From Beantown to the Land of Oz to the City of Light, college students are sprinkled throughout the globe studying in some of the most vivacious cities of the world. QS, the same company that conducts worldwide university rankings, just released their first Best Student Cities Ranking list with Paris, London, Boston, Melbourne and Vienna making up the top five.
The Top 50 Best Student Cities ranking consisted of two components: First, to be considered, a city had to having a population of at least 250,000 people and two ranked universities. According to QS’ data, only 98 cities worldwide made this cut. To make the top 50 ranking, QS calculated and weighted five scores of ranking of the city world wide, student mix to the civilian population, quality of living, employer activity and affordability.
And it would appear that many students are choosing to study in these top cities.
Study and travel are becoming closely related words in the life of the college student. According to the U.S. Department of Education, studying abroad has reached an all time high with at least 80,000 students studying outside of the United States each year.
Jennie Hardin, a junior at Boston College is currently studying abroad in Barcelona and therefore has the third and 11th city on her resume. Hardin says she chose to study in both Boston and Barcelona for reasons of accessibility, travel and history.
“I chose Barcelona for similar reasons as Boston. It’s small enough to really get to know the city but big enough at the same time because it’s easy to travel to and from. Also, the art history and cultural history is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been,” Hardin said.
Mark Von Shenk, a senior at BC studying finance, studied abroad in London during his junior year. For Von Shenk, he enjoyed the cultural aspects of both Boston and London, but considered his future in the business world when making his final choice.
“One of the main reasons why I chose and really enjoyed living in Boston and London was the combination of older more historical aspects of the cities in addition to new modern sections,” Von Shenk. “Both cities also have great post-graduate opportunities and I ultimately chose BC because I knew I could make great connections in Boston.”
In terms of job potential, data would suggest that Von Shenk made the right choice with Boston and London as both cities ranked high in the employer activity category, which measures the level of interest domestic and international employers show in graduates of the city’s universities. Singapore is the most noteworthy of this category as it scored a perfect 100.
Like Von Shenk, many students consider how their university’s city will impact their “real world” education. Ashley Gardner, a senior at New York University, spent her spring semester of sophomore year in Paris and used both cities as places to find her future and perfect a foreign language.
“Ultimately, I chose New York for the opportunities that would arise studying in a city some would argue is the best in the world. NYC is a place’”where dreams come true.’ I didn’t have my dream pegged, but figured that NYC would develop me into a person suited to pick a dream,” said Gardner. “As for Paris, I think I knew I would someday live there when I was at the ripe age of 7 and I had studied French for five years, in order to ready myself for being a Parisienne-in-training.”
These cities also shared another factor: lack of affordability. Calculated from cost of tuition, retail prices and cost of living, affordability varied the most throughout the list — but Melbourne was at the bottom of it.
As the struggling economy continues to thin student’s wallets, less students will travel far from home. According to MSNBC, more college students are choosing to attend public institutions in their home state. But just because a student cannot leave the United States does not mean the nation, and maybe your home city, does not offer its own allure. In fact, five American cities made the list and rounded out the top 30: Boston at number three, Chicago at 15, San Francisco 17, New York at 18 and Washington, D.C. at number 30.
Click here to see how your city did.
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