Best 5 Study-Abroad Destinations in the World

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Written By - Binary Singh

Last Updated - 17 August, 2020 | 757 Views
Best 5 Study-Abroad Destinations in the World

Studying abroad seems to be an overwhelming experience for millions of students who believe in developing a global perspective through exposure to innovative ideas and world-class education. With so many countries offering a plethora of education opportunities, selecting an appropriate study destination is a big challenge.

Before heading to any country for higher education, it is imperative to consider a few important factors, such as the cost of education, the cost of living, the acceptance rate of international students, the return on investment, and lastly the overall advantages of studying in that country.

So how would you know which country will suit you the most? Probably international students studying in different countries can give you the real and deeper insights into the best study abroad destinations. According to one of the surveys conducted by Cturtleon on international graduates in the UK, Australia, USA, Canada, and New Zealand, the countries which have emerged as the best and popular study destinations are Canada and New Zealand. Furthermore, it was found from the study that most of the international students chose a particular university based on its overall global ranking and its location and nearly 81% of the respondents stated better career outcomes as the main reason to study abroad.

Well, this information does not seem to be solving our confusion over the best study abroad destinations. Let’s learn what it is to study in the top 6 countries for international students and choose the best one for us.


Every academic year, Canada welcomes nearly 180,000 international students from various parts of the world and notably has emerged as the most popular study-abroad destinations globally. Let’s learn how.

study in Canada

Seeking a degree from one of the Canadian universities can surely open many avenues for an international student. The academic excellence of Canadian universities has been widely recognized worldwide. 26 of the Canadian universities were ranked in the QS World University Rankings 2020 and 27 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings2020.

With a strong emphasis on research and development, Canada stands out as one of the most sought after destinations for excellent research opportunities after the USA.

The acceptance rate of international students

The acceptance rate is one of the important factors which decides the destiny of a student wishing to study abroad. Among all the popular destinations, the top Canadian universities have the highest acceptance rate which typically ranges between 40% and 58%. This implies that students have got fairly a good chance of getting into one of the reputed universities in Canada. Let’s have a look at the table given below for a clearer picture:

Name of the UniversityAverage Acceptance Rate
University of Toronto40%
McGill University41.7%
University of British Columbia52.4%
Queen’s University42%
McMaster University58.7%
University of Waterloo52%
University of Montreal57%

Considering the quality of education, Canada is much affordable than other counterparts like the USA and the UK. The tuition fee depends entirely upon the nationality and the level of study. For an international student, the tuition fee typically ranges between CA$13,500 and CA$35,000 for one academic year. One can apply for various international scholarships to study in Canada to make education more affordable.

The living expenses in Canada are much cheaper despite the high standards and high quality of living. Students get the option to choose between on-campus and off-campus accommodation options. Staying on-campus may cost around CA$8,000-CA$10,000 for a year, while staying in a shared rented apartment may cost around CA$400-CA$700 on a monthly basis.

Return on investment

A majority of the Canadian workforce is engaged in the service sector. Seeking lucrative job opportunities after completion of a formal degree is quite easy if you have the required skillset. The average salary of employees in Canada is CA$48,403 in a year, which is a decent number leading to a good return on investment.


Studying in Canada comes with pros, such as:

  • Getting a permanent residency status or Canadian Immigration is way too easier than any other country and can be obtained within 1.5-2 years with the attainment of a minimum of 67 Points.
  • Both English and French are spoken so communication is not an issue.
  • Students can work for a certain number of hours while pursuing their degree on student visas only or opt for co-op programs for better industrial exposure.
  • International students are presented with opportunities to apply for innumerable course-specific and country-specific scholarships offered both by Canadian government and many private agencies.

The reasons why it’s not a good option to study in Canada are:

  • The coursework is not that interesting and mainly comprises assignments, essays, tests, and projects.
  • Health insurance facilities are not that good for international students when compared to domestic ones.


After a gap of several years, Australia is again emerging as one of the popular destinations to study abroad. It seems that as of September 2019, Australia welcomed nearly 720,150 students, which is 11% higher than in 2018. The primary reason being it is home to some of the most renowned universities in the world, of which nearly 43 universities are quite popular among international students with 21 institutions located within the East Coast only.

However, there are other factors that make Australia a good destination for higher education, let’s find out what they are!

study in australia

The acceptance rate of international students

The acceptance rate of international students at Australian universities falls between 2-50% with an average acceptance rate being 22%. This is a fair rate of acceptance and indicates that there is a good probability of an international student to get into an Australian university if the entry requirements are met adequately.


In terms of affordability, Australia is much more expensive than any other country. The average tuition fee ranges between AU$15,00 and AU$37,000 depending upon the course one opts for.And as part of the living expenses, one needs to spend around AU$20,290 every year, which is way too high! For affordable education, one can always look for various scholarships to study in Australia.

Return on investment

According to one of the surveys conducted by IAJN on international students from China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, nearly 70% of the students were found to be happy with the return on investment. Reportedly, 50% of the students earned a salary of A$19,930 per year in their 1st job, while 33% earned over A$67,729 per year.


You can count on these pros to study in Australia:

  • One can choose to study in Australia for a variety of study options available with every university having 300+ courses and explore academic offerings of global standards.
  • High-quality education is another advantage. It seems that the Australian Quality Training Framework has been developed by the Australian government for an excellent educational experience both for domestic and international students.
  • Australia is full of multicultural populations and offers a safe and congenial environment for students.
  • The Visa rejection rate is only 8%, which is much lower than other countries like the US and UK.

Here’s why you should look for other study destinations and not Australia:

  • The living expenses are exceptionally higher, even than the US and the UK.
  • Being an international student, one needs to strive hard to get a job there as the job market is highly competitive.
  • Wifi is not available everywhere! Yes, this can be really disadvantageous for students and hamper their studies. Despite being a developed nation, it seems wifi is not available at all places.


The US has the largest population of international students in the world with over 1,000,000 students planning to enrich their educational and professional experience in the US. It is estimated that around international students account for 5% of the international student population and the number is surging day by day. Let’s find out the reasons why the US can be or cannot be a good study-abroad destination.

study in USA

The acceptance rate of international students

The higher education system of the US is regarded as the best in the world, however, in terms of the acceptance rate, it seems to be quite stringent. When compared to the top universities in Canada, the acceptance rate of the American universities is nearly 12 times lower in percentage, which is around 2-10% only. This clearly shows how difficult it is to get into the top universities in the US, until one has exceptional academic records and other competencies.

Let’s have a look at the acceptance rate of the top American universities for better insights:

University NameAcceptance Rate
Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate School2%
Curtis Institute of Music4%
Harvard University5%
Stanford University5%
Princeton University6%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology7%

Pursuing higher education in the US can be a costly affair for international students as the average cost to study in the top-tier universities may cost up to $60,000. The public universities are relatively cheaper than private ones. The tuition fee varies considerably based on the university you are enrolled in. In a public university, the tuition fee goes up to $26,290, while in a private university, the tuition fee may cost you around $35,830 averagely for international students.

Coming to the living expenses, students may have to spend between $8,660 and $12,680 depending upon the accommodation options one opts for. Looking at the expenses one may think of applying for scholarships, but unfortunately, there are only a handful of scholarships that are available for international students. Thus, it’s recommended that students arrange enough funds before heading to the US for higher studies.

Return on investment

With a GDP amounting to $18.62 trillion, the economy of the USA stands at the top. The ROI somewhat depends upon the type and level of the program completed. For instance, the probability of getting higher paycheque increases after completing an MS rather than a bachelor's degree from the US. Furthermore, a degree in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering or Management can yield better income outcomes.

After graduating from a US-based institution, one can earn $30,000 on average. After gaining some experience, one can earn nearly $60,154. However, one must learn that the jobs in the US are quite competitive and only cream-layer students can make up to a good work opportunity.


The US can be a good study destination because:

  • Exceptional quality of education is one of the biggest advantages of studying in the US. Different organizations keep reviewing the education system of institutions regularly to ensure the retainment of the quality.
  • State of the art of infrastructure is another reason. Research laboratories in the US are well equipped with all kinds of latest facilities providing best research opportunities to students.
  • Uncountable study options at the US institutions allow students to choose unique and comprehensive courses for in-depth understanding of the areas of interests.

Reasons why you need to rethink before deciding to study in the US:

  • The cost of attendance is really high which can be a major drawback for students.
  • Seeking a job in the US is quite competitive for international students. There are chances of not getting a job after graduating from a US-based institution.

New Zealand

Considering the quality of education and the ease with which students get into universities, New Zealand caters to over 60,348 international students every academic year. Notably, NewZealand has only 8 universities and all of them have found a place in the top 3% of universities in the world. Here we bring you the reasons why or why not one should prefer New Zealand as a study-abroad destination.

study in New Zealand

The Acceptance rate of international students

Getting into a university in New Zealand can be a cakewalk if students can meet the eligibility criteria adequately as the acceptance rate of the universities there is as high as 75%. One good thing is that the entry requirements are not very stringent and students with decent academic records can easily make it to one of the top universities in New Zealand.


New Zealand is one of the most affordable countries when it comes to pursuing higher education. It is said that New Zealand is 18% cheaper than in Australia and 36% cheaper than in Canada. This can be advantageous for all such students who want global exposure at affordable costs. The tuition fee and cost of living depend solely on the type of program chosen and the type of lifestyle one opts for.

The tuition fee for a UG degree ranges between NZ$ 18,000 and NZ$ 40,000, while the PG courses may cost between NZ$ 20,000 and NZ$ 35,000 every academic year. Normally, the living cost would vary between NZ$ 10,000 to NZ$ 15,000 per academic year.

Return on investment

ROI is one of the main factors one takes into consideration before planning to study abroad. Over the past few years, sectors such as construction, architecture, and design have witnessed a major surge in the salary in New Zealand and thus welcomes students in galore. Seeking a job in New Zealand is comparatively easier than countries like the US. Within two years of graduation, one can expect to earn up to NZ$ 52,690 in an year.


Pros of studying in New Zealand are:

  • As already discussed, New Zealand offers highly cost-effective education, making it one of the favourite study-abroad destinations.
  • On completion of your degree, you can apply for a Graduate Job Search Work Visa, which is generally valid up to 1 year and subsequently apply for a visa under Study to Work category after getting the offer of placement.
  • International students are offered a plethora of scholarship opportunities both by the government of New Zealand and many private organizations.

Cons of choosing New Zealand as a study-abroad destination :

  • Infrastructure-wise, the residential facilities are not that good.
  • Public transport facilities are poor and students have to mainly rely upon cabs that may further add on to their expenses.

United Kingdom

The UK is home to some of the oldest education institutions in the world. Over several years, the UK has developed an education system that is acknowledged worldwide for the best research and academic offerings. Every year, the UK witnesses over 500,000 international students enrolling in different programs. This is a huge number in itself showcasing the popularity of the UK among international students.

study in UK

Acceptance rate of international students

The UK universities are quite selective while choosing their prospective students. On analyzing the acceptance rate of different universities, it has been found that the average acceptance rate of the top-notch universities in the UK falls in the range of 22% to 38%. Hence international students get a fair chance of acceptance only if they can show skills in addition to the academic accomplishments.


Studying in the UK is quite costly when compared to the other study destinations. Over the years, a surge in the cost of attendance has been witnessed making it worrisome for international students. The tuition fee of the programs varies as per the levels and subject area, for e.g, the medical courses cost higher than the rest. Depending upon the program, the average tuition fee ranges between £10,000 and £38,000. While the average living cost may go up to £12,200 for a single academic year.

Return on investment

Although the cost of studying in the UK is exceptionally high, students can still expect a good return on investment, especially MBA graduates. With recent amendments in the work visa policies, now it has become relatively easier for international students to stay back in the UK for better job opportunities. It is said that upon graduation, one can expect a median salary of £30,000 and with experience it can go up to £90,000.


The pros of studying in the UK are:

  • The UK has emerged as one of the leading study-abroad destinations after the USA and has achieved global recognition for the quality of education and research.
  • Students get to choose between 50,000 programs, in over 25 subject areas. Usually, the programs offered in the UK are relative to shorter duration than other countries.
  • The UK is indeed a great place to study and live in having a multicultural society, variety of cuisines, good transportation system and innumerable social events.

The cons of studying in the UK are:

  • The overall cost of attendance is really high.
  • It's quite challenging to find an off-campus accommodation in the UK.
  • The jobs in the UK are highly competitive and it can be daunting for an international student to grab a job there.

So now we expect that by now you are sorted with the study-abroad destination that suits best to your requirements both in terms of education quality and affordability. We wish you the best for your future endeavors and hope that you will excel well in your career.