Cities welcome international students

Big Ben, and the London Eye.

For the fifth year in a row London — home to our university partners, Royal Holloway, University of London and Kingston University — has been named as the world’s most student-friendly city in rankings compiled by QS.  

New York, Dublin, Glasgow and Chicago — where we support international students into their global higher education with our partners, Long Island University, University College Dublin, University of Strathclyde and DePaul University — score highly alongside the UK capital. Cities are assessed for the rankings on their desirability, diversity of students living in the city, and graduate employer perception. 

Early integration of international students with their new communities sets the scene for student wellbeing and an ability to thrive throughout the student journey. It builds a sense of confidence and belonging, that will support the development of skills and knowledge for students in unfamiliar locations to really make the most of their education.  

This is true of all study locations but those that focus on creating a welcoming environment stand to benefit in return. In addition to contributing to cultural diversity and richness of perspective, international students create economic opportunity. In London, for example, international students enjoying the world’s most student-friendly city deliver a net impact that averages £131 million to each of London’s parliamentary constituencies, equating to more than £1,000 of value per resident.  

Study Group students Yuki from Japan and Veo from China chose to pursue their global higher education in London, where over 200 languages are spoken and nearly a third of the population was born abroad.  

Speaking of his time at Royal Holloway, University of London International Study Centre, Yuki says, “It's a nice community and it's also a global community so you learn something new almost every day, which is a very academically stimulating experience for everyone.” While Veo adds, “For us students, London is really good; many museums and there are many things you can learn from daily life.” 

Welcoming, vibrant and unique cities around the world 

New York, 17th  

The city where our partner Long Island University is located scores highly in the “student voice” metric, which assesses what students say and feel about the city’s friendliness, sustainability, and diversity. Long Island University’s motto “Urbi et Orbi” means “To the City and to the World” highlighting the connection between the university, New York and internationally.   

Dublin, 32nd 

A city by the sea and surrounded by green, Irish countryside where we manage the Dublin International Study Centre to prepare students for success at University College Dublin (UCD), 41st in the in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings for its work on the UN’s SDG 9 – industry, innovation and infrastructure. 

Glasgow and Aberdeen 

Placing 36th and 76th respectively, these ranks highlight Scotland’s strong appeal as a study destination. Glasgow, Scotland’s second largest city and famous hub of culture and creativity, is the innovative University of Strathclyde’s home city, while Aberdeen, hosts the University of Aberdeen, a world top 200 university with an award-winning campus. 

Chicago, 40th 

DePaul University’s city Chicago, which a high placement for “employer activity” showing the positive perception businesses have of the city. 450 organisations actively recruit DePaul students on campus each year, demonstrating the University’s commitment to student outcomes. 

UK cities 

Cities in the north of England have also been highly ranked. Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, and Durham – all locations where we have partner universities – placed among the world’s top 100 most welcoming cities. They may be geographically close by, but the northern universities we partner with offer a wide range of study experiences for international students, with Durham University, University of Leeds, and University of Sheffield all members of the prestigious Russell Group and Leeds Becket and Liverpool John Moores University modern universities of academic excellence. 

Last but not least, our partner the University of Sussex is just 10 minutes outside the city of Brighton, which has been ranked 78th in the world. Famous for its beach, thriving arts scene and café culture, Brighton hosts over 30,000 students making it a lively and stimulating place to study abroad. 

Students enjoy Dublin’s historic architecture and world-class music scene.

Of the rankings, Mark Cunnington, Study Group’s Managing Director of University Partnerships, UK & Ireland says: “These rankings show that that whether students decide to study abroad in the United Kingdom, Ireland, or the United States of America, they will be able to find an international student friendly city where they can thrive. Just as our university partners are, cities are all unique, and international students can feel excited about the opportunities their new home has to offer.”

Full partner city placements

CityStudy Group university partnerPlacement
London, UKRoyal Holloway, University of London; Kingston University, London1st
New York, USALong Island University17th
Dublin, IrelandUniversity College Dublin32nd
Glasgow, UKUniversity of Strathclyde36th
Chicago, USADePaul University40th
Leeds, UKUniversity of Leeds; Leeds Beckett University55th
Liverpool, UKLiverpool John Moores University58th
Sheffield, UKUniversity of Sheffield68th
Aberdeen, UKUniversity of Aberdeen76th
Brighton, UKUniversity of Sussex78th
Durham, UKDurham University88th

Study Group supports thousands of international students from 120 countries into international higher education. To discuss how we can help grow your international student community on campus please contact us.