8 of the Best Places to Study Abroad in Asia
Want to study in Earth’s largest and most populous continent, Asia? Whether you’re a student from ‘the western world’ looking for somewhere different, or from an Asian country yourself, the region offers something for everyone. With so many possibilities, you may be wondering which study destination is the right one for you. To celebrate the launch of the latest QS Asia University Rankings, here are eight possible study destinations for you to consider.
Each of the following options not only boasts a number of prestigious universities in the 2019 edition of the Asian rankings, but also offers a unique and memorable study abroad experience. 17 Asian locations also feature in the top 50 of the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings 2018, which showcases the strongest higher education systems in the world. Of these, China, South Korea and Japan are all in the top 10.
Starting off with Southeast Asia, Malaysia is a good option for students looking to immerse themselves in an array of cultures and settings. Malaysia is becoming a higher education hub, with its system ranked 25th in the world. It’s also currently in the process of expanding its higher education strategy, which involves welcoming international branch campuses of well-respected overseas universities such as the UK’s University of Nottingham (often with far lower tuition fees at the branch campus than you would have paid at the main branch). International students are attracted to Malaysia’s exciting cities, fantastic natural beauty and scenery, and low costs both in terms of tuition fees and living expenses. In fact, capital city Kuala Lumpur was ranked as the second most affordable student city (and the most affordable in Asia) in the QS Best Student Cities 2018.
‘Asian Tiger’ Taiwan is ideal for students interested in technology and innovation. It’s famed for its world-leading tech-industry, with many universities located close to its answer to the US’s Silicon Valley, Hsinchu Science Park. Overall, Taiwan has a strong higher education system (ranked 19th in the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings), as well as a lively and varied culture which mixes both the traditional and modern, with influences from mainland China evident in its architecture, cuisine and of course the official language. An increasing number of overseas students are choosing to study in Taiwan, which like Malaysia is quite affordable in terms of both tuition fees and living costs. Taiwan has 36 entrants in the latest Asian rankings, with five in the top 50. Its highest ranked institution is National Taiwan University (NTU) in 22nd place.
The next in our list of best places to study abroad in Asia is Indonesia, which is home to the largest economy in Southeast Asia, and the world’s fourth-largest population. Indonesia is incredibly diverse, with hundreds of individual ethnic groups, languages and cultures mixed in to a friendly and tolerant nation. Overall, Indonesia is a great choice for students looking to broaden their horizons. Higher education in Indonesia has grown significantly since the country gained independence in 1945, and the country is currently hosting around 5,700 international students, many of whom hail from neighboring Malaysia. Indonesia is another inexpensive study abroad destination, with tuition fees as low as US$3,000 a year for some subjects. 22 Indonesian universities rank in the top 350 in the latest Asian rankings, with Universitas Indonesia (University of Indonesia/UI) the highest ranked at 57th.
China is one of the world’s most popular non-Anglophone study destinations, with 377,000 international students enrolled in 2014. A huge contender in trade, tourism and education, China has one of the largest and strongest higher education systems in the world, positioned eighth in the system strength rankings. As one of the largest destinations in the world, with a 5,000-year history, China also offers a plethora of tourist destinations and both ancient and modern culture to explore outside of your studies. Both capital city Beijing and Shanghai were ranked among the world’s best student cities in 2018, home to some of Asia’s most respected universities. A total of 113 Chinese universities are featured in the Asian rankings, with Tsinghua Universityleading the way for China at joint third, up from sixth last year.
The small, densely populated city-state of Singapore is thriving as a center of excellence in higher education, with National University of Singapore (NUS) ranked first in the Asian rankings, while Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is joint third alongside Tsinghua University. Singapore itself has a reputation as a world leader in research and innovation, and enjoys economic prosperity, low levels of crime and unemployment, and a strong corporate reputation – which means graduates of the state are highly sought-after by employers. Singapore is well known as a melting pot of cultures, languages and religions, with a mixed Chinese, Malaysian and Indian population each adding influences to the city’s unique identity. The nation’s core principles are of meritocracy, multiculturalism and secularism (religious freedom), and Singapore’s higher education system was ranked 28th in the system strength rankings this year.
The next in our list of best places to study abroad is Japan, ranked 10th in the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings. Recent years have seen the country take steps to attract more international students, increasing the number of English-taught programs and making it easier to apply. Like Singapore, Japan’s rich cultural heritage mixes the old and new, with international students unlikely to be bored, particularly in megacities such as Tokyo, which was ranked second in the QS Best Student Cities 2018. A great study destination for both tech-lovers and foodies, Japan attracted a record-breaking 267,000 international students in 2017, and although its living costs are higher than elsewhere in Asia, tuition fees are still far lower than in other popular study destinations. Japan’s highest-ranked university in the Asian rankings is the University of Tokyo at 11th, and 88 more Japanese universities feature in the top 500 in Asia.
7. South Korea
A leading Asian powerhouse in education, technology and tourism, South Korea is another ‘Asian Tiger’, full of diverse culture, ambition and independence. Boasting one of the largest economies in the region, South Korea has invested strongly in research and education. The country’s higher education system was placed ninth in the system strength rankings, are South Korean universities are considered some of the most prestigious in Asia. The bustling and vibrant capital, Seoul, was ranked 10th in the Best Student Cities 2018, but nature-lovers will also be able to enjoy the country’s mountain peaks, natural parks and dense forests. 58 South Korean universities feature in the top 500 of the Asian rankings this year, with KAIST – Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, located in the technological center of Daejeon, the highest ranked at eighth.
8. Hong Kong
Heading to Hong Kong for the last of our list of best places to study abroad in Asia, this autonomous territory of China has become celebrated for its fusion of Eastern and Western culture, as well as being a major world hub for commerce, finance, trade and logistics. Hong Kong is an attractive option for many international students, with a range of reputed universities, use of English in both everyday life and education, easy access to mainland China, and a multicultural and forward-thinking society. With a higher education system which has been ranked 18th in the world, Hong Kong is another one of the four ‘Asian Tigers’, being one of the world’s most significant financial centers. Hong Kong was ranked 12th in the Best Student Cities index, and of the seven universities in Hong Kong which feature in the Asian rankings, three are in the top 10, including University of Hong Kong(HKU) at second and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology(HKUST) at seventh.
Study in Asia
If you want to study in Asia, then you need to know which of its universities are right for you. Times Higher Education World University Rankings take the top institutions in the world, and look at their performance across all of their core objectives: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.
Choosing where to study for a degree in Asia is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. THE’s student resources are here to help you make the right choice, particularly if you want to study abroad. Explore the universities of Asia below – we’ve pulled together some information that we hope will help you to decide where to study.
Use the map to see where Asia’s top universities are located, and if any institutions are of particular interest, you can click on their name, or the “explore” button, to find out more. We’ve also pulled in information about how much Asia is investing in its higher education, and also how many people live there.
STUDY IN MALAYSIA
Malaysia is a country of contrasts and an interesting place to study. Quality of living and affordability make Malaysia a prime, hassle-free study destination for international students. Malaysia is also carving a name as the centre of academic excellence in South-East Asia, where educational opportunities are abundant. Kuala Lumpur, its capital, is a modern technologically-developed hub of business and trade.
STUDY IN SINGAPORE
Mixing cutting-edge infrastructure, a world-class education system and a dynamic cosmopolitan vibe, Singapore combines the best of Eastern and Western cultures. Singapore’s status as a leading finance, business and education hub with a colourful multi-cultural heritage allows for a unique learning experience. A number of international institutions and top-ranked global universities are ready to welcome you with open arms.
STUDY IN HONGKONG
With English readily spoken throughout Hong Kong, students from abroad feel instantly at home in this bustling region where opposites infuse with each other at every turn; whether east and west, tradition and innovation, or rural greenery and urban city, Hong Kong is a truly unique product of its varied history and location as a gateway to China (of which it is independent). The region is more than well-represented in official world rankings of universities, and continues to establish itself as a centre of commerce and business.
STUDY IN CHINA
With one of the world’s fastest-moving economies, life as an international student in China is also fast-paced and exciting! While it has stood in the shadows of Japan in the past, China’s higher education offering is now emerging as a powerhouse to contend even some Western countries. Chinese universities are ambitious, forward-looking and have a strong international outlook. They are also supported financially by the Chinese government, which is determined to place China firmly on the map as a quality study destination. You can find exceptionally talented staff and students at Chinese universities, making it a vibrant and youthful country to study in.
STUDY IN JAPAN
Japan is historically the best country in Asia for academic excellence and higher education, reflected in its consistently strong performance in world university rankings. Its universities have years of tradition behind them and many famous inventions, robots and brands find their roots in Japanese universities. The Japanese government is keen on welcoming international students and has set an ambitious target of attracting 300,000 overseas students to the country by 2020. Japan is sure to offer international students a rich cultural experience as well as a safe and dynamic learning environment.
STUDY IN SOUTH KOREA
South Korea is one of Asia’s most up and coming higher education destinations. The country is already well on the radar of many international students as it offers a high quality of life, reputable universities and a large number of English taught programmes. While it is steeped in tradition, South Korea also embraces modernity and cities like Seoul offer a safe but buzzing environment for studying and socialising. The government has set a target of 200,000 international students by 2020 and the country looks set to make things even easier for foreign students to study there in the future.
HOW TO APPLY
APPLY FOR THE FOLLOWING SCHOLARSHIPS IN ASIA CONTINENT
1. SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY IN MALAYSIA 202-2021
2. SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY IN SINGAPORE 2020-2021
3. SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY IN HONG KONG 2020-2021
4. SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY IN CHINA 2020-2021
5. SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY IN JAPAN 2020-2021
6. SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY IN SOUTH KOREA 2020-2021