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Top 10 Study Abroad Countries in Asia - 2019 Rankings

We have now released our 2020 rankings! 🏆

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Welcome to our official 2019 rankings for Top 10 Study Abroad Countries in Asia!

In our survey of over 20,000 international students, most of you told us that, when deciding where to study abroad, you choose country first over a university or specific type of program. You also told us what you consider the most important factors when choosing a study abroad destination.

The rankings are based on these 7 factors:

  1. To experience a new culture
  2. To achieve career goals
  3. To have an adventure
  4. To make new friends/widen professional network
  5. To access higher quality teaching
  6. To study for free
  7. To attain a visa

Want to learn more?

 Check out the 2019 Global rankings

 Check out the 2019 rankings in Europe

 Read more about the rationale behind the rankings

Top 10 Study Abroad Countries in Asia - 2019

Global Ranking


International Students



1.34 billion

Also known as "The Land of Contradictions", India will challenge your worldview as no other country can. A rapidly developing economy with a population that’s a close second to China, India boasts traditions that are as old as the earliest civilizations of humankind. It’s even home to the first university in the world! With more than 800 universities offering quality programs at a quarter of the usual cost, studies in India are highly competitive, as well as cost-efficient. Outside the classroom, your senses will be stimulated with beautiful temples, lush beaches, rich wildlife and a melting pot of languages, cuisines and cultures to explore. As well as being #10 on our top study abroad countries in Asia, India also ranked #3 in culture. Learn a new language (or several), enjoy at least two chai breaks a day, and get addicted to lassi, all while earning a great degree. 

Browse programs in India

Global Ranking


International Students



16.2 million

Cambodia offers quality education with low tuition fees in a truly unique, lively and captivating setting. The country is ranked as #1 in Asia for friendliness so those studying in Cambodia will have no problem settling in and making friends. What's more, the country has so many delights to explore, from the big city of Phnom Penh to the more traditional, picturesque city of Battambang. As the government is working on attracting and retaining international talent, a degree from Cambodia will ensure you are well placed to make an impact in the Asian job market upon graduation. With its assortment of temples, beaches and lively markets to explore, Cambodia is a very exciting choice for your study abroad experience!

Global Ranking


International Students



32 million

Studying in Malaysia is a very cost-effective option for international students. Not only are their high quality degree programs competitive in price, it is also a country with a generally low cost of living. In addition to value for money, studying abroad in Malaysia will be great for your career goals (ranked #4 in Asia) and making friends (ranked #7). Choose Malaysia to immerse yourself in an impressive 137 languages, where iconic skyscrapers meet tea plantations and food heaven is around every corner!

Browse programs in Malaysia

Global Ranking


International Students



94.5 million

Ranked #2 in Asia for studies that align with career goals and #4 for friendliness, Vietnam has more than 150 higher education institutions to choose from. It is also an affordable country to live in, meaning you will likely have extra funds to put towards your travel budget! Whether you are navigating your way through crazy motorbikes in the bustling cities, filling your senses with the sights and smells of delicious street noodles and local delicacies, or taking in the stunning, serene coastal beauty, you can be sure that adventure and new experiences await you in Vietnam!

Browse programs in Vietnam

Global Ranking


International Students



100 million

The Philippines attracts over 5,000 international students a year to over 2,300 higher education institutions they can choose from. And the courses are very affordable as well! We ranked the Philippines at #2 in Asia for affordable study costs. The country also scored #3 for both adventure opportunities and ease of making friends. As the world’s 3rd largest English-speaking nation, and one known for its hospitality and joyfulness, the Philippines is a home away from home for many! Take a step off the well-traveled path, and explore the beautiful lagoons, volcanoes and coastline of this amazing country. With its high quality education, affordable living costs and bewitching scenery, the Philippines is a spectacular choice!

Browse programs in the Philippines

Global Ranking


International Students



1.4 million

The Kingdom of Bahrain is well known for its progressive and highly valued education system. We rated it #1 in Asia for alignment with career goals, #3 for affordable study costs and #5 for making friends. Despite being a small country, there are four public universities to choose from, as well as 18 private institutions, showing how much emphasis Bahrain places on education. Living in Bahrain is a wonderful experience, with its rich and ancient cultural history to uncover, beautiful UNESCO World Heritage sites to visit and bustling markets to explore. It is also well-known for its friendly, English-speaking locals. Choose Bahrain to enjoy fantastic education in a warm climate and sociable atmosphere!

Global Ranking


International Students



23.5 million

The island of Taiwan lies off the southeast coast of China and is heavily influenced by China both with regards to its culture and its outstanding education system. The Taiwanese schooling system is world-renowned for producing some of the best education in the world, and this is reflected in our rankings. Taiwan ranks #3 in Asia for studies that align with career goals and #4 for teaching quality. What’s more, earning a top degree here is definitely not going to break the bank! Numerous scholarships are awarded to international students as a way to attract top talent, and with reasonable tuition fees and a low cost of living, we had to rank Taiwan as #1 for affordable study costs in Asia! As the 2016 Expat Insider winner, you can be assured that living in Taiwan offers a high quality of life with great standards of health and well-being. 

Browse programs in Taiwan

Global Ranking


International Students



5.6 million

Singapore is no stranger to being a top-ranked study abroad destination for students. The nation is regarded as a ‘global schoolhouse’ which takes immense pride in its education system. Ranking #2 in Asia for teaching quality, and with two top-ranked universities, Singapore provides a multitude of reputable study options for students from all corners of the world. As a modern, innovative nation, with an exciting melting pot of different cultures intertwined, living in Singapore is a truly unique experience! And with English as the de facto national language, you’ll have no problem finding your way around every street food market and temple! All students are eligible to apply for tuition grants to offset the cost of living, too. Choose Singapore to immerse yourself in multiple cultures, be educated in a world class university and make connections to last a lifetime!

Browse programs in Singapore

Global Ranking


International Students



126.4 million

Rated as #1 in Asia for teaching quality, Japan boasts three universities in the Top 100 list of universities worldwide. It’s such a popular country that it actually attracts the highest number of international students out of our Top 10 study abroad countries in Asia! While the cost of living in Japan is relatively higher than other Asian countries, the island nation offers generous scholarships to international students and low tuition fees, along with a guarantee of safe and peaceful cities, and improved employability both in Japan and abroad upon graduation. Japan also offers an intriguing cultural heritage and historical journey to uncover. It’s definitely an alluring choice for you to consider!

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and the winner is...

Global Ranking


International Students



68.8 million

Topping our list in the Asian rankings, and the only Asian country in our global Top 10, Thailand rates highly on the continent not only for culture (ranked #2 in Asia) and adventure (ranked #1) but also for providing students with alignment to their career goals after graduation (ranked #5). Furthermore, with a low overall cost of living, Thailand offers students an affordable study abroad destination in a highly desirable location. Also known as the 'Land of Smiles,' Thailand boasts some of the friendliest and happiest people you can meet. As a destination, the country offers wonderful weather, great beaches and superb cuisine! Choose Thailand as your study abroad location and see for yourself!

Browse programs in Thailand

Also view our other 2019 rankings:

Last update: 28 Jan 2020

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