Ten Countries Named Most Ideal Study Abroad Destinations in the World for 2021



Student Survey Responses and Global Trends Combine to Create the Top Ten Ranking

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN (February 4, 2021) - Ten countries have been named as the best in the world for studying abroad. The list was compiled and published by study abroad portal educations.com.


For the third consecutive year, educations.com has used the results of a student survey to weight this ranking. For example; if a certain weighting factor was cited in 8% of student responses, then it would make up 8% of each country’s score. There are also sub-factors involved. Read more about our ranking rationale here, and click here to get access to the full ranking data.


This year, students cited the want for higher quality teaching as the most important reason for studying abroad, overtaking the boost to career goals that studying abroad can bring. In fact, to access higher quality teaching more than doubled as a factor, at the expense of all other factors.


The weighting of the ranking factors, however, is based on our most recent survey conducted in October 2020, which we believe reflects students' present motivations to study abroad. Therefore, the 2021 rankings use the most recent weighting from our survey, but relies on external data that was collected earlier in 2020, before COVID-19 was designated a pandemic.


The top three remains unchanged: Canada, Australia and Germany. Despite changes in students’ reasons for wanting to study abroad, the close contenders were strong and versatile enough to go unchallenged. 


In addition to the top performers, the US and the UK have also risen up the rankings. The US has risen from fifth to fourth place, while the UK has had an impressive rise, going from eighth to fifth place. This rise could be linked to the increase in the want for higher quality teaching as the US and the UK finished top of the board in this weighting factor.


In a demonstration of the continued appeal of study abroad adventures, the Netherlands and Spain also maintained their positions. As CIO of educations.com, Fredrik Högemark, says: “Studying abroad gives fantastic opportunities to so many, and the events of 2020 have not dented students’ wants to enjoy these opportunities. Students are prioritizing their futures more than ever, with access to higher quality education, achieving the career goals and personal development being the top priorities. The countries in our top ten are excellent places where students can find just these things and so much more."


See our Top 10 global rankings, as well as our separate lists for Europe and Asia.


About educations.com: educations.com is part of EMG - Educations Media Group, the leader in education marketing in Northern Europe. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, EMG reaches out to students worldwide through its leading online services, comprehensive media partners, print, school visits and education fairs.


Picture of Kiril Tiavin
Kiril Tiavin

Kiril Tiavin works as the Digital PR Specialist at educations.com. He is responsible for promoting the educations.com brand and its campaigns. Originally from Lithuania, Kiril is passionate about studying abroad — he studied in Sweden and spent a semester in the Netherlands.