocking to the world’s best universities in pursuit of a brighter future.

Europe has long been the epicentre of students’ overseas educational voyages, playing host to some of the world’s best institutions.

Academic excellence and graduate opportunities are considered the crown jewels of studying in Europe, but how does the continent fare in terms of safety?

The Global Peace Index (GPI) 2018 ranks how safe a country is based on the level of societal safety and security, the extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict, and the degree of militarisation within its borders, with a score of one being the lowest.

While these considerations may not immediately spring to mind when students are weighing up their study abroad destination, finding a country that combines academic excellence with a safe environment is paramount to getting the most from the experience.

Choosing a country with an education system that matches the academic level and security needs of the student is essential to ensuring university success, personally and academically.

Below, Study International has mapped out the leading institutions across Europe according to the QS World University Ranking 2019, compiled with its GPI score to provide insight into where students can get the best of both worlds – the lighter the region the more peaceful the country.

Out of the eight countries with institutions ranked within the highest 100 QS World University Rankings 2019, most hover around 1.5 on the GPI index, while France and the UK push towards a score of 2.

While these countries may be renowned for their institutions including the University of Oxford (5th in the QS rankings) and Université PSL (ranked 50th), they pose a higher risk than other European universities to those studying abroad.

Belarus and Greece score 2.112 and 2.02 respectively, making them the most unsafe European universities featured in the QS World University Rankings 2019.

Austria, Portugal and Denmark come in top for the safest places to study in Europe with universities featured in the QS rankings.


However, none of these countries feature in Study.Edu‘s top 10 European country ranking which measures attractiveness for international students.

This suggests that international students are prioritising university rankings and student life over safety as Germany, the UK and the Netherlands weigh in as the most attractive destinations.

Although Iceland is ranked the most peaceful country in the world, according to the index, institutions in this country do not feature in the QS university league table.

The GPI also indicates that Europe is the safest continent for international study, claiming 20
of the top 30 rankings in the GPI, with 25 of the 36 European nations featuring in the top 50.

The Middle East and Northern Africa are the least peaceful countries making them risky study destinations, while education powerhouses, Australia and the US, rank 13th and 121st respectively.

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