Zurich named one of the 25 best cities in the world for students

Zurich named one of the 25 best cities in the world for students

A new study by The Campus Advisor has seen Zurich rank among the 25 best cities for students in the world. While it scored well for safety, student friendliness and public transport, the “Swiss Metropolis” didn't do well in what is usually the factor that holds cities in Switzerland back: the price.

Best Student Cities in the World for 2023

Using reviews given to them by students, The Campus Advisor rated cities around the world by how welcoming, enjoyable and affordable they are to study in. Rather than focusing on the quality of the universities themselves, as is done by Times Higher Education and QS, this ranking serves those seeking “an exceptional living experience. From vibrant cultural scenes to cutting-edge learning environments, these cities have proven to be the epitome of a holistic student lifestyle.”

To rank each city, The Campus Advisor used feedback from students to give scores in the following categories:

  • Student friendliness
  • Cost of living
  • Nightlife 
  • Public transport
  • Amenities
  • Safety

Each city was given a rating out of five in each section, with an average used to place them in the top 50.

Melbourne rated best city for students in 2023

In 2023, the Australian city of Melbourne retained its title as the best city in the world for students with a score of 4,68 out of five. The city was rated highest in the amenities category, with reviewers praising the “best bars, best night clubs... outstanding arts, food and wine, Australia's best shopping, and diverse sporting and leisure opportunities." “There is always something to do every day of the week!” one reviewer noted.

This year saw Berlin shoot up the ranking, going from sixth in 2022 to second place with an improved score of 4,63. Likely because of the large network of buses, trams, trains and metros, and the generous transport tickets given to those studying as part of semester fees, the German capital placed first for public transport. Reviewers noted that along with the infamous nightlife, the city offers “food, public transportation, attraction, social events and so on…You can do a lot of things here and never get bored.”

The English city of Newcastle took third place in 2023, with the Toon rated best for nightlife - something this writer can attest to. In terms of other metrics, Galway in Ireland topped the student friendliness category, Singapore took gold in safety and, while it came in 35th overall, the Lithuanian capital Vilnius took first for cost of living.

Zurich rated among the top 25 cities for students

2023 also saw success for a Swiss city, with Zurich going from not even being in the top 30 last year to placing 21st in the world. The city had a total score of 4,27, meaning it was only 0,1 points off Turin in 20th and only 0,15 points off Singapore in 10th.

Zurich had its best scores in safety (4,72) and student friendliness (4,70). Reviewers wrote that the city is also a great place to live: "In your free time you can just chill on the lake or in one of the parks or at the Limmat. Sunsets on Zurichberg are just stunning! You can go for a hike on Uetliberg in your free time. It's a historical city with a lively cultural life. Zurich people are often not very outgoing and open at first, but will warm up to you after a while.” 

However, like most rankings involving Zurich, and indeed most other cities in Switzerland, its score was hampered by the high cost of living. With the city considered most at risk of a housing bubble, and affordable student housing being few and far between, the high costs significantly impacted the city’s score.

Best student cities in the world for 2023

In all, here are the 10 best cities for students in 2023:

  1. Melbourne, Australia (4,68)
  2. Berlin, Germany (4,63)
  3. Newcastle, United Kingdom (4,58)
  4. Brno, Czechia (4,55)
  5. Seoul, South Korea (4,53)
  6. Vienna, Austria (4,52)
  7. Galway, Ireland (4,47)
  8. Warsaw, Poland (4,46)
  9. Montreal, Canada (4,45)
  10. Singapore (4,42)

For more information about the study, and to see what other cities made it into the top 50, check out the official website.

Thumb image credit: Victor Jiang /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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