Here is a brief overview of some of the world’s most popular study destinations and what makes them so appealing. By Daniel Travers
Following the US as the second most popular destination for international students, the UK offers a rich cultural and academic heritage, being home to some of the oldest and most respected universities in the world. UK degree courses tend to be more intensive and so are shorter, with students receiving the same excellent international standard of education with a more efficient use of time and money. As well as its historic heritage and culture, the UK is also a diverse, multicultural society, home to those from thousands of backgrounds, and well established in its acceptance and treatment of international students.
The world’s most popular destination for international students, the USA boasts many attractive features for those looking to study abroad. As well as the academic excellence of its institutions, with almost half of the world’s top 100 universalities being located in the USA, a great degree of freedom is offered within and between them, with students able to choose from various courses and classes as well as migrate between institutions. This variety is also present the country as a whole, with the landscape, culture and cuisine varying from state to state.
With its capital city of Paris being voted as the best study destination by QS, France is a very popular destination for international students. The country prides itself on its long-standing policy of equal treatment for domestic and international students, with tuition fees identical for all and all students enjoying the same benefits. Students also enjoy France’s renowned ‘art of living’, with the country’s rich culture and cuisine providing an unforgettable experience for all.
Central within Europe and the EU, Germany is a popular location for those wishing to study European politics and business. The country is also at the forefront of environmental awareness and protection, offering great opportunities for students interested in renewable energy sources and sustainable development. Germany’s cities also provide a diverse, cosmopolitan experience for students, perfectly complementing the country’s rich, historic cultural heritage.
The 3rd most popular study destination for international students, Australia boasts less expensive living costs and tuition fees than the UK and USA for the same excellent standards of quality. The Australian method of technical education is internationally recognised as being amongst the most innovative in the world, with emphasis placed upon practical, career-focussed learning. The Australian government also ensures continued high standards of education as well as rigorous financial protection for international students.
Emerging as the world’s premier superpower, China offers many opportunities for those students looking to be at the forefront of the changing world. The Chinese languages play a key role in this. With more than 1/5th of the world’s population already speaking some form of Chinese, study in China offers a great opportunity to master the languages that look likely to dominate the world. A time in China also grants students the ability to explore one of the most diverse nations on the planet, with everything from cuisine to culture to the very land itself changing spectacularly across this vast country.
Despite having the same quality of education and living standards as its counterparts, Canada boasts a cheaper cost of living whilst its institutions charge less for international tuition fees. This offer of exceptional educational quality at a cheaper price has made Canada an increasingly popular choice for international students. The country is of particular interest to students of languages, with its strong bilingual heritage leading it to become a world leader in language teaching. The dual importance of English and French ensures that any student will find their capacity for either or both languages immeasurably improved during their time in the country.
A political and economic leader of Latin America and an emerging power worldwide, Brazil offers a distinctive viewpoint from which to study the changing world and the development of the global economy. The uniqueness of the country’s ecological and environmental system also means that it is a great choice for those interested in environmentalism and conservationism, with the increasing attention and concern regarding regions such as the Amazon offering students a brilliant yet significant area of study. But Brazil’s vibrant culture shouldn’t be forgotten, with everything from Carnaval to Football to beach life ensuring an experience that won’t be forgotten!
As befits the world’s largest country, Russia offers students a staggeringly diverse range of experiences, with the country being home to over 160 ethnic groups, all of which play a part in the development of its rich and varied culture. Russia is also home to numerous strong academic institutions, many of which are situated in the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, resulting in vibrant and diverse student communities. The country’s key historical role in the development of communism makes it an ideal location for students of history or politics, whilst its rich literary heritage means it is of similar interest to those studying literature.
The Netherlands is renowned for the friendliness of its people, the country known for its highly tolerant and liberal outlook, with great emphasis placed upon equality and the importance of the individual. This sense transfers into its academic institutions, with the Netherlands having been praised for its student-centred teaching style, in which both teamwork and individual conviction are encouraged and respected. Students are free to critique and develop their own opinions on what they are taught.
Spain offers a uniquely relaxed experience, its Siesta culture allowing students to pursue their academic interests at a different pace. However, this doesn’t mean that Spain should be treated less seriously academically speaking! Spain is particularly known for its foreign language courses, with Spanish universities being world famous for their foreign language centres. The country also offers students a uniquely diverse cultural experience, the historic sense of regionalism allowing students to experience widely varying languages, cultures and traditions all within one country.
Higher education in Switzerland is highly international in nature, with large numbers of international students and staff and courses taught mainly in English, French, German and Italian. This is partly due to its centrality in Europe, with any student choosing Switzerland gaining a great opportunity for exploring and experiencing the rest of the continent. Switzerland is a particularly good destination for any with an interest in international political, economic and humanitarian issues, with the country’s unique, historic role as a centre of global diplomacy and human rights resulting in the popularity of courses in international studies, social justice and diplomacy.
Singapore’s location in the heart of South East Asia allows students to experience a unique multicultural environment, influenced by both East and West. The country is also seen as being one of the safest places to live in the world, with its political stability and low crime rate. Singapore boasts a high standard of academic excellence, its national universities being some of the most highly rated in the world, as well as being home to campuses and collaborations set up by universities from across the planet, all of this at a lower cost than education in the west..
The most ethnically and culturally diverse country on the continent, South Africa offers students a truly multicultural experience with large European, Asian and racially mixed communities and eleven different official languages spoken. Just make sure you choose a course taught in English! South Africa is also one of the most important countries in Africa right now, having overcome the political controversy of its past to become a country truly in the midst of change, leading the democratic, economic and cultural evolution of the continent. Chose South Africa and place yourself in the centre of a momentous time.
By Daniel Travers