The UK’s Best University Cities For International Students

Every year, universities in the UK welcome thousands of students from all over the world.

Recent statistics show that the total number of international students in 2021/22 was about 680,000, with University College London taking the crown of university with the most non-UK undergrads and postgrads. In fact, London University had a total of 24,145 students enrolled, closely followed by the likes of Manchester University (18,170), Edinburgh University (18.050), and Glasgow University (17,390).

When choosing a university, the degree subject and course offerings should be at the top of your priority agenda. However, as an international student moving to a new country, finding the right place to call ‘home’ is just as important.

Abodus Student Living, a leading expert in providing homely student accommodation, lists some of the best university cities for international students to help you choose your future home with more confidence.


Leeds is a vibrant city rich in shopping centres, trendy nightclubs, and music festivals. Remember that university life isn’t exclusively about studying – you should enjoy yourself, too, and Leeds is no doubt the perfect place for plenty of recreational me-time.

Aaron Kirkwood, head of sales and marketing at Abodus Student Living, said: “Leeds is home to some world-class universities, including the academically acclaimed University of Leeds and the sport-famous Leeds Beckett University.

“But as well as being renowned for their tip-top degree courses, Leeds universities boast a diverse and multicultural campus that unites students from all over the globe. You’re bound to meet peers from every corner of the world, and you might even pally up with students from your own home country.

“There are also plenty of great, cosy student lets in Leeds, where you can spend time studying for your upcoming exams or unwind after a busy day of lectures. But if you’re in the mood for a stroll in town, there are infinite bars, pubs, and restaurants to tickle your appetite, or fascinating museums and art galleries to really spark your creativity.”


London is one of the most exciting cities in the world, with so much to do and enjoy all year round.

More than four in 10 London residents were born outside of the UK, so it’s fair to say that England’s capital city is a melting pot with hundreds of cultures, cuisines, and international communities. This means you’ll never struggle to find friends who are in your same away-from-home situation.

One of the best parts about London is that you’ll be spoilt for choice when planning your post-lecture activities or weekends. Fancy a memorable evening of singing and dancing? The West End stages several incredible theatre productions that will truly keep you on the edge of your seat.

Or, if you are looking for a relaxing walk away from the hustle and bustle of the capital’s busy roads, hop over to one of the city’s many parks. You can spot free-roaming deer in Richmond Park, kick back in a deckchair in Hyde Park, or stop and smell the roses in Regent’s Park.

When it comes to universities, numerous prestigious institutions across the metropolis offer all sorts of courses. No matter if you’re into science or philosophy, there is no doubt something for everyone.


Named the world’s friendliest city in 2022, Glasgow is a quirky, welcoming location that hosts over 130,000 UK and international students.

Glaswegians are well-known for their kindness and good humour and will never fail to put a big smile on your face. If you’re ever feeling blue or homesick, just have a chat with one of the locals – they’re likely to cheer you up in no time!

Universities in Glasgow are also top-tier, featuring several international societies within their student union where people meet up for relaxed social events on a regular basis.

Another appealing aspect of this Scottish city is that it’s reasonably cheap to navigate and live in. So, if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll be happy to know that you can get around, explore, and have fun without having to break the bank.


Known for their teaching excellence, Bristol University and the University of the West of England (UWE) are respected colleges with strong links to various industries. Whatever your passion, you can certainly pursue the career of your dreams in Bristol.

Aaron added: “Bristol is renowned across the country for its independent spirit. You will find loads of cool vintage shops, quaint markets, one-off boutiques along its streets, and a big shopping centre to suit your everyday needs.

“If you’re a party animal, rest assured that the city’s nightlife scene is very lively, boasting a wide range of clubs, pubs, and restaurants. But if you’re more into chilled and cultural activities, there are museums, galleries, and planetariums in abundance, too.

“It is also a multiethnic, diverse place to study in. For example, 28% of students at Bristol University are international, with more than 150 countries represented.”


Edinburgh is another great city to experience student life and kickstart your professional career.

The Scottish capital is the UK’s greenest city, dotted with over 130 public parks and a high ratio of trees per resident, making it the ideal place for looking after your physical and mental wellbeing. What’s better than a stroll with a view after hours of lectures and study sessions?

Edinburgh is also a thriving hub of international students, with scholars flying from all over the world to benefit from first-class education. And with the stunning architecture and majestic castle as a picturesque backdrop, it’s easy to find the inspiration you need to nail your assignments.

The city is famous for its Fringe Festival, too, a month-long performance arts event that attracts actors, artists, and visitors from all continents. With so much going on, you’re bound to live the best years of your life and meet friendly people from all backgrounds.

So, what do you think? Does any of these cities tick all the right boxes? The UK is packed with vibrant, welcoming university locations – with a bit of research, you’ll be able to identify the perfect home… away from home!