The 20 Most Popular Cities Among International Students

The 20 Most Popular Cities Among International Students
The 20 Most Popular Cities Among International Students

New data shows the most popular cities among international students as the globalization of education shows no signs of slowing down.

London is the first choice for most, with its unparalleled combination of world-leading universities and cultural attractions.

And the impact of Brexit has yet to be felt in the international education market as six U.K. cities feature in the global top 10 and 13 in the top 20, with the growth of inquiries in studying in the U.K. matching the global trend.

Australia is also a popular choice, with three representatives in the top 10, but the U.S. has only two entries in the top 20, although this may be partly the result of a number of its leading universities being located outside major cities.

The data was compiled by student accommodation specialists, which collated inquiries via its website between September and December last year. The cut-off date means it reflects the plans of students intending to enrol for the 2017/18 academic year.

The top 20 most-inquired about cities were:

  1. London
  2. Sydney
  3. Melbourne
  4. Liverpool
  5. Brisbane
  6. Manchester
  7. Glasgow
  8. Sheffield
  9. Birmingham
  10. Los Angeles
  11. Nottingham
  12. New York City
  13. Coventry
  14. Paris
  15. Leicester
  16. Montreal
  17. Bristol
  18. Edinburgh
  19. Leeds
  20. Cambridge

The list is broadly similar to that for the same period in 2015, except that Chicago and Philadelphia have dropped out of the top 20, as have Canberra and Adelaide.

Even allowing for the domestic bias of a U.K.-based company, it reflects the popularity of study in the U.K., bolstered by the reputation of its universities and the attraction of English-language tuition.

The data also provides comfort for U.K. colleges facing uncertainty in the wake of the vote in June last year to leave the European Union.

Inquiries from European students regarding U.K. accommodation rose in line with the global trend. Either students are not being put off by prospect of Brexit, or they are hoping to take advantage of lower fees while Britain is still in the E.U.

‘Though it’s clearly early in the season to make conclusive statements about European enrolments, this could be encouraging news for European student flow to the U.K. this year,’ said Luke Nolan, founder and CEO of

‘While London’s universities continue to be the most popular choice for both European and Asian students, we are delighted to observe increasing interest in the best of Britain’s university towns.’

Latest figures from U.K.’s Higher Education Statistics Agency, HESA, shows around a fifth of all students at U.K. universities in 2015/16 live overseas, with a quarter of those from within the E.U., some 127,440, representing a 2% increase on 2014/15.

The proportion of non-U.K. students was particularly high at full-time postgraduate level, where the majority come from outside the U.K.: 12%, or 35,215, from the rest of the E.U. and 46%, or 138,955, from outside the E.U.

With such a large proportion of overseas students, university leaders will be watching anxiously for any signs of the U.K. becoming less appealing post-Brexit, and while today’s figures may provide some comfort, they know there is still a long way to go.