Over 40% of postgraduates in the UK come from overseas and are studying at some of the top universities in the world.

Fresh Student Living looked at what makes London and the UK one of the most desirable education destinations for international students.

International Students in the UK

Recent reports by Fresh Student Living show that studying abroad may be one of the most beneficial experiences for a college student. International students have the opportunity to live and study in a foreign city, as well as fast track their career prospects. In fact, studying abroad insures international graduates are more employable than their native counterparts.

The international student market makes up at least £7 billion of the UK’s economy, while training and education exports bring in around £14 billion per year, with the potential to increase to as much as £26 billion by 2025.

Top London Universities

According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, London remains the higher education capital of the world with four of the city’s universities in the global top 40 - more than any other city in the world. London’s top universities are:




Imperial College London


University College London


London School of Economics and Political Science


King’s College London

London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, welcomed these rankings, stating that the city attracts over 100,000 international students from more than 200 countries.

However, in the Times Higher Education rankings, the University of Oxford claimed top position, followed by the University of Cambridge in 2nd place. This shows that not only is London the educational capital of the world, but the UK is home to the best higher educational institutions in the world.

London is the Third Best City in the World for Students

While London takes the top spot for education, the city is the third best in the world for overall student life, as ranked by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

The table ranked 125 cities across the globe based on a number of measures, including affordability, university rankings, student satisfaction, employer activity, desirability, and student mix.

The top ten cities are:
























This ranking shows that even in the wake of Brexit, UK cities still hold esteem as some of the best in the world for education, with several making the top 50:

















Younger Universities Are Appealing to International Students

As the market for international study broadens, more students are looking to universities to provide not only educational opportunities but life-changing experiences as well. According to Times Higher Education, the top five universities to provide global higher education experiences were founded in the past 30 years. This suggests that younger universities are as appealing to international students as older, more established red brick universities like Oxford or Cambridge.

London is also one of the most represented cities on the list with 16 universities making the top 200. The American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates takes the top spot for the university with the most international students, with 84 percent of the student body made up of international students.


It is up to universities to come up with practical steps to keep international students interested and coming to the UK to study. According to Fresh Student Living, “Year after year we have seen an increase in the number of international students choosing to study in the UK, with students seeking high quality education and a living experience to match”.

Successful campaigns like #WeAreInternational show an initiative that brings together universities to promote the importance of international students and collaboration in the UK, by expanding their efforts to project a strong, welcoming message to attract students considering studying in the UK.

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