Top 5 Chinese Cities With the Most International Students

Several Chinese cities are popular destinations for international students due to their prestigious universities, diverse culture, and economic opportunities. According to an article published in 2023 on出国留学), some of the cities with the highest number of international students include:

  1. Shanghai
  2. Beijing
  3. Shenzhen
  4. Nanjing
  5. Jinan


Shanghai is one of the most popular destinations for international students in China. The city is home to several prestigious universities and offers a vibrant cultural and economic environment.

Fudan University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University are among the most renowned institutions in Shanghai and attract a large number of international students due to their academic excellence and diverse programs. Additionally, other universities in Shanghai, such as Tongji University and East China Normal University, also have sizable international student populations.

International students in Shanghai come from diverse backgrounds and pursue various fields of study, including engineering, business, social sciences, and humanities. The city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere, modern infrastructure, and rich cultural heritage make it an attractive destination for students seeking a global academic experience.


Beijing, as the capital of China, is a major hub for international students seeking higher education opportunities. The city is home to some of China’s most prestigious universities, including Peking University and Tsinghua University, both of which attract a large number of international students.

Apart from Peking University and Tsinghua University, other universities in Beijing, such as Renmin University of China and Beijing Normal University, also enroll international students in substantial numbers. These institutions offer diverse academic programs, research opportunities, and a rich cultural experience in one of the world’s most dynamic cities.

The international student community in Beijing is diverse, comprising individuals from different countries and cultural backgrounds. Many international students in Beijing participate in cultural exchange activities, language programs, and student organizations, fostering a vibrant and inclusive academic environment.


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Shenzhen, known for its rapid economic growth and innovation, has also become an increasingly attractive destination for international students seeking educational opportunities in China.

The Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) is one of the primary institutions in Shenzhen that actively recruits international students. Established relatively recently in 2011, SUSTech has quickly gained recognition for its strong emphasis on research and innovation, attracting students from around the world to pursue undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees in various fields.

Apart from SUSTech, other universities and educational institutions in Shenzhen, such as Shenzhen University and the Graduate School at Shenzhen, also enroll international students in diverse academic programs.

Shenzhen’s status as a major technology and innovation hub in China offers international students unique opportunities to engage with cutting-edge research and industry collaborations. The city’s proximity to Hong Kong further enhances its appeal, providing students with access to an international business environment and cultural diversity.

While Shenzhen’s international student population may be smaller compared to cities like Beijing and Shanghai, its growing reputation as a center for innovation and entrepreneurship is attracting an increasing number of students seeking a dynamic and forward-thinking educational experience.


Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, is renowned for its rich history, cultural heritage, and top-tier educational institutions.

Nanjing University (NJU), one of China’s oldest and most prestigious institutions, is a magnet for international students. Its comprehensive range of programs and research opportunities across various disciplines makes it a popular choice for students from around the world. Additionally, Southeast University (SEU) and Nanjing University of Science and Technology (NUST) also enroll a considerable number of international students.

The international student community in Nanjing is diverse, with individuals from different countries and cultural backgrounds pursuing undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Many international students are drawn to Nanjing not only for its academic excellence but also for its vibrant cultural scene, historical landmarks, and relatively lower cost of living compared to larger cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

Nanjing’s strategic location in the Yangtze River Delta region, with its strong economic development and opportunities for innovation, further enhances its appeal to international students seeking a dynamic educational experience.

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Jinan, the capital city of Shandong Province in eastern China, is known for its historical significance, natural beauty, and growing educational institutions. While Jinan may not be as prominent on the international education scene as cities like Beijing or Shanghai, it still attracts a notable number of international students.

Shandong University (SDU) is one of the key institutions in Jinan that enrolls international students. With its comprehensive academic programs and research opportunities, SDU has been actively expanding its international student body in recent years. The university offers a range of undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs across various disciplines, attracting students from different parts of the world.

In addition to Shandong University, other universities in Jinan, such as Jinan University and Qilu University of Technology (formerly known as Shandong University of Technology), also enroll international students in various academic programs.

While Jinan may not have the same level of international student population as larger cities, its cultural heritage, friendly atmosphere, and lower cost of living compared to major metropolitan areas make it an appealing destination for international students seeking a more relaxed and affordable study environment in China.

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