As an international student, choosing where to study is a huge decision. As part of our Student Reviews Guide, following up on the top cities in Europe, we’ve analysed thousands of our verified student reviews from 2021 to discover the top countries for students in Europe.
There are many factors that go into choosing where to study. For this reason, students scored these countries on seven different areas: facilities, professors, location, student life, accommodation, internationalism, and career prospects. The seven countries listed below scored the highest on these areas, meaning students’ experiences were generally very positive.
For anyone looking to study abroad this year, this guide will tell you exactly where students are having the best experience!
The Top Countries for students in Europe
Universities in Spain scored strongly across the board, but especially for location (4/5 rating), and internationalism (4/5 rating). The number of international students in Spain has increased by 27% in recent years, resulting in close to 200,000 international students in the 2018-19 academic year. Students in Spain thrive in this environment, and our verified reviews also showed high scores for student life in the country.
Portugal may have lost out to Spain on internationalism (3.7/5 rating), but in every other category the Atlantic coast nation came out on top. Students in Portugal also benefit from a low cost of living, vibrant cities and student life (4.3/5 rating). The Portuguese economy is also faring well – the OECD predicts it could grow by almost 6% in 2022, and the jobs market in the country is also growing. This could be the reason that Portugal fares better than Spain in the career prospects category (3.9/5 rating).
Germany has always been a top country for international students, owing to its strong economy, internationalism, and prestigious universities. However, our reviews show that Germany scores the highest for the location of its universities (4.2/5 rating), which more often than not are situated in the heart of its biggest cities. Germany also scores well for its professors (4.1/5 rating) and internationalism. Strangely enough, the country doesn’t perform as well for career prospects, which may be attributed to the effects of the Covid pandemic on the jobs market in 2021.
A surprise entry at number four is Italy. The Mediterranean country scored similarly to Germany on facilities (4/5 rating), professors (4/5 rating), and internationalism (4.1/5 rating), but performed higher in student life (4/5 rating) and location (4.4/5 rating). It’s no secret that Italy has a strong work-life balance, and international students also benefit from this. Cities like Florence, Rome, and Milan offer the culture, history, and culinary experiences that students seek alongside top universities.
3. The Netherlands
With its prestigious universities, unique culture, and community feel, it’s no surprise that the Netherlands is one of the top countries for students in Europe. It scored highest for location (4.5/5 rating), unsurprising given that many of its universities sit in the heart of historic cities. It also performed well in facilities, student life, and internationalism (4.4/5 rating) – 24% of the country’s population are foreign or ethnic minorities.
France is home to some of Europe’s top universities, and high scores for facilities (4.2/5 rating), professors (4.4/5 rating), and accommodation (4.2/5 rating) has led it to the number two spot in our ranking. Though it’s beat on career prospects by countries like Portugal, students scored it particularly high for student life (4.3/5 rating). With historic cities like Marseille, Paris, and Bordeaux all home to thousands of international students, you can explore a vibrant culture while studying at a top university.
1. The United Kingdom
The top country for students is the United Kingdom – a vibrant country where students rate highly the facilities (4.4/5 rating), professors (4.3/5 rating) and location (4.6/5 rating). Universities in the UK also score high for internationalism – there are over 500,000 international students across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It may not be the cheapest country to study in, but the UK also scores high for student life – possibly because of the breadth of history and culture. Students also rate career prospects in the UK – it comes second only to Portugal in this list. If you’re looking for a place to explore study abroad opportunities, the UK is a great choice!
Rising star countries for students in Europe
Here are three rising stars. For these countries, last year is the first year we have data on these countries, but the student reviews were all positive. Who knows – in the future, these countries might make it into the list of top countries for students.
Small yet mighty, Switzerland is one of the countries that is set to perform even better in future years. In particular, the country scored incredibly well for professors and facilities, reflecting Switzerland’s reputation for prestigious universities. However, it also received the highest score of any country for internationalism. This is unsurprising when you consider that upwards of 25% of Switzerland’s population are foreign nationals.
Poland has become increasingly attractive to international students for many years now. The country has high-quality universities, a low cost of living, and great support systems for foreign students. Our student reviews show that Poland scores highly for internationalism and accommodation. The country is also set to double the size of its economy by 2030, creating new job opportunities, too.
The Emerald Isle has long attracted travellers because of its vibrant cities and beautiful nature. However, it also has a number of top universities. In particular, students on EDUopinions have scored the country high on professors, reflecting the high-quality education. Ireland is also increasingly known for being a business magnet, and there are plenty of job opportunities for graduating students.