Study Abroad INDEX

Study Abroad Index

The best cities to live and study in abroad

The best cities to live and study in abroad

Deciding to study abroad can be a fantastic opportunity to broaden your horizons and further your career prospects, all while seeing the world and experiencing new cultures.

While the coronavirus pandemic may have halted plans to study overseas for many, 2021 will hopefully see those plans able to take place, so where are the best places for those looking for a new experience?

We’ve analyzed popular studying abroad destinations around the world on a number of factors, relating to both academic and lifestyle, to find out.

From studying in the historic institutions of London to essay writing in a Parisian cafe, where are the ultimate places to study abroad in 2021?

The best cities for studying abroad


London, United Kingdom

Study Abroad Score /10


London is truly one of the most popular cities in which to study, and for good reason! Over 100,000 people choose to study, which is known as one of the most diverse cities in the world, as well as one of its most important financial centers. In our ranking, London was the highest-scoring city for three different factors: the number of top-ranked universities (22), Instagrammability (147 million posts), and number of vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants (4,163).



Study Abroad Score /10


Paris has long been an enticing destination for overseas visitors, especially those from the States looking to live the quintessential Parisian lifestyle. Whether the city of lights matches up to your perception from film and TV, it’s a remarkable city to study in and that is reflected in the fact that it was the second-most Instagrammable of all the cities we looked at, appearing in over 127 million posts on the platform. Paris also scored highly for factors including the average ranking of its universities and number of international students.


Moscow, Russia

Study Abroad Score /10


Russia’s capital is a huge and fast-paced city with lots of opportunities for those looking for somewhere to study. Alongside the cosmopolitan skyscrapers of the city, Moscow is also full of cultural and historical treasures. Unlike the top two ranking cities on our list, Moscow is also among one of the more affordable cities to study in, with an average monthly cost of living of $561, and also scored highly for Instagrammability and the number of top-ranked universities in the city (13).


Rank City Country Number of top ranked universities Average university ranking Average download speed (Mb/s) Number of international students Instagramability Number of bars Number of fast food restaurants Number of vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants Estimated monthly cost of living Study Abroad Score /10


We analyzed a number of common destinations where people go to study abroad on the following eight factors, giving each city a normalized score out of ten for each one, before taking a final average across all eight scores.

The number of top-ranked universities was taken from the QS World University Rankings 2021and was a simple count of the number of universities from each city that appeared on the rankings. We also took an average rank of each of these universities too. For universities that were given a tied rank (for example, 501-510) we took the lowest rank (so 501 in this example).

Average download speeds were sourced from Broadband Speedchecker’s ISP directory..

The numbers of international students were sourced from the World Cities Culture Forum.

The number of Instagram posts mentioning each city using hashtags, sourced as of April 9th 2021.

The number of bars and fast food restaurants were sourced using business listings on Google Maps.

The number of vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants were sourced from Tripadvisor.

The estimated monthly cost of living was sourced from Numbeo and refers to the average living costs of a single person, excluding rent.