So, you’ve made the decision to leap out of your comfort zone and study abroad. We commend you! You are about to embark on a life changing and character building experience that you will never forget (hopefully). Now you just have to figure out where it is you want to go. This isn’t an easy decision. No matter what you are looking for, there are endless choices, and figuring it all out can be quite daunting. Well you’re in luck; we’ve done some research and talked to a few “study abroaders” to come up with a list of places you should definitely consider for your time abroad.

1.  Berlin

Having recently emerged as one of the “coolest” cities in the world, Berlin is a youngster’s paradise. Rivaling both New York and London, Berlin has been known to attract artists, musicians and history buffs alike.

However, what really sets Berlin apart from its metropolitan counterparts is its affordability. Berlin is one of the most affordable student cities in the world, and even offers free education (nation-wide). Yes, you read that right, free education. Undergraduate as well as some postgraduate programs are fully subsidized by the government, for both residents as well as international students.

Cool, artistic, cheap… I don’t think I need to say much more.

(It’s also considered by many to be one of the best party cities in the world, so there’s that too)

Highlights: Affordable, Artistic, Cultural

2. London 

It’s difficult to compile a “best cities” list without including London, and this is no exception. London has long been regarded as one of the best cities for international students due to the quantity and quality of educational institutions.

In addition, you are unlikely to run out of things to do in this massive metropolitan city. Getting around is easy with an incredibly extensive underground subway network, but be sure to call it the “tube” so you fit in a little better. Also, don’t pronounce the H in Thames… just a little heads up.

It’s not a cheap city, so be prepared. However, once you become more well acquainted with the city you’re sure to find ways to become more financially savvy. The vast diversity of the city is apparent everywhere you go, and has heavily influenced the culture as well as the food. No matter who you are, London will definitely have something to offer you.

Highlights: High quality education, Diverse, Never a dull moment

3. Istanbul 

Here’s somewhere that you might not have expected. Istanbul. Sitting right between Europe and Asia, Istanbul is truly an East meets West city.

Incredibly rich in both history and culture, Istanbul has recently emerged as one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. With some of the most beautiful architecture you’ll ever see, and some of the best food you’ll ever eat, Istanbul is an easy choice for 3rd place.

Studying in Istanbul would be a great opportunity for you to learn a new language, and fully immerse yourself in a foreign culture. The ancient city has many small windy streets making it an explorer’s paradise.

Highlights: Architecture, History, Cuisine

4. Montreal

There’s no place like Montreal. Neither truly North American nor European, Montreal has made a name for itself. However, similar to Paris, Montreal seems to do everything right.

The city is also a very well-known student hub, and is home to the highest number of university students per capita among all metropolitan areas in North America. The city is also home to one of Canada’s most prestigious universities: McGill University.

Montreal is regarded as the culture capital of Canada, with various festivals and impromptu events taking place throughout the year. Studying in Montreal is a good opportunity to learn French, but don’t worry, pretty much everyone speaks English (although they might seem reluctant to at first).

Highlights: A true student city, Festivals, Unique

5. Prague

In recent years, Prague has become one of the most popular destinations for students looking to study abroad. As the capital of Czech Republic, this city is a top choice for those looking for culture, museums, night life and good food.

The city is home to many leading educational institutions such as Czech Technical University in Prague, Charles University and University of Economics, Prague. New York University even has a Prague campus, attesting to the city’s rising popularity amongst students.

What really sets Prague apart from the rest is its affordability. The official currency of Czech Republic is the Czech Koruna, so expect to pay much less than in the rest of Europe. Finding beer that is cheaper than water will be a commonplace. Enjoy!

Highlights: High quality education, Beautiful city, Very affordable!

Author Bio:

Rahim Madhavji is the President of Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange, a Canadian currency exchange company that helps Canadians get better currency exchange rates than the banks when buying or selling US dollars