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Top 5 International Study Destinations

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Key Takeaways:

  • English-speaking countries, with the exception of Germany, remain the top international study destinations in the world.
  • University rankings help prospective international students make informed decisions about where to study.
  • Factors such as cultural diversity, environment, costs, the education system, and work opportunities can also influence a student’s choice of study destination.
  • The top international study destinations have universities ranking high in the 2022 QS World University Rankings.

Studying abroad opens a lot of opportunities for those who choose to pursue it. Some of the benefits include increased employability, personal development, and network building. However, before one can even start applying to a university, students must first choose where they should study.


For many international students, choosing the best place seems like a difficult task with the number of countries offering study programs. It’s a good thing that various ranking bodies have already made the task a bit simpler.


For example, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) specializes in providing analytics and insights into the global higher education sector. Every year, it publishes comparative data about the performance of different higher education institutions (HEIs) around the world.


For the 2022 QS World University Rankings, universities in the following countries ranked the highest: the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Singapore, Mainland China, Canada, Australia, and Japan.


Aside from HEI performance, prospective international students also look into a country’s education system, environment, study and living costs, work opportunities, and cultural diversity before they make their choice. This is why Canada, Australia, Germany, the United States, and the UK remain to be the most popular study destinations for international students. These countries have also been topping many lists when it comes to student recruitment.


brown and gray road street signs at daytime photo


Canada, with one of the best education systems in the world, high quality of life, and a relatively low cost of living is one of the most popular destinations for international students. In fact, it has even surpassed the United States and the UK in various world rankings.


Canada’s higher educational institutions (HEI) are some of the highest-ranked in the world. In the 2022 QS University Rankings, 28 Canadian HEIs are included and three of these are in the top 50. Aside from that, Canada is also one of the most peaceful countries in the world, per the Global Peace Index where Canada ranked 6th out of 163 countries.


Rankings aside, Canada is known for its beautiful scenery, diverse student population, and friendly people.


On the global stage, Australia is most famous for the celebrities it produces, beautiful landscapes and beaches, and unique wildlife. Aside from those, Australia has for a long time been one of the best study destinations for international students.


Its reputation as a favorite study destination is due to the country’s top-notch universities (seven ranked in the top 100 of the 2022 QS University Rankings), quality education, and of course, unique experiences it offers to global students.


Germany is the only non-English-speaking country on this list. However, this doesn’t stop this European country from being one of the best international study destinations. Aside from having a rich culture and history, plus a progressive society, Germany’s quality of life is also one of the best in Europe.


Among those in the list, Germany has the most accessible education, with most of its universities offering free tuition fees to students no matter where they come from. Thus, expect a diverse student population when you decide to study in Germany.

United States

The United States has always been a favorite of many international students, especially those who want to study the English language. Aside from that, the country also offers a lot of opportunities for students who choose to study there, including the chance to migrate or work.


Many HEIs in the United States are mainstays in global university rankings. The 2022 QS World University Rankings features 177 of these institutions, with 28 belonging in the top 100. Getting the top spot with a perfect overall score is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has always been a popular destination for those who want to study abroad. Its HEIs have a long tradition of academic excellence, with some dating back hundreds of years (e.g. University of Oxford and University of Cambridge), and are well-respected around the world.


Every year, the UK recruits hundreds of thousands of international students from the European Union and non-EU areas. Aside from its capital city, London, other cities in the country are also popular destinations for students, such as Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast, and Birmingham. The 2022 QS World University Rankings features 90 institutions in the UK and 17 of these are in the top 100.

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