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What are the World's Safest Cities and Why Study in Them?

Excellent, rigorous, and well-designed degree programs exist all over the world so it can be difficult to choose between them. One factor that can help you in deciding where to invest in your educational experience is the safety of the city where you’re looking to study in. Rankings of safe cities assess cities by looking at four factors of security: digital, health, infrastructure, and personal. Finding the perfect fit, in both your degree program and the city you want to live in, is kind of like online dating -- you have to be patient and weigh up all your options! Here are The Economist's top ten safest cities in the world and some highlights on what each has to offer, as well as recommendations for degrees or academic tracks to pursue in each.

Oct 13, 2019
  • Study Abroad
What are the World's Safest Cities and Why Study in Them?

Rankings of safe cities put out by The Economist assess cities by looking at four factors of security: digital, health, infrastructure, and personal. Francesa Street, writing for CNN.com, found, “While analyzing a city's resilience, the Safe Cities Index looked at the emergency services available in the city, transport facilities, catastrophe insurance, disaster-risk development and cyber-security preparedness.” This is just one factor in deciding where you’ll want to live and study.

Finding the perfect fit, in both your degree program and the city you want to live in, is kind of like online dating -- you have to be patient and weigh up all your options! Here are the top ten safest cities in the world, according to The Economist's respected Safe Cities Index, and some highlights on what each has to offer, as well as recommendations for degrees or academic tracks to pursue in each.

10. Melbourne, Australia: world-class universities, research facilities in an English-speaking country, rated the world's most livable city

An English-speaking country with several world-class universities and research facilities, Australia has a lot to offer in terms of higher education. The second biggest city in the country, Melbourne, situated in the state of Victoria, is known for its cultural diversity, excellent dining options for all budgets, and amazing street art. It's also known for being the coffee capital of the world and has been named the world's "most liveable city" for six years in a row by The Economist's global liveability survey.

Experts from StudyMelbourne report that the city offers many excellent opportunities for students. They explain, “Victoria is a global knowledge hub and we attract the world's best academics and researchers. Whether your study involves research, technical training, English language or business you'll [be] learning with the best -- on campuses that offer a rich and rewarding student experience."

Former RMIT student Jatin Lamba says, “I come from Mumbai and have been living in Melbourne for the past 15 years. I love the lifestyle, everything is easy here. Every time I go back to Mumbai to visit my family I can’t wait to get back [to Melbourne] – there are just too many people there, things take so much longer.”

8 (joint). Copenhagen, Denmark: happiness, robotics, and sustainability

Maybe you’re looking for that quintessential Scandinavian experience? Look no further than Copenhagen, Denmark. Regularly ranked among the top three in the World Happiness Report, Denmark’s lifestyle even has a name -- “hygge” which is often translated into a feeling or mood or even a vibe. "Hygge could be families and friends getting together for a meal, with the lighting dimmed, or it could be time spent on your own reading a good book." And Meik Wiking, the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, says, "[W]hat freedom is to Americans...hygge is to Danes."

Aside from a culture that cultivates happiness, Denmark leads the world in sustainable research and innovation as it aims to be the first carbon-neutral capital in the world by 2025, according to Forbes.com. With such a strong commitment to sustainability, it’s no surprise that Copenhagen boasts that it’s a capital that has “more bikes than people.” Going hand in hand with its innovations in sustainability, Copenhagen has become a haven and a hotbed for cutting-edge developments in robotics. Joost Nijhoff, the director at Invest in Odense, one of the biggest financial backers of Danish robotics, says, "There's nowhere else in the world where you would find so many robotics companies and roboticists working together in an area that you can cover by bicycle in 30 minutes." Copenhagen might just have what you’re looking for...

8 (joint). Seoul, South Korea: information and communication technology

Was “Gangnam Style” your jam a few years back? (Or is it still?!) Are you a not-so-secret-fan of the Korean boy band BTS? South Korea, and its capital Seoul, is an East Asian powerhouse, and not just in terms of exporting popular dance music. In fact, Korea’s information and communication technology is considered by some to be the best in the world.

Seoul is a modern, clean, and vibrant city with well designed infrastructure. Students who are interested in information or technology should pay attention to what Seoul has to offer. For example, two of the world’s prominent electronics companies, Samsung and LG, are based in South Korea. Some students get internships at some of the world's leading tech firms -- a great step for their future career.

And that's not to mention the delicious food. “South Korea has become better known for its technology than its food. However, thanks to delicacies like kimchi, the Korean cuisine is getting more and more global attention due to its various delicious dishes. For a South Korean, cooking means a great deal. That is why you can find in every corner local restaurants with high standard food,” reports AsiaExchange.org.

7. Washington DC, US: career opportunities

The United States is known for being a popular destination for international students, but many overlook the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., the heartbeat and the center of America's (and arguably the world's) political system. Being in the right place at the right time can matter a lot, especially for jobs and career opportunities. If working in politics, lobbying, or making a difference in social or political spheres are your career ambitions, then there’s no better place to study than Washington, D.C..

“D.C. is a career-oriented city. For you, this means that there are internships, jobs and volunteer opportunities in almost any field you can think of. D.C. is also home to the United States government — so whether you're interested in interning on Capitol Hill or would like to work for the Environmental Protection Agency, you're in the right place,” writes Alecia Denmark, a senior associate director for Marymount University, one of many top schools located in the Washington, D.C. area.

6. Toronto, Canada: technology

O Canada! It’s not all red maple leaves and hockey playing in Canada. Today, Toronto is becoming one of the fastest-growing cities for studying and working in technology. According to recent reports, the city has the second fastest-growing market for tech jobs in North America.

“Absolutely I think that Toronto’s tech scene is booming,” says Lara Torvi, manager of media and community relations for tech startup firm MaRS. “We shouldn’t make the mistake of perceiving Toronto as less mature or smaller than we actually are. We are quite a hub and I think it’s just going to increase. We’re at a tipping point where we will become one of the world’s leading hubs for innovation.” Cities in Canada are following in Toronto’s footsteps -- offering free Wifi across the entire city of Montreal, for example!

Employing over 90,000 people, Toronto’s technology sector contributes more than $8 billion in annual employee wages; suffice to say, Toronto can set you up for success in the tech!

5. Sydney, Australia: beaches!

Or do you feel sand between your toes, with the smell and sound of the lapping waves? Then Sydney, Australia, is the place for you! In addition to many beautiful beaches, it has world-leading higher education institutions. The city Down Under plays host to two universities in the top 50 in the world, including the University of Sydney, the oldest university in Australia, and a further three in the top 500 in the world.

From small beaches outside people’s homes to beaches that stretch for miles, it can be hard to pick a favorite. “Most ‘Sydneysiders’ have a preference, depending on whether they like to swim, surf, picnic, take children or shop nearby. Some beaches are quite isolated, while others are packed with people on a hot day (Bondi Beach can have up to 40, 000 people visiting on a summer weekend),” shares SELC English Language Centers.

4. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: English-taught programs and international students

If you are looking for that European study abroad experience but don’t want to go through the hassle of learning a foreign language, then take a look at Amsterdam, where there are ample English-taught programs and throngs of international students. Chuka Nwanazia writes in the Dutch Review, “Lecturers are usually bilingual and can interact with English-speaking students easily. In addition, more than 70% of the Dutch population speak the English language and this makes international students feel at home while they study in the country. There are lots of courses to choose from and communicating with classmates and teachers isn’t a problem at all.”

“Amsterdam is teeny tiny. Surprisingly so, considering how much goes on every weekend. With only 800,000 people and tight-knit neighborhoods that you can easily cycle through, you’ll feel at home in no time,” explains iamsterdam.com. Amsterdam is also situated in an excellent location if you want to visit other parts of Europe, for extended trips or for quick weekend getaways.

3. Osaka, Japan: unique culture

Osaka, Japan’s port city and commercial center, is a major hub and a great place to immerse yourself in a unique cultural experience. It is a thriving city, Japan's third largest, full of the best of Japanese culture, both old and new. Alongside the spectacular Osaka Castle, the old downtown district of Shinsekai, and the great historical heritage of the Japanese civilization, students will experience the neon buzz of the futuristic urbanness..and of course sample Japan's myriad culinary delicacies. The city has many leading universities, including Osaka University, or OU, a Japanese national university ranked 71 in the world that was founded in 1931 as the sixth imperial university of Japan and today plays host to upwards of 20,000 students each year, including many international students.

2. Singapore: business and MBAs

Featured prominently in the smash hit romantic-comedy Crazy Rich Asians, Singapore is one of the most vibrant, dynamic, and compelling cities in the world. A major international hub for business, you will find that studying abroad in Singapore could immediately boost your business career potential.

Gayathri Jay, Senior Executive of Marketing Communications at Nanyang Business School, explains, “Nicknamed “Singapore Inc.”, the country rivals Hong Kong, Shanghai, and London as a global business center. It also boasts world-class education, a multicultural environment, innovative research, and scholarship opportunities.” Also, the British Council encourages students to consider what Singapore has to offer as a study abroad destination: “Singapore’s safety, low crime rates, and high standards of living are well renowned, offering international students an ideal environment for higher study.” If you’re looking to launch your career in business, or pursue an MBA, then Singapore might be the destination for you.

1. Tokyo, Japan: technology

The survey's safest city in the world, Tokyo offers excellent educational opportunities. Fast-paced, ever-changing, modern, clean, and safe, the Japanese capital has so much to offer international students. In particular, Tokyo is top-ranked as a tech city and it will host the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. John Murray, reporting for Medium.com, writes, “Bullet trains, robot waiters, and even space-age toilets that play ‘privacy’ noises to mask other unfortunate sounds are all part of day-to-day life in this city of the future. But the commitment to embracing new technologies goes beyond such surface-level attractions. The city provides a hospitable environment for established technology companies and startups alike.”

One example of a great higher education institution is Hosei University, a private university offering cutting-edge nanotechnology programs. Tokyo may very well be the place where the future of the tech industry is being developed and invented today. If technology is your passion, then studying in Tokyo may just be the right path for you.

“The world is your oyster” -- the popular saying encourages us to consider how you really can’t go wrong with any of the choices you make. Following your passion, in your choice of studies paired with a great location, makes enrolling in a higher education program at any of these top-ranked cities a win-win. The best thing about all of these cities is that their safety and security allows you to have peace of mind, while helping to support your personal and professional pursuits. Don’t hesitate...