University Cities in Europe

11 December 2013

If you’ve started thinking about heading halfway around the world for a university exchange, you’re already halfway there - next you have to decide where to go. With some of the world’s finest universities, Europe is a great place to base yourself. However, as most students who have completed an exchange would agree, of equal importance to the university you attend is the city that holds it. After all, it’ll be in that city’s cafes that you scribble your essays, in its museums that you find inspiration and in its bars that you meet new friends for a drink. Here's some suggestions to help guide your thoughts.

Paris, France

Paris has long inspired great artists and thinkers. Known for having some of the finest things in life (think bread, wine, cheese, museums, music…), Paris exudes cool. It also came first in the QS Top 10 Student Cities in the world for 2014 rankings, scoring well in areas such as academic record, employer activity, student mix, affordability, and quality of living. You’ll find inspiration aplenty in the city’s atmospheric quartiers, cafes, and markets, and with 17 universities to choose from you’ll have no trouble finding an institution and course to suit.

London, England
Close behind Paris in the desirable student city line-up, London is culturally diverse, full of history and perpetually busy. It’s also perpetually popular with students: there are more international students here than in any other city, and of its more than 40 universities, two fall within the world’s top 10. While it’s an expensive place to live, a number of reductions available for students soften the blow to the wallet. With an endless supply of sights, culture, music and quintessential British pubs, you’ll never be bored.

Prague, Czech Republic

Along the banks of the Vltava River, Prague has been an economic and cultural hub of Eastern and Central Europe for over 1,000 years. Visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage- listed city are drawn in by its majestic buildings and stay to explore its cobblestoned streets full of small cafes and old-fashioned bars. Three of Prague's universities are ranked among the best in the world and there's a great social scene for students. Whether it’s jazz lounges, old structures converted into late-night discothèques or old bunkers converted into makeshiftdrinking establishments, the scene is constantly reinventing itself.

Uppsala, Sweden
Uppsala is a picturesque city with a medieval cathedral and its own castle. It's also home to the oldest university in Sweden, dating back to 1477. Eight graduates of the prestigious Uppsala University are Nobel Prize winners, and every year Nobel laureates visit the university to hold free open lectures. The university’s faculties are spread around the city, creating a nice blend of student vibe and historical city centre throughout. Plus - requiring only 40 minutes by train to get to Stockholm, it's easy to get a big city fix when needed.

Zurich, Switzerland


Located on the edge of a beautiful lake and river, with some of the most breathtaking scenery in Europe at its doorstep, Zurich is home to ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. ETH Zurich, at 12th in the world, is the highest ranked university outside the US and UK. As the economic centre of Switzerland, Zurich is home to numerous international companies, providing many options for work experience and internships. High living costs are offset by a high quality of life and a thriving student community. Students flock to Zurich West, the city's former industrial quarter and current cultural hotspot.

Munich, Germany
Bavarians are fiercely proud of their culture and Munich is a great city to experience it first-hand. As the third largest city in Germany with the country's second and third ranked universities, Munich is an economic hub that manages to be both vibrant and laid back. Close to the Bavarian Alps, it is home to one of Europe’s best football teams (Bayern Munich), great museums, bars and clubs, and the world-famous Oktoberfest beer festival.

Susy Peddie lives in Berlin (another great university city!) and works for GoEuro, a multimode search engine that helps you find the fastest and cheapest travel combinations in Europe.

This article was written by a third party.

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