London tops Google poll of most searched for city by US students

11 February 2015

London is the most popular city in the world among US students who are looking to study overseas, according to new internet search results published by Google today (11 February).

The in-depth analysis that places London ahead of Paris, Barcelona, Berlin and Singapore as the favourite place for US students to study will be announced by the Mayor of London who is currently leading a trade mission to the United States aimed at strengthening economic and cultural ties between London and the US. The research will also reveal that universities in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of London, Oxford and Cambridge dominate internet searches.

Google’s Education team analysed US internet searches during 2014 focusing on international student destinations and found that:


  • London is the most searched for city by US students looking for higher education options outside North America. The most popular cities worldwide are London, followed by Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Singapore, Amsterdam, Rome, Dublin, Hong Kong and Oxford.


  • 15 UK universities, five from Australia, two from Korea and one from China are in the top 30. UK universities make up 8 of the top 10 most searched for universities with Oxford and Cambridge at #1 and #2 respectively. Five London universities are in the top 10. Only Dublin and the Australian National University feature from outside the UK.


  • ‘Universities in London’ is the most popular term amongst all generic searches made by US students relating to international study


Harry Walker, Google Education Industry Head, said: “We took a deep dive into the London education market to see how it ranks against other world cities. No matter how we looked at it, by university brand or just generic keywords, there is no doubt that London and the United Kingdom are the biggest magnets for US students seeking to study abroad.”

The Google research will be announced by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, during an event at the Museum of the City of New York where he will also unveil an innovative ‘Leaders of the Future Programme’ during which US students will have the opportunity of being mentored by some of the United Kingdom’s most influential business leaders.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Google have used their search data to prove what we’ve known for years - that US students love to come to London. It is no wonder we are the number one destination for US students studying abroad because London offers world class universities, has heritage and culture oozing from every pore and is the gateway from which to explore the rest of the United Kingdom and Europe.”

The ‘Leaders of the Future Programme’ aims to provide a vehicle where students and industry can look at a fresh approach to best practice and global leadership. Students selected through rigorous criteria will complete a number of two day work shadowing or mentoring placements with senior and influential figures within participating companies, which include Lebara Group, McCann Health, MedCity and UK Power Networks.

The Mayor added: “London universities are already collaborating with their US counterparts to solve world health problems and create the best business brains, and now the ‘Leaders of the Future Programme’ will enable the most promising students to receive masterclasses on leadership skills from influential business people and leading academics. The programme will help identify the next generation of men and women who will not only act as ambassadors for the city but will be coming back to London to build the global companies of tomorrow.”

A spokesman for the Lebara Group, added: “Our company culture is that we want to give something back and make a difference to communities and people throughout the world. If we can be part of educating the leaders of tomorrow with this philosophy then we are proud to be supporting this initiative.”

The theme of the Museum of the City of New York event will be ‘London: Connecting you with the World’ and it has been organised by the London Universities International Partnership (LUIP), a collaboration of 18 world class London higher education institutions, seeking to promote the city internationally. It forms part of the Mayor’s official trade mission to the East Coast of America where he is leading a high level delegation aimed at strengthening ties between London and the United States.

During the event the Mayor will be joined by 300 guests from the LUIP institutions, leading US and UK educational figures and alumni. The 18 LUIP institutions have produced short films about their universities and guests will be entertained to a contemporary dance specially choreographed by two former US students and Fulbright Scholars Kyle Bukhari and Ryan Rockmore, who attended the University of Roehampton, and Gemma Donohue, a dance teacher at Roehampton. The music has been composed for the occasion by a student at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Gary Davies, Chair LUIP, said: “It is great to come to America to celebrate the exciting collaborations going on between the two cities and to let prospective students find out first hand from our impressive US alumni how they gained a truly international perspective and an experience of a lifetime by choosing London.

“It is a fantastic city to study in and not just because of the quality of education but because students can make connections with like-minded people, who share their goals, and come to London from almost every nation on earth; creating an important global network that will last them their lifetime and be invaluable in their future careers.”

London is the most popular city in the world for US students, outside North America with nearly 30,000 studying in the city. According to the latest figures the city welcomes 6,440 students on undergraduate and postgraduate courses. On top of this London opens its doors to about 22,000 US students who arrive for a 5 or 16 week period as part of the ‘Study Abroad’ programme and thousands more who come on two week ‘Study Tours’, to learn about our literary greats like Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde, making London easily the number one city in the world for US students.

The city has the most international students of any city in the world. Well over 100,000 students from over 200 countries study in London making up about a quarter of the total higher education student population in the city. International students account for just over 25% of the total London student population and contribute over £2.5 billion to the economy per annum.

According to two of the most influential university rankings in the world no city on earth beats London for a university education. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings says London has the greatest concentration of first class universities of any city in the world and that the ‘Golden Triangle’ of London, Oxford and Cambridge is the global hotbed of higher education, offering more top ranked universities than anywhere else. The QS World University Rankings also say London is the world’s top city for leading universities with the highest number of top rated universities in the world, with five in the global 100.

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