Best Places to Study in the UK

Best Cities for International Students in the UK

The UK is one of the top destinations for students traveling from around the globe to pursue higher education at world-renowned institutions, colleges, and universities. But it’s more than just these academic opportunities that makes the UK top destination for international students – second only to the US. The country has some of the most welcoming, diverse, and appealing settings for higher education studies.

With over 150 institutions spread across the four countries within the UK, it can be difficult to know where to start. If you don’t have a particular school or program in mind from the start, maybe the best thing to do is learn about the top student destinations in the UK.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 8 student cities in the UK:

  1. London (#5 city for international students worldwide)

Given its size and the broad scope of both students and professionals attracted to this city in England, it is not surprising that this international hub tops the list for student cities in the UK. While it has the highest cost of living, the city is home to approximately 9 million people, 300 languages, and an international student population of 42%, overall. Furthermore, the universities it has to offer are top-notch, with almost 20 in the world’s top 800 and 2 in the top 10. Students find it an attractive city not only for their time at university, but also during their first career steps post-graduation.

If you’re interested in London, you might begin your search with schools like Middlesex University or Kingston University London.

  1. Edinburgh (#33 city for international students worldwide)

Known for its stunning castle, historic old town, and revered annual events, including the Edinburgh International Festival and New Year’s Hogmanay street party, the capital of Scotland city is also home to thousands of students attending one of the many universities in and around the city. It clocks in at the second-most expensive city on this list, after London, but the payoff is high, considering the fact that Edinburgh is an incredibly diverse, international city, with 40% of the population hailing from different countries.

If you’re interested in Edinburgh, you might begin your search with schools like Heriot-Watt University.

  1. Manchester (#36 city for international students worldwide)

Located in northern England, Manchester is renowned for its music, which has produced big-name bands such as Oasis. Today, arts, culture, and nightlife thrive in the city, which achieves a high ranking in terms of ‘employer activity’ (higher than Edinburgh and all of the other UK student cities aside from London), showing that it’s not just an enjoyable place to study, but a city whose alumni are looked upon favorably by employers. It is also the fourth most affordable city in this list.

If you’re interested in Manchester, you might begin your search with schools like the University of Manchester or Keele University.

  1. Coventry (#44 city for international students worldwide)

Coventry may not be the most well-known English city in the UK, but it is home to highly reputed universities, including Coventry University, which is one of the most affordable universities in the UK for international students [link to Most Affordable Universities article]. The fifth most affordable city on this list, the area’s population is largely made up of students, of which almost 40% are international. Coventry also works closely with graduate employers, reflecting both the strong reputation of its universities and the city’s long history of leadership in manufacturing and design.

If you’re interested in Coventry, you might begin your search with schools like Coventry University.

  1. Nottingham (#57 city for international students worldwide)

Famous for its connection to the Robin Hood legend, Nottingham is growing in prominence for its universities and student scene – it even outshines Paris in the ‘student mix’ category. Ranked the second most affordable city on this list, Nottingham is known for being a major sporting center, named the 'Home of English Sport' in October 2015. Additionally, the city is known to have a large international student population, attracted to the sports, culture, and universities in the area.

If you’re interested in Nottingham, you might begin your search with schools like University of Sheffield in the nearby town of Sheffield.

  1. Glasgow (#63 city for international students worldwide)

Scotland’s largest and most populous city is also the most affordable on this list, attracting students from around the globe to study in this haven of culture and history. In recent years, Glasgow has become one the UK’s leading hubs of commerce, research, and, of course, intellectual pursuits in academia. Like many other UK cities, Glasgow hosts a large number of international students, and therefore achieves a particularly high score in the ‘student mix’ category, offering many chances for students to meet people from various backgrounds and cultures.

If you’re interested in Glasgow, you might begin your search with schools like the University of Strathclyde.

  1. Birmingham (#66 city for international students worldwide)

Birmingham is both England’s and the UK’s second-largest city, and is home to 3.7 million people. The city is the 6th most affordable city on this list, and has become a thriving commercial and financial center, building off of and branching out from its industrial roots. It’s also the UK’s largest center of higher education outside London, with five universities within city limits. Given the city’s mere size, culture and nightlife abound, and its status as one of the UK’s most multicultural cities adds to its diversity and the range of experiences it has to offer.

If you’re interested in Birmingham, you might begin your search with schools like Birmingham City University or Aston University.

  1. Newcastle (#67 city for international students worldwide)

Diverse, vibrant and welcoming, Newcastle is an English city with a history that spans from the Roman period through its time as an important industrial center for coal-mining, engineering, and shipping during the 19th century. The city’s popularity when it comes to engineering continues to this day, with globally-renowned civil engineering feats like the Gateshead Millennium Bridge right in the heart of the city. Students who choose this destination will be among the 23% of students at the ranked universities in Newcastle from international backgrounds.

If you’re interested in Newcastle, you might begin your search with schools like Newcastle University.