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Top 10 Places to Study Abroad 2021 - Rankings Rationale

At, our mission is to help everyone in the world find the right education. We know that international students have special considerations when choosing an ideal university and program, and our Top 10 Places to Study Abroad rankings are a major step towards helping them find their ideal study abroad destination!

In October 2020, we conducted a survey of over 2,700 students from around the world and asked about their top reasons for studying abroad. The top seven most important factors were used as the framework for our rankings.

This is the third ranking of this kind, and to compare how the importance of the seven factors has changed since last year, check the 2020 rankings and rationale page.

These seven factors are:

  1. To access higher quality teaching
  2. To achieve my career goals
  3. To develop myself personally
  4. To experience a new culture or lifestyle
  5. To have an adventure
  6. To learn a new language
  7. To make new friends or widen my professional network

We then assigned the factors their corresponding quantitative metric (or weight) according to how many students selected that factor as important in their decision-making process. For example, 7.5% of students surveyed said it was important to have an adventure. So "to have an adventure" factor makes up 7.5% of each country's overall score.

Each factor's score, is made up of sub-scores based on a selection of external data sources (listed below). Each of these sub-scores was averaged out and added together to create a final score for that factor.

From there, we averaged out all of the factors and added them together to create a final score for each country. The top 10 places for each list are the countries with the highest final score.

View 2021 place rankings by region

Top 10 Global ranking 2021 badge

Top 10 Europe ranking 2021 badge

Top 10 Asia ranking 2021 badge

Data sources and score weighting

1. To access higher quality teaching

2. To achieve my career goals

3. To develop myself personally

4. To experience a new culture or lifestyle

5. To have an adventure

6. To learn a new language

7. To make new friends or widen my professional network

Want the full rankings sub-scores data?

Simply fill out the form below to get full access.

Last update: 03 Feb 2021

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