Today’s international student population continues to grow, and the United Kingdom emerges as one of the leading host countries for the world’s learners. The numbers have spiked close to 500,000 foreign students undertaking studies in the UK. 

The UK Council for Student Affairs announced that China continues to top the list of international students, sending more students to the UK than any other country. Along with China, the top five countries are India, Hong Kong, Italy and the United States of America.  

We pulled up statistics to showcase the top countries that send international students to the UK. The figures included those studying in all capacities, whether for undergraduate and postgraduate studies, full time or part time. 

The Guardian reported that Chinese applications to study in the UK climbed 20% in 2018. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service reported almost 20,000 undergraduate applications from Chinese students in 2019, which, for the first time, exceeded the applications from Northern Ireland.

The number of Chinese international students has grown to over 120,000, which accounts for one in every three foreign students in the UK. 

Below are the top 10 sources of international students:


  1. China (120,385)

  2. India (26,685)

  3. US (20,120)

  4. Hong Kong (16,135)

  5. Malaysia (13,835)

  6. Italy (13,965)

  7. France (13,675)

  8. Germany (13,675)

  9. Nigeria (10,645)

  10. Greece (9,920)

In the UK, international students get plenty of support and get to experience an exceptional student lifestyle. They also get to choose from over 50,000 courses in different subject areas. Courses are generally shorter than in other countries, which translates to reduced tuition and accommodation costs.

Foreign students in the UK also benefit professionally and academically. They are likely to find a job and get promoted easily because a UK education degree is recognized by employers worldwide. International students in the UK get the opportunity to develop their knowledge, skills, and critical thinking that will enable them to drive their careers forward. 

With the increasing number of international students heading to different countries in order to pursue higher studies, studying abroad holds much promise in the education landscape and the level of mobility of people worldwide.