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International student satisfaction in Europe

On a scale of 0 to 10, would you recommend your study experience to your friends? What are the main reasons why you would (not) recommend?

The two questions above summarize the big survey aiming at identifying the key influencers of international student satisfaction in Europe, taken by StudyPortals.

1,482 international students have participated and mentioned a total 2,982 reasons to recommend their study experience (besides 336 domestic students who mentioned 542 aspects that affected their satisfaction). These reasons are the true drivers of student satisfaction; the prime aspects that affected their overall opinion of their experience. Through analysis and categorization of these reasons, the key influencers of international student satisfaction in Europe were identified.

World class student satisfaction

It shows that international students in Europe are highly satisfied with their study experience at European universities. 77% of all international students answered a 9 or 10 (the promoters), resulting in an excellent +72 NPS satisfaction rate (which can range from -100 to +100), as can be seen in the figure below. This score even beats top class companies that truly drive on customer satisfaction promotion, which deserves a big compliment to anyone involved in internationalisation of European Higher Education.

Number of respondents by satisfaction rating:

Number of respondents by satisfaction rating:


The reasons can be categorized in the way shown in the figure below, and it is obvious that the major categories are Personal & professional development, City & culture, and Academics. Looking at more detail and in order of importance, student satisfaction is driven by personal growth, a lively city atmosphere, the ability to learn a new language, interest in the subject area, innovative teaching methods and good teachers, and the intercultural experience. Negative influencers are mainly low quality of the teachers (more specifically: low language proficiency) and poorly organized university services.

Reasons to recommend an experience, by topic:


Comparing segments

This study also contains other interesting results: (1) International students are far more satisfied than domestic students, and they care more about personal development; (2) Credit mobility students are in general a bit more satisfied with their study experience than full degree students, and they emphasize the chance to learn a foreign language and to some extent also the new friends they make; (3) bachelor and master students are almost equally satisfied regarding their study experience, where master students more often express academic reasons; (4) the five destination countries with the highest satisfaction rating may be kind of surprising; (5) international students from Europe are a bit more satisfied than non-Europeans.

Why this report


The results of this study help to understand what students find important, and also what not. These insight will help all stakeholders, and higher education institutes and policy makers in particular to better focus their activities, resources and budgets.
View the full report here (pdf). To the left is an example of a student response, for your inspiration.

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