This year’s QS Best Student Cities index includes a brand new Student View category, based on ratings from students and recent graduates. The results are in some ways surprising, suggesting that the most iconic and in-demand cities (think London, Paris, NYC…) do not necessarily live up to expectations, while lesser-known cities often make for happier students.

Between December 2016 and January 2017, more than 18,000 students and graduates rated their cities in eight categories: arts and culture, affordability, nightlife, employment opportunities, diversity, tolerance and inclusion, ease of getting around, and friendliness. They were also asked whether they would stay, or had stayed, in the city after graduating.

Here’s the Top 10:

  1. Ottawa
  2. Prague

“The capital of the Czech Republic, known for its attractive and historic architecture, thriving nightlife and low costs. Prague gets especially high ratings for arts and culture, ease of getting around, affordability and diversity. Students praise the city’s beauty, location in the heart of Europe, low living costs and wide range of things to do, see, eat and drink.”

3. Shangai

4. Brno – Montreal -Nottingham

“Brno is considerably less well-known than Prague, but it’s almost on a par with the capital in delivering a great student experience. The city gets extremely strong ratings for tolerance and inclusivity, and ease of getting around, while also scoring very well for both affordability and nightlife. Respondents praised the attractiveness of the city, as well as the large and friendly student community.”

7. Boston

8. Seoul – Kyoto

10. Taipei

A special mention also goes to:

  • Riyadh – highest-rated for employment opportunities;
  • Vienna – top for arts and culture;
  • Canberra – the friendliest city according to students;
  • Brisbane – the number one student city for diversity;
  • Nanjing – highest-rated for tolerance and inclusion;
  • Oslo – number one for ease of getting around.
Dave Patterson is a content marketer. A writer by day and a reader by night. Coffee addict.