A growing number of university degree seekers are choosing to study abroad. By 2020, there will be more than 7 million international students, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
With the world becoming increasingly globalized, there are many reasons to attend a foreign school. In addition to benefitting from the quality education that the planet’s best institutions of higher learning offer, students gain a better understanding of other cultures. By expanding their college searches to include foreign options, they are more likely to find the schools that best meet their needs.
Attending college in a faraway land is not for everyone. Students have to adjust to being separated from their families and friends, and cope with unfamiliar situations. There is often a language barrier. Because foreigners are generally charged higher tuition, the cost is another major factor. Travel and living expenses add to the total. However, studying abroad offers opportunities and experiences that serve students well in their future endeavors.
The United States hosts the most international students. India has more universities and colleges, but American schools dominate various organizations’ rankings of the most prestigious institutions in the world.
In the Ranking Web of Universities 2018 survey, U.S. schools held the first six spots. Harvard University topped the list, followed by Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California-Berkeley, Washington University and the University of Michigan.
The 2019 QS World University Rankings award the No. 1 position to MIT. Next on the list are Stanford, Harvard and the California Institute of Technology. The University of Chicago is in the No. 9 slot. Princeton, Cornell, Yale, Columbia, Pennsylvania and Michigan universities are also in the top 20. QS researchers praised U.S. degree programs in philosophy, sociology, communications, education and other fields.
In the Times Higher Education World Education Rankings for 2018, Cal Tech, Stanford, MIT, Harvard and Princeton University placed third through seventh.
About 19 percent of all college students in the United Kingdom are natives of other countries. England is a popular choice for higher education because of iconic institutions like the University of Oxford. English-speaking students from the United States and elsewhere appreciate not having to overcome a language barrier.
According to the QS rankings, the University of Cambridge is the fifth-best school in the world. Oxford is sixth, Imperial College London seventh, University College London 10th and the University of Edinburgh 18th. The Ranking Web rated Oxford seventh, Cambridge 11th and UCL 20th. The Times gave the top two spots to Oxford and Cambridge, with UCL at No. 16.
British universities, particularly the London School of Economics and Politics, get high marks for their degree programs in politics and international studies. Oxford and Cambridge are renowned for their English and literature curricula.
Only the United States and the United Kingdom host more international students than China. Enrollees come from Asia, Africa and the West. Of the 26 million post-secondary students in China, about 490,000 are from other countries.
Tsinghua University is 17th on the QS list, followed by Peking University at No. 30 and Fudan University at No. 40. The Times listed Peking University 27th and Tsinghua 30th. The Ranking Web had Tsinghua at No. 45 and Peking at No. 59.
International students go to “the land down under” for a number of reasons, including Australia’s reputation for excellent degree programs in education fields.
The top-ranked colleges, according to QS, are Australian National University at No. 24, the University of Melbourne at No. 39, the University of Sydney at No. 42, the University of New South Wales at No. 45 and the University of Queensland at No. 48.
The Ranking Web placed Melbourne 55th, New South Wales 62nd, Queensland 63rd and Sydney 74th. In the Times survey, Melbourne was 32nd, Australian National University 48th, Sydney 61st and Queensland 65th.
One of the reasons many foreigners go to Canada for college is the country’s relatively low tuition rates. The number of international students has increased dramatically in recent years. Following the 2016 presidential election in the United States, applications from Americans soared 20 percent. According to QS, Canadian institutions are known for their degree programs in geography, English literature, history and philosophy.
The University of Toronto placed 28th on the QS list, followed by McGill University at No. 33, the University of British Columbia at No. 47 and the University of Alberta at No. 109.
The Ranking Web listed Toronto 14th, UBC 26th, McGill 51st and Alberta 60th. In the Times survey, Toronto was 22nd, UBC 34th, McGill 42nd, McMaster University 78th and the University of Montreal 108th.