Using the top reasons to study abroad, ranked by students who prioritize finding the right country of destination over the right program or school, we’ve compiled our ranking of the most popular countries for international students in 2022.
This year’s survey received 10,000 responses from international students from more than 181 countries who were considering studying abroad.
How we ranked the most popular countries for international students:
- Having access to quality education
- Achieving professional goals
- Developing yourself personally
- Experiencing a new culture or a new way of life
- Making new friends or networking professionally
- Learning a new language
- Once in a lifetime adventure
If you can imagine enjoying daily siestas, sipping sangria, and exploring endless tapas bars, Spain might be the place for you. The capital city of Madrid has many unique markets and museums to keep you busy.
Or explore architectural masterpieces like La Sagrada Familia and elements of Catalan culture in bustling Barcelona.
Catch a train to experience Basque culture in the north, surf in San Sebastián, and hike the legendary Camino de Santiago.
To the south, Andalusia reflects a history of flamenco music and Moorish influence. Granada, Seville, Málaga, and Cádiz are sure to impress you.
Not to mention the friendly people and lively social scene across the country! With universities founded in 1218 and diverse culture, studying abroad in Spain is truly a unique experience.
9. New Zealand
Whether you prefer mountains, fjords, beaches, forests, or plains, New Zealand has something for you.
The island nation is home to a variety of landscapes that are often considered some of the most beautiful in the world.
Supernatural indeed since The Lord of the Rings was filmed here! However, Middle-earth did not include the vineyards of the wine regions that make New Zealand world-famous for its red and white wines.
Ready for adventures outside of the storybooks? You can fly a helicopter to the top of Franz Josef Glacier, delve into ancient glowworm caves in Waitomo, hike to Lake Tekapo to see the Northern Lights and bungee jump in Milford Sound.
Aside from the scenery, the people are the best in this country. Kiwis are widely known for being extremely friendly and diverse.
Everything from the language to the cuisine is multicultural, with indigenous Maori culture still an integral part of New Zealand customs to this day.
The French Republic really is the crème de la crème for anyone looking for a living history.
In every French city, you will find artistic and architectural influences spanning several centuries.
Visit enchanting fairytale villages in Alsace, soak up the Mediterranean sun in Marseille, and marvel at the spectacular scenery of Mont Saint-Michel: culture is within reach!
History is documented in world-class museums like the Louvre, and fashion is immortalized in Paris’ contemporary fashion scene.
And don’t forget the food. French cuisine always exceeds expectations, with a sommelier ready to meet your taste buds with the perfect bottle of French wine.
Since each region is as unique as its wine, there are countless places to discover, such as Lille, Toulouse, Grenoble, and Lyon.
So, if you’re watching the sunset behind Notre Dame Cathedral or strolling through the lavender fields of Provence, consider France as your next destination.
7. the Netherlands
If you already love bicycles, canals, and cozy cafés on the streets of Amsterdam, you already have a good idea of life in the Netherlands.
The Dutch commitment to efficiency and sustainability is reflected in their alternative approach to life.
From the bustling cities of Utrecht and Rotterdam to the more peaceful student cities of Groningen and Leiden, you’ll find that the people here are very diverse, particularly environmentally conscious, and very open to other people.
Studying in the Netherlands is an easy decision. They are among the most English-speaking in the world despite being a predominantly Dutch-speaking country, and many English-language university programs are following suit.
There are also many things to do in your free time. Take a walk through history in Zaanse Schans, visit the Van Gogh Museum, or admire the blooming tulips in the Garden of Europe.
6. the United Kingdom
The UK is known to be home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world. That’s why the UK is back at the top of the quality education rankings this year.
However, there is much more to do in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland than just academics. You could spend years in London and not see the whole city.
Imagine sipping afternoon tea and pints in the pub, exploring world-class museums, and wandering the ruins of Stonehenge.
A fascinating mix of centuries of history and 21st-century modernity can be found in every city, whether Edinburgh, Cardiff, or Belfast.
The rolling countryside of England and Wales, the rugged Highlands of Scotland, and the geological wonders of Northern Ireland are more than enough to keep you occupied outside of your studies.
International students are sure to have an exciting experience in the UK.
If you are interested in natural beauty, look no further. Switzerland is known for its stunning landscapes with scenes so beautiful it’s hard to believe it’s all real.
There are numerous hiking trails across the country that will take you to scenic views of lush lakes, forests, and mountains. If you are passionate about skiing, you have found your paradise.
Aside from Swiss cheese, chocolate, watches, and knives, this country is perhaps best known for the Swiss Alps, which offer incredible views and opportunities for mountain sports. Let the cities surprise you too.
Enjoy the cosmopolitan cities of Zurich and Geneva, fly over Interlaken on a hang-glider, or stroll through the medieval city of Bern.
The very international population and easy access to the heart of Europe make Switzerland the perfect place to satisfy your inner adventurer.
If you’re a language fanatic, you’ll love hearing Swiss-French, Swiss-Italian, Swiss-German, and maybe even Romansh as you stroll through the city.
4. the United States
There is no doubt that the United States is one of the most multicultural countries in the world.
Stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, each state is home to a variety of landscapes, subcultures, and histories that you’ll never tire of exploring.
Discover forested mountains, rolling plains, shimmering coastlines, and majestic canyons on an American road trip.
Whether you’re visiting Las Vegas, New Orleans, Miami, or Honolulu, you’ll find endless entertainment options as you explore each city’s unique vibe and, of course, American or “Americanized” food!
Find the best tacos in California, eat fried chicken in the South, and don’t forget to decide on the Chicago-New York pizza rivalry.
As a student at one of the many quality schools in the United States, you will find that even universities are a melting pot of cultures, with national and international students from vastly different backgrounds.
Sounds like the perfect learning experience? Make your new home the land of unlimited possibilities.
Germany ranks third in the world and first in Europe for many reasons.
Stretching from the beaches along the Baltic Sea coast to the mountains of Bavaria, Germany seems to be home to virtually every European landscape imaginable, perfect for all seasons.
Even if you’re not a history buff, you’ll notice strands of the past interwoven across the country, from the Berlin Wall and the city’s Holocaust memorials to the magical castles of Eltz and Neuschwanstein in the countryside.
Visit the Black Forest for fairytale inspiration, get lost among Hamburg’s many scenic canals, and enjoy Munich’s breweries during the annual Oktoberfest.
You’ll find that Germans are perhaps Europe’s biggest bread lovers, and currywurst, schnitzel, and doner kebabs are bragging rights really.
If you decide to study at one of the oldest and most well-known German universities in the world, you are sure to have the experience of a lifetime!
Oh, Canada! Renowned for its breadth of natural wonders, Canada’s diverse landscape is unparalleled.
Canada is currently ranked the number two most popular destination for international students.
With rocky coasts, snow-capped mountains, forested lakes, and arctic glaciers, a good camera is an absolute must.
As a bilingual country, French and English are widely spoken, making Canada one of the best places in the world to learn a new language.
As a highly multicultural country, however, you’re sure to hear many other languages beyond that, including those spoken by the indigenous peoples of Canada.
No matter the language, you will find a warm welcome and a friendly smile here.
Explore the cosmopolitan cities of Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal and marvel at the fascinating surroundings of Banff, Whistler, and Halifax. Sounds like the perfect place to study, right?
Australia, or Straya as the Ozzies call it, this year takes Canada’s top spot as the world’s leading study abroad destination in 2022.
Featuring nine different regions and twenty World Heritage Sites at UNESCO sites such as the Great Barrier Corals, the Tasmanian Desert, and Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park has a lot to discover.
Visit the world’s oldest rainforest at Daintree, marvel at the red-sand beaches and turquoise waters of Broome, and marvel at the limestone cliffs along the Great Ocean Road.
Do you want to learn to surf? After school, hop on Manly in Sydney or become a regular in Margaret River or Perth for some of the best waves in the world.
City life welcomes Brisbane, Adelaide, and Melbourne, the latter being the heart of Australia’s music scene.
You’ll find a passion for pubs and cafes across the country and a diverse mix of cultures, including Australian Aboriginal heritage.
Grab your shades and head to Australia to see for yourself why this country is our #1 choice this year!