The QS rankings mostly evaluate universities although they also assess what life is like for students in university cities. The last three editions of the annual report have included a Student View category, which asks students for their opinions – and Brno has been consistently receiving good reviews.
In this year’s student rankings, Brno ranked sixth worldwide and, for the first time, moved ahead of Prague, which ranked eighth. Munich was rated the best city, followed by Montreal and Melbourne.
The rankings are based on the answers of 87,000 students and recent graduates from all over the world, who shared their experiences of studying in the city. The survey encompasses several factors: arts and culture, affordability, nightlife, employment opportunities, diversity, tolerance and inclusiveness, ease of getting around, and friendliness. The indicator also considers the overall view of the students of their city and the work opportunities available after graduation.
Over the academic year, there can be up to 80,000 university students in Brno, whose population is around 380,000. The QS website describes Brno as a city with a large student presence and a great place for meeting new people. It also quotes one of the respondents in the survey, who says: “The exposure you get in this city is awesome – so many different people from different countries come here to study”.
Erin Anna Smith, who comes from the US, finished her master’s programme at Masaryk University in Brno this year. In addition to the low cost of living in the Czech Republic, the reliable and affordable public transport, and good food, she also appreciates that the work-life balance here leans a bit more to the “life” side.
Moreover, she is impressed with the transformation that Brno has undergone over the last eight years: “There are many new vegetarian restaurants and cocktail bars and the city is becoming more and more friendly towards foreigners.” As Erin met her boyfriend in Brno while she was a student, she is now planning to stay.
The ratio of international students at Masaryk University, which has a student population of almost 32,000, has been steadily increasing. In recent years, about 16% of MUNI students were Slovak, but the number of students from other countries is on the rise: it has almost tripled over the last ten years and currently stands at around 5%. A similar increase is apparent in the number of Erasmus students who arrive at the university – there were over 850 last year.
Overall, Brno ranked 60th in the QS Best Student Cities 2019. The only other Czech city that appears in the ratings is Prague, which ranks 35th.