Spending a semester in a foreign country is usually billed as a way for college kids to acquire experience with different cultures and environments, but U.S. students studying abroad seem drawn to places where most people speak their language.
London, Oxford, and Cambridge are the most searched-for cities by U.S. students who hope to study overseas, according to a report published Wednesday by Google.
Google analyzed its data to find the volume of U.S. queries for a list of global cities that included search terms “relating to higher education.” After London, Oxford, and Cambridge, U.S. students searched the most for Edinburgh, Melbourne, Seoul, Sydney, and Dublin. Nine of the top 20 cities were in the U.K. Just three of the top 20—Hong Kong, Singapore, and Shanghai—were Asian cities.
London, Oxford, and Cambridge are the three most searched- for cities in the world among U.S. students looking to study abroad. Melbourne, Australia; Seoul, Korea; and Sydney, Australia also ranked highly.
Even when Google rearranged its rankings to exclude searches for specific university names, London was the most searched-for city, followed by Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, and Singapore. “No matter how we looked at it, by university brand or just generic keywords, there is no doubt that London and the United Kingdom are the biggest magnets for U.S. students looking to study abroad,” said Harry Walker, education industry head at Google.
Why London? Beloved accents and academic powerhouses aside, London is a hub of business and finance—the most searched-for subject among U.S. students looking to study in the city, Google says. Students might also be drawn to the city’s eminence in fashion, medicine, and art, Google’s data suggests. Bonus: It doesn’t hurt that there’s no language barrier to grapple with.