International student satisfaction in Europe 2013
Have you ever wondered what international students see as important when they are studying abroad? How important academic aspects are compared to the atmosphere of city they are studying in? Or even if external factors like the weather make a difference?
The answers to all these questions can be found in the reports on international student satisfaction by StudyPortals, which are also the foundation of our Student Satisfaction Awards. Through the awards, we recognize the best universities, from the perspective of international students, based on reviews and comments left on the student experience exchange platform, STeXX.com.
STeXX.com allows students to give their study abroad experience a score out of 10, and then give their reasons for giving that score – essentially revealing whether or not they were happy with the experience, and why. With thousands of these comments available, it was possible to make an in-depth analysis of what international students in Europe are content with, and where they would like to see improvements.
As well as giving us an idea of general student satisfaction, the report also allows us to find out which are the most highly rated universities in Europe, as well as the top universities for student satisfaction in each country. Based on this, we will be giving a StudyPortals Award for International Student Satisfaction to those universities which have achieved very high student ratings. The award is given only to universities that received sufficient reviews and consistently achieved outstanding to very good student reviews on StudyPortals’ study experience website STeXX.eu. The winning institutes are divided by country (country winners) and located all over Europe.
The winning countries for the first year of the International Student Satisfaction research are Austria, followed by Sweden and Germany. The United Kingdom, Switzerland and Netherlands are tied in for fourth place, followed by Spain, Belgium, Italy and France.
Report and Methodology
What is STeXX Student Experience Exchange?
STeXX is a platform created by StudyPortals for students to exchange and review their experiences of studying abroad. It serves as a tool for prospective students to read reviews of different universities and cities in Europe before they make a decision on where to study. It can also be used by anyone working in international education to find areas for improvement. Almost 17,000 students have already used it to evaluate their study abroad programme since it was created in 2011.
What is the Student Satisfaction report and how was it made?
The information garnered from STeXX has been categorised, analysed and compared to produce a report on student satisfaction in Europe. In order to analyse the data, each comment was put into a category according to its content, e.g. Academics, City & culture or Cost, and then labelled as positive or negative. Once this had been done with all comments, it was possible to analyse the data by looking at the percentage of students who commented about a certain category, and whether these comments were negative or positive. In addition to this, comparisons were made between destination countries, home countries and the duration of study, among others. The report gives some new insights into what students consider to be important when studying abroad.
Why is it useful?
Understanding international student satisfaction is important to anyone working in international tertiary education in Europe – from the staff in an international office in the Czech Republic to university lecturers in Portugal. The results can aid understanding of what students are happy about and what can be improved to make things better for them, and so promote positive feedback in the future. It is also useful for outgoing students to help them consider their options and get an idea of what the experience will be like before they go.
International students studying in Europe are highly satisfied with their experience, rating it with an overall satisfaction score of +56 (within a possible range of -100 to +100). International students in the UK were even happier than the European average, with +59 overall. A total of 68% would rate their experience with a 9 or 10 out of 10 when asked if they would recommend it to their friends.
International students in Germany were even happier than the European average, with 8.9 overall. Germany comes 3rd in a ranking of international student satisfaction within the top 10 European countries for student mobility, just behind Austria at 9.1/10 and Sweden at 9. It scores much more highly for satisfaction than popular Mediterranean destinations such as France, Spain and Italy. Not only is Germany popular just as a country – six of its universities also scored an outstanding 9.5 out of 10.