Prospective students looking to study in the most international environments in the world should apply to universities in Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore or the UK.
Universities, by their nature, are global institutions. Typically, they are home to communities of students and scholars from all over the world, and they tackle some of the globe’s most pressing problems through research.
This table – compiled using the international student score, international staff score, international co-authorship score and international reputation metrics collected for the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022 – shows that the above four countries and regions are home to some of the most international universities in the world.
These institutions all have a high proportion of international students and staff, collaborate on research with scholars from across the world, and have a strong global reputation to match. Read the full methodology at the bottom of the page.
Research suggests that diverse communities of students improve the teaching and learning experience, while opportunities for students to spend time abroad better prepare them to become global citizens.
International perspective: an Indian student in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic
International perspective: students from Hong Kong in the UK
International perspective: a Chinese student in New Zealand
International perspective: a French student in Switzerland
A day in the life of a student in Singapore
Top five most international universities in the world
The University of Hong Kong is the most international university in the world, according to THE World University Rankings data.
Overall, this Hong Kong university has more than 18,000 students, of whom more than 43 per cent are international.
Teaching at the institution is in English and education has an international focus, with the aim of preparing students to become global citizens who can succeed anywhere in the world.
The university has created a vision plan to become “Asia’s Global University” that outlines all the measures the institution will taken to expand its global outreach and to recruit more staff and students from overseas.
2. ETH Zurich
It is no surprise that Switzerland is home to some of the most international universities in the world, given its location in the heart of Europe, surrounded by France, Italy, Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein.
ETH Zurich is located in Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich, which is known for being very safe (although expensive). The primary spoken language is Swiss German, but the university also offers courses in English.
The institution has more than 22,000 students from over 120 countries and is the top university in continental Europe.
The university focuses on teaching and research in the STEM subjects, and 21 Nobel prizes have been awarded to students and teachers connected to the institution. One of the most famous alumni is Albert Einstein.
=3. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
A new entry this year, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), takes the joint third position. Also located in Switzerland, the university has more than 11,000 students and 62 per cent are international.
EPFL is highly regarded for its research and teaching in engineering. More recently, the university has branched out into the life sciences.
Students at the institution are given numerous opportunities to participate in exchange programmes with other universities in Switzerland and abroad. The university also offers an internship scheme for students enrolled at other internationally acclaimed universities to spend up to three months at one of its campus laboratories.
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The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is regarded as one of the fastest-growing universities in the world.
More than a third of the student body is considered international, with at least 60 nationalities represented. About 80 per cent of the faculty come from overseas.
More than 45 per cent of students undertake an overseas exchange, and all four academic schools have their own exchange programmes. Some 70 per cent of students participate in internships overseas.
The University of Oxford is not only the top university in the world, it also happens to be one of the most international.
Over a third of students at the University of Oxford are international students, coming from 160 countries and territories. In fact, international students have been attending the University of Oxford for hundreds of years, with the first international student arriving way back in 1190.
Almost half of the staff at the university are also international, and the institution has links with many other institutions worldwide.
Prospective international students can listen to the university’s International Students podcast, which talks you through academic and social aspects of being at Oxford.
Most international universities in the world 2022
Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2022 profile
The data in Times Higher Education’s ranking of The World’s Most International Universities 2022 are drawn largely from the “international outlook” pillar of the THE World University Rankings 2022. This takes into account a university’s proportions of international students, international staff and journal publications with at least one international co-author. Each of these elements is given equal weighting in calculating the score for this pillar.
The table adds a fourth component, which makes up 25 per cent of the total score: a university’s international reputation. This is a measure of the proportion of votes from outside the home country that the institution achieved in THE’s annual invitation-only Academic Reputation Survey, which asks leading scholars to name the world’s best universities for teaching and research in their field.
Only institutions that received at least 100 votes in the survey were eligible for inclusion. Universities must also receive at least 50 or at least 10 per cent of available domestic votes to be ranked. Once universities are included in the international list, they are only excluded if they do not meet the vote thresholds for two years in a row.
Metrics and weightings:
• 25 per cent: proportion of international staff
• 25 per cent: proportion of international students
• 25 per cent: international co-authorship
• 25 per cent: international reputation