The International Student Barometer is an annual study mapping out international students' experiences of their university, in categories such as learning, living, and the support network. This year's results are based on responses from almost 200,000 international students, at 212 universities worldwide.
In the category for the overall learning experience, Chalmers was the number one rated university in Europe, and number four in the world. International students at Chalmers report that their teachers are experts in their field, have excellent English skills, and have a good ability to convey their knowledge. The teaching support, including assessment, feedback, and course organisation is also very highly regarded.
“We have had high ratings in the Learning categories for several years, so I am not surprised. But the fact that we have risen in all sub-areas of the category confirms to me what I witness every day – all of our teachers, heads of programme, heads of department, operations support, student representatives and more, are dedicated and focused on always getting better. It is a culture of constant improvement, that I am very proud to represent,” says Maria Knutson Wedel, Vice-President for Education and Lifelong Learning at Chalmers.
The formal welcome programme for new students, and the social activities on offer also receive good rankings in the study. The Chalmers International Mobility group, which works with supporting and welcoming international exchange students, received very high ratings as well – in this case, rated as number one in the world.
“This is evidence that all the work we have put in here has really paid off. Our hope is that this will contribute to Chalmers' reputation globally as a great study destination,” says Ann-Marie Danielsson-Alatalo, co-ordinator for Chalmers International Mobility group.
Gothenburg one of the world’s best study destinations
In terms of the overall living experience, Chalmers itself is rated at number one in the world in the category “good place to be”. This reflects well on the general standard of life for students in the city, and Gothenburg receives very high marks for its social life as well as public transport.
The University of Gothenburg also took part in this year’s ISB, and their students reported a similar satisfaction with the wider city experience.
“The survey showed us that our international students are happy with their daily life in the city. They rate Gothenburg highly as a good place to be, and they appreciate the eco-friendly attitude, the feeling of personal safety and being able to get around easily with public transportation,” says Klara Ljungberg, International Relations Officer at the University of Gothenburg.
Yuning Li, who moved here from China to study Electric Power Engineering at Chalmers, can witness:
“Student life at Chalmers has a great work-life balance. It is a perfect example of 'lagom'! Additionally, the strong connections between Chalmers and industry in Gothenburg really help me to consider my ideal career path and to be prepared for the future”, says Yuning Li.
Focus on students’ accommodation
There are some areas, however, where problems remain. Finding suitable accommodation is still an issue, as well as certain practical issues such as opening a bank account and the high cost of living.
“We put a lot of energy into informing prospective students how best they can find accommodation, and how important it is to start the process early. We are also continuing our work together with other partners to build further student housing, and to try and improve the banking system,” says Maria Knutson Wedel.
Chalmers is committed to improving this accommodation situation for students, and this year alone, over 200 brand-new, purpose-built student residences are on schedule to be completed within a few minutes’ walk of Campus Johanneberg.
The new Gibraltar accommodation that is currently being built near Campus Johanneberg will offer 100 new student residences for international master students and guest researchers with planned occupancy in August. Just nearby, the Uddjaur quarter is also being completed with 118 new student housing units.
Furthermore, several other construction projects are now underway in Gothenburg to increase the amount of student housing in the city. The collaboration group Gbg 7000+, of which Chalmers is a part, has ambitions to build at least 7 000 new student apartments in Gothenburg by the year 2026.
Text: Vedrana Sivac and Joshua Worth
About the survey
- The International Student Barometer is conducted annually by the organisation I-graduate. This edition was carried out from September to December 2018 and included 212 Universities participating worldwide. Chalmers distributed the questionnaire to 1 472 international students and the response rate was 23%.
- The respondents were mainly students at Master’s level, as well as exchange students. India, Germany, China, Spain and France were the most common nationalities among the respondents.