Munich and Berlin among the ‘most popular university cities in the world’

Munich and Berlin among the 'most popular university cities in the world'
Young people sitting on scaffolding at the Hackerbrücke bridge in Munich in August. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Felix Hörhager
Munich is the second most popular university city in the world, according to a new ranking.

Berlin, which scored fifth place, is also in demand among students, the new ranking of the best student cities worldwide by higher education network QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) shows. 

QS compared more than 100 study destinations with a population of at least 250,000, and at least two universities for for their 2022 list.

To decide on the most popular places for people to study, they looked at factors including university rankings, safety, desirability and affordability. More than 95,000 students were asked for their views. 

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London, which is home to several top universities including UCL and Imperial College London, topped the list again for 2022.

“The city has been a student favourite for years and has plenty of world-class academic institutions for students to choose from,” QS said.

Munich surpassed Berlin, climbing to second place and becoming one of the top destinations in the world for students.

“Munich’s impressive feat in this year’s ranking was no doubt helped by increase in the desirability, employer activity and affordability ranking indicators, probably due to the city’s lower prices compared to other European hubs, quality of life, ease of getting around, nightlife and Bavarian friendliness,” said QS. 

Munich is close to nature. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Peter Kneffel

The higher education network also highlighted that no tuition fees are charged for undergraduate students at public universities in the majority of Germany, regardless of the student’s nationality, making the country a popular choice for internationals.

Munich is home to institutions including the Technische Universität München (TU) and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.

Berlin, meanwhile, was praised for its diversity. Around 20 percent of students in Berlin come from outside Germany.

High quality of life in Munich – but housing situation difficult

Keerthi Gaddameedi, who came to Munich three years ago to do her Master’s in computer science, told broadcaster BR24 that the international reputation of these universities attracted her to the Bavarian capital. 

But there is a catch. The housing market is a “disaster”, according to Yigit Burdurlu, who is also enrolled at the TU.

“I moved five or six times in one year,” Gaddameedi added. “After a year, I was done with it, went to the student union and said, ‘Give me a room or I’m moving back to India.'”

READ MORE: Housing: How did it get so expensive to live in Munich? 

In the end, they both found accommodation in the Studentenstadt, a large development in the north of Munich where rent is affordable.

In the ranking, Munich scores highly in terms of quality of life.

And when it comes to leisure time, lakes and hiking routes that are easy to reach by car or train beckon. In 2018, Munich was named the world’s most liveable city by British magazine Monocle.

Gaddameedi, 24, also said she felt safe in Munich. 

Neither of the students is sure yet whether they want to stay after graduation.

Burdurlu said: “I want to live in a city where I can afford a house and a garden. That’s difficult in Munich. But if I find something good, a good job, I would love to stay here.”

Elsewhere in the list, Seoul and Tokyo took joint third place with Melbourne coming in 6th, Zurich 7th, Sydney 8th and Boston and Montreal coming in at joint 9th.


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