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Survey finds rise in student satisfaction and challenges to top study destinations

The US is the only country of the top four study abroad destinations rated above global average for student satisfaction in survey of 126,000 international students

    Seeta Bhardwa's avatar

    Seeta Bhardwa

    Editor, THE Student
    November 7 2023
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    The US was the only country among the top four study abroad destinations to be rated above the world average for student satisfaction in a global survey of 126,000 international students.

    The 2023 Global Student Satisfaction Awards, conducted by Studyportals, Unibuddy and the British Council IELTS, asked international students from almost every nation to rate their study experience in 126 countries.

    Students were asked to score their university and their country of study across a range of topics, including the admissions and application process, support from teaching staff, the online classroom experience, student diversity, quality of student life and career development.

    Overall, students globally were found to be satisfied with their study experience abroad: the average student satisfaction score was 4.21, on a scale from 1 to 5. The average score in 2021, when the last survey was conducted, was 3.70.

    While still in the top 20 for overall student satisfaction, three of the Big Four overseas study destinations, the UK, Australia and Canada, were rated below the global average. However, satisfaction rates in Canada have risen since 2021.

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    Hungary, Germany and Portugal topped the table for overall global student satisfaction, with Portugal registering the highest increase in satisfaction from 2021.

    Studyportals chief executive and co-founder Edwin van Rest said: “The Global Student Satisfaction Awards is the only global programme which recognises the best universities from the perspective of students. Student satisfaction is higher across all categories, and this is a fantastic compliment to the higher education sector. However, we are seeing issues with the performance of the Big Four, which they need to address, and with one in five English-taught programmes delivered outside the Big Four, there is more competition for students in more destinations.”

    The University of Navarra in Spain topped the table for overall student satisfaction, while Dublin City University in Ireland was ranked highest for career development. Two US universities were rated the highest for the online learning experience and student-teacher interaction (The University of the People and Denison University, respectively). The University of Klagenfurt in Austria was scored the highest for student diversity, University West in Sweden topped the table for admissions processes, and Semmelweis University in Hungary came first for quality of student life.

    Since 2021, the results show that the student experience has improved in almost every category.

    The full report can be viewed here.

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