Best Asian countries to study abroad

April 12, 2024 •

8 min reading

Top 10 best Asian countries to study abroad - 2024 rankings

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This article gives prospective students the low-down on where to study abroad in Asia and was first published on

Our own international student survey reached 24,000 prospective students representing 230+ countries. Using the top reasons for studying abroad, ranked by students who prioritize finding the right destination country over program or school, we’ve created education rankings of the best countries to study abroad in Asia in 2024!

Our rankings of the best places in Asia to study abroad are based on multiple statistical indicators for each of these 7 factors:

  1. High-quality teaching
  2. Achieving career goals
  3. Personal development
  4. Culture and lifestyle
  5. Opportunities to network or make new friends
  6. Language learning
  7. Adventure

Top 10 places in Asia to study abroad – 2024

10. Vietnam

🌍 Ranked #43 in the world

💬 Language learning Ranked #6 in Asia

👋 Opportunities to network or make new friends Ranked #11 in Asia

Breaking into the Top 10 Places in Asia this year is Vietnam. The country's educational landscape is more accessible than ever to international students, with an increasing number of universities offering programs in English. Vietnamese culture, with its warm hospitality and deep-rooted traditions that value family and resilience, provides a welcoming environment for those studying abroad. Beyond academics, Vietnam offers unique and enriching experiences, from the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City to the serene beauty of Halong Bay. The low cost of living and vibrant street food culture make it an attractive destination for students on a budget. Overall, Vietnam presents a compelling blend of academic opportunities, cultural richness, and affordability for those seeking an international education experience.

9. Taiwan

🌍 Ranked #41 in the world

👋 Opportunities to network or make new friends Ranked #11 in Asia

🎓 High-quality teaching Ranked #5 in Asia

Taiwan is another newcomer to the list this year. This Asian country has been growing in popularity as a destination for international students, in part because the country has been actively seeking to increase the number of students from abroad. The Taiwanese government set the goal of recruiting 150,000 international students by 2020 by increasing and diversifying international programs and offering more programs taught in English. Taiwan offers highly ranked universities, a thriving tech industry, and generous scholarships. In the 16th century, Portuguese sailors dubbed the island nation Ilsa Formosa or ‘beautiful island,’ and the name fits. Taiwan features a mountainous landscape, the majority of which is covered in lush forests. Taiwan blends the ancient and modern with bustling night markets and opulent temples alongside stunning modern architecture and a vibrant nightlife.

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8. Malaysia

🌍 Ranked #31 in the world

💬 Language learning Ranked #2 in Asia

👋 Opportunities to network or make new friends Ranked #4 in Asia

Returning to our list this year, Malaysia is an attractive option for international students because it offers high-quality, affordable higher education in a country that welcomes international students with accessible visa regulations and generous scholarships. Study in one of the most dynamic countries in the world with vibrant, modern cities, idyllic beaches, and lush jungles. Malaysia is a multicultural country with influences from across Asia and the rest of the world. Historic Melaka is a time capsule of Malaysia’s colonial history, while the modern capital of Kuala Lumpur boasts one of the tallest buildings in the world. From the rural tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands to pristine dive sites off islands like Sipidan, Redang, and Tioman, you will find plenty of outdoor adventures.

7. India

🌍 Ranked #30 in the world

👋 Achieving career goals Ranked #5 Asia

💬 Language learning Ranked #3 in Asia

India rose two spots this year in our list, and with affordable, highly-ranked universities and the second-largest higher education system in the world, it is easy to see why India is growing in popularity. India is well-known as a supplier of international students to the rest of the world, with nearly 270,000 Indian students studying abroad in 2022/23. It also welcomes nearly 50,000 students annually and is working to increase the number by 2035. This historic, diverse country values education and puts its students at the center of learning. More than anything, India offers international students choice – with hundreds of cities and over 55,000 higher education institutions to choose from, international students considering India will find multiple options that suit their needs. Couple that choice with India’s rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty, and you have an ideal location for a dynamic international study experience.

6. South Korea

🌍 Ranked #28 in the world

🎒 Adventure Ranked #3 in Asia

🏖️ Culture and Lifestyle Ranked #7 in Asia

Last year, South Korea made its debut as the first Asian country on our Top 10 Places to Study in the World. It is no surprise that South Korea ranks highly for international students. With a strong reputation for academic excellence, a safe and friendly atmosphere for students, and a robust innovation and technology sector, South Korea has a lot to offer. Tuition fees and living costs in South Korea are relatively affordable compared to European and North American options, and the South Korean government offers generous scholarships to international students. Studying in South Korea also gives students the opportunity to explore this vibrant and colorful country, whose pop culture has taken the world by storm. From traditional arts and music to film festivals and K-pop, Korean cultural offerings are a perfect blend of the old and new. In South Korea, you find traditional hanok neighborhoods around the corner from futuristic architectural marvels and everything in between.

5. Indonesia

🌍 Ranked #26 in the world

🎓 High-quality Teaching Ranked #6 in Asia

👋 Opportunities to network or make new friends Ranked #1 in Asia

Indonesia is one of the largest countries – both in population and size – in Southeast Asia, and it has a higher education system to match. With nearly 3,000 public and private higher education institutions, Indonesia offers a wide variety of choices to international students. While many students come to Indonesia from nearby countries, this vast island nation is an excellent and budget-friendly option for students from around the world. Indonesia also boasts one of the fastest-growing economies in the region, with a strong focus on research and development. For students of natural history and life sciences, Indonesia offers diverse flora and fauna and geological wonders. Outside of education, Indonesia is an adventure waiting to happen. With over 17,000 islands to explore, you will find everything from busy urban centers in Jakarta and Bandung to pristine beaches in Nusa Dua and the Gili Islands, active volcanoes in East Java, to stunning colonial architecture in Bali and Semarang.

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4. Thailand

🌍 Ranked #22 in the world

Culture and lifestyle Ranked #2 in Asia

🎒 Adventure Ranked #2 in the world

Thailand ranked number one on our list of Top 10 Places to Study Abroad in Asia in 2019 and has risen four places since last year. As a popular tourist destination, Thailand has a lot to offer –fantastic nightlife, delicious street food, yoga retreats, and some of the best diving in the world. Studying in Thailand gives international students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the country’s vibrant, welcoming culture while receiving a top-quality education. Business, engineering, hospitality, and computer science are all top-ranked fields of study in Indonesia, with strong connections to the country’s economy. Many programs are taught in English, and tuition in Thailand is generally more affordable than comparable options. Studying in Thailand gives you the opportunity to explore – and network – with the rest of Southeast Asia and beyond!

3. China

🌍 Ranked #20 in the world

🏖️ Culture and Lifestyle Ranked #5 in Asia

👨‍💼 Achieving career goals Ranked #4 in Asia

China is rarely far from the top of our list. China has the world’s largest population, second-largest economy, and third-largest area by landmass, and can make similar claims about its higher education offerings. China boasts the world’s largest higher education system, sends the most students abroad, and comes in third (behind the USA and UK) for top-ranked universities and fourth for number of international students in the country. From a cost perspective, Chinese universities are more affordable than those in the West, and its universities and government offer generous scholarships to international students through various programs and initiatives. Outside the country’s rigorous education system, international students will find a culture steeped in more than three millennia of history. China is also remarkably diverse, with more than 50 distinct minority groups preserving ancient and unique traditions. And the diversity extends to the country’s natural history as well. Spanning more than 5,000 kilometers from east to west and north to south, China covers nearly every climate and ecosystem imaginable.

2. United Arab Emirates

🌍 Ranked #17 in the world

👨‍💼 Achieving career goals Ranked #3 in Asia

🎓 High-quality teaching Ranked #6 in Asia

Rising one spot this year, the United Arab Emirates offers high-quality higher education in a small but incredibly dynamic country. The UAE offers top-ranked universities, English-language programs, and strong connections with other countries’ higher education systems, including branches of some of the world’s best universities. The UAE, which is made up of seven separate emirates, is a melting pot of cultures with influences from across the Arabian Peninsula and further afield. Its thriving economy welcomes people from across the globe, and students graduating from a university in the UAE will find a wealth of employment opportunities. The UAE’s Golden visa scheme is, well, a golden opportunity for international students, granting long-term residence to foreign talent and their families, which makes the UAE a great choice for mature students.

1. Japan

🌍 Ranked #13 in the world

🎒 Adventure Ranked #1 in Asia

🧧 Culture and lifestyle Ranked #5 in the world

Rising to the top of our list for 2024 is Japan! This island nation is home to a superb higher education system with more than 800 public and private universities, as well as numerous other institutions. Japan is known as a country with rigorous standards and meticulous attention to detail, and the education system is no exception. Highly ranked universities, excellent teaching staff, and strong support for academics and research make Japan the best Asian country for international students. Coupled with its academic excellence, high quality of living, security and safety, and efficient infrastructure, Japan is a top destination for students from around the world. Students can immerse themselves in Japanese culture and society, which offers an intriguing mixture of ancient tradition and hyper-modern amenities. From the neon streets and high rises of Tokyo to the tranquil beaches and art galleries of Naoshima, Japan has something for everyone.

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