Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Auckland makes list of best cities for students

AUT international students (from left) Anna Kelner, Melissa Wu and Yvonne Yang find Auckland a safe city and its population friendly. Photo / Dean Purcell
AUT international students (from left) Anna Kelner, Melissa Wu and Yvonne Yang find Auckland a safe city and its population friendly. Photo / Dean Purcell

Auckland has been ranked among the top cities in the world for students to pursue a university education.

The City of Sails was listed as the 18th best city by London-based Quacquarelli Symonds in its annual Best Student Cities ranking released today.

The ranking looks at education quality, student mix, quality of living, employer activity and affordability and compares how attractive 98 cities are for both local and international students.

Paris topped the list, followed by London and Singapore, while Sydney and Melbourne were fourth and equal fifth respectively.

Two pre-requisites were needed; the first is that the city must have a population of over 250,000 and the second that it must have at least two ranked institutions in the QS World University Rankings.

Auckland met the requirement after AUT University entered the university rankings for the first time in September, along with the University of Auckland.

"With AUT's inclusion this year, Auckland rightly deserves its position in the top 50 list," said QS head of research Ben Sowter.

"The city's strengths clearly lie in its high quality of living, scoring 91 out of a possible 100 points, student mix at 84 points and employer activity at 79 points."

The report says Auckland is well known for its multicultural diversity and wide range of adrenaline-fuelled activities in and around the local area, such as climbing, sailing, surfing and diving.

"This is definitely a good choice for any students who like to unwind by getting outdoors," it said.

"There's also plenty to offer from classical music to the huge annual Pasifika festival."

Other cities that have also made it to the top 50 list for the first time include Oslo (48) and Prague (45).

No other New Zealand cities have two tertiary institutions on the top 500 list.

AUT University vice-chancellor Derek McCormack said: "Auckland is a great city for students, both Kiwi and international, and we are delighted that our success is helping to promote that.

"Being ranked does make AUT and Auckland City an attractive prospect, as international rankings are important for offshore students when weighing up their options."

Russian student Anna Kelner, 28, an English diploma student at AUT, said Auckland was great because of the activities and its "wide open spaces".

"I just love the parks, beaches and all the green open spaces and I feel safe going there," she said.

Her course mate Yvonne Yang agreed. The 24-year-old from China said that with the help of friendly Aucklanders, her English had improved more in the past year than during her four years in Singapore.

In good company

1. Paris
2. London
3. Singapore
4. Sydney
5=. Melbourne
5=. Zurich
7. Hong Kong
8. Boston
9. Montreal
10. Munich
18. Auckland.

Source: Quacquarelli Symonds Best Student Cities.

Go to to vote on NZ's best student city.

- NZ Herald

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