European universities with the continent’s highest diversity of international students have been identified in the inaugural QS Europe University Rankings, with institutions in Spain, Poland and Switzerland taking the top three spots.
IE University in Segovia, Spain, was ranked top in the international student diversity category, followed by Vistula University in Warsaw, Poland, and EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Other universities with the highest ratios of student nationalities are Poland’s University of Economics and Human Sciences in Warsaw, Maastricht University in the Netherlands, Cyprus’s University of Nicosia and the University of Luxembourg.
QS says that universities with sizeable populations of students from a variety of nationalities can bring opportunities for networking, cultural exchanges in addition to more diverse learning experiences and alumni diversity.
Only this month, IE University announced 23 new full-time professors and researchers with international profiles had joined its faculty.
The UK’s top ranked university for diversity is Coventry University, which is placed number eight, ahead of the University of Sunderland in 10th.
The data show 162 different nationalities are represented within Coventry University Group’s seven UK locations.
Coventry University vice chancellor, John Latham, said the ranking is a “reflection of the hard work we have put into building productive relationships with organisations across the globe, all of which provides enormous benefits to students internationally and within the UK”.
He also pointed to the university’s campuses in Wroclaw in Poland, branch campus in Egypt, a joint institute in China and the recently-launched International Institutes in Morocco. Additionally, Coventry has a network of Global Hubs in China, Africa, Dubai, Singapore and Brussels, with another to open in India later this year.
QS noted that the UK achieves Europe’s third-highest average International Student Diversity indicator score per institution among locations with 10 or more ranked institutions.
Only Switzerland and Austria boast a higher average, with each benefitting from a significantly smaller number of ranked universities, it added.
However, the UK sees room for improvement in its student exchange programs, with no UK university achieving a top 20 rank for the Inbound or Outbound Student Exchange metric.
The Universite Paris-Pantheon-Assas, University of Nicosia and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona topped the inbound metric, while Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon (INSA), Comillas Pontifical University and IE University all did best in the outbound ranking.
“The UK, somewhat predictably, shines across indicators underpinned in part by the global renown of the historic Oxbridge universities and its high-impact, globally collaborative research,” QS senior vice president Ben Sowter said.
“However, signposts for success are illuminated in all locations by the respective challenges identified by the datasets, whether incentivising international faculty and students, developing cross-border research partnerships or expanding teaching capacity.”
Enhancing research productivity and student exchange programs will drive greater success among UK institutions in future rankings, he continued.
“Maintaining the UK’s global appeal will reinforce the foundation on which much of its success is built”
“Meanwhile, maintaining its competitiveness and global appeal for international students will reinforce the foundation on which much of its success is built, not to mention the vast funding that such students provide, and on which the UK has come to depend,” Sowter concluded.
Spain boasts some of the most mobile student cohorts, with three of Europe’s top five universities for Outbound Student Exchange and two for Inbound Student Exchange, more than any other country, QS added.
French institutions such as Université PSL, Sorbonne University, Université de Montpellier and Université Paris Cité do well in the international research metric, with high levels of cross-border collaboration, while Germany’s “premier institutions produce an exceptional amount of research”.
The Netherlands “commands the region’s greatest overall renown among international employers and academics alike”, and Italy shines for outbound student mobility, the ranking shows.
Italy has more universities in the top 50 for outbound students, with Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and Free University of Bozen-Bolzano all represented in the top 15 in that metric.
Switzerland also excels for internationalisation, boasting one of Europe’s most diverse student and faculty cohorts, which QS noted is particularly pronounced for the international faculty ratio.
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