Top Happiest Countries to Study Abroad

This article will discuss the top 10 happiest countries to study abroad and work in 2022. Some countries are happier than others, just like some people are happier than others. Also, a nation’s happiness seems to be the aggregate of the happiness of its citizens. 

How Do We Know the Happiest Countries to Study Abroad in 2022?

For over a decade, the OECD organization for economic cooperation and development has maintained a “Better Life Index,” an index of the happiest countries to study abroad and work globally. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Better Life Index, launched in May 2011, is a pioneering endeavor to develop economic indicators that better reflect numerous economic and social success dimensions.

The platform consists of a dashboard that provides data and insights into critical indicators that measure well-being, environmental quality, public service quality, and security. Also, it has an interactive tool, Your Better Life Index (BLI), which encourages citizens to create their indexes by ranking each indicator based on its importance in their own lives.

The OECD Better Life Initiative encourages co-production of what we may standardize by promoting dialogue between the public and government. First released on May 24, 2011, the index comprises 11 well-being themes. Each of the 11 themes consists of 1-4 indexes, which are fine-tuned each time as insights are obtained from prior years’ data. Initially, each of the 11 themes is equally weighted to get scores and rankings for 30+ nations in each area of well-being to objectively ascertain the happiest countries to study abroad, live and work. The following are the themes:

  1. Housing: housing conditions and spending (e.g., real estate pricing)
  2. Income: household income (after taxes and transfers) and net financial wealth
  3. Jobs: earnings, job security, and unemployment
  4. Community: quality of social support network
  5. Education: education and what one gets out of it
  6. Environment: quality of environment (e.g., environmental health)
  7. Governance: involvement in democracy
  8. Health
  9. Life Satisfaction: level of happiness
  10. Safety: murder and assault rates
  11. Work-life balance

Top Happiest Countries in the World

If attending a university where everyone is happy is important to you when choosing a school, you might want to start looking at Norwegian universities. The Nordic nation has continuously scored among the World Happiness Index’s top five nations, making it one of the happiest places to study abroad in 2022. If you wish to smile while writing your dissertation, look at the best colleges in each of these nations.


Norway is not simply the world’s happiest nation. However, it is also one of the most reasonably priced options for a university education, and both domestic and foreign students can enroll. A semester fee might be necessary, and living expenses are higher than in other European nations, so beware. Let’s say that doesn’t stop you from going to Norway to study. In such a scenario, it would be a mistake not to submit an application to the University of Oslo, which is frequently Norway’s top university as determined by the QS World University Rankings®. The capital’s Norwegian university is ranked 113th globally. The most recent worldwide rankings list three additional Norwegian universities. They are the University of Troms (=377), Bergen University (=177), and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (=259), respectively. It continues to be among the happiest places in the world to study abroad, especially in Europe.

2. Denmark

The fact that Norway’s neighbor, Denmark, consistently places second on the list of the world’s happiest people shows that the Scandinavian countries know what they’re doing. Denmark is well known for its exquisite cuisine, picturesque beaches, and lovely cities. Denmark routinely ranks among the happiest places for international students to study abroad. The country exudes the fabled Scandinavian joy, which is reflected in its up-to-date yet laid-back lifestyle. Denmark’s well-functioning educational system is supported by a large number of reputable universities.

Due to their innovative course offerings and reasonable tuition costs, these educational institutions that are listed in international university rankings are highly sought after by students from all over the world. However, the country’s cost of living is much higher than that of the US, sometimes even exceeding a 12 percent increase. For students from the EU or EEA, all Danish universities are free to attend. However, students from other nations must pay tuition.

Five universities from Denmark are listed in the World University Rankings, but only the University of Copenhagen is among the top 100. The university is ranked 68th overall in the world. The Technical University of Denmark, which is also found in the nation’s capital and is ranked 109th globally, is the second-best institution in Denmark. Aarhus University (ranked 117th), Aalborg University (=374th), and the University of Southern Denmark (=390th) are further Danish universities that are mentioned. It is regarded as one of the happiest places to study abroad, much like Norway.

3. Australia

Our first non-European nation is right here! What is there in Australia to be happy about? The minimum wage is almost twice as much as it is in the United States, and the beaches are sandy and the unemployment rate is low. Australia also boasts the best housing (both in terms of quality and affordability), the most civic engagement, the healthiest population, and the highest safety, according to the Better Life Index (with the lowest murder and assault rates). Australia’s top institution is the Australian National University, which is based in Canberra and is currently ranked 27th in the world. It is undoubtedly among the best and happiest nations to study abroad.

4. Switzerland

If studying at a university in the fourth-happiest nation in the world appeals to you more than studying in Scandinavia, it might be the best option. Switzerland is one of Europe’s most significant intellectual hubs, which brings with it additional happiness benefits. Similar to Scandinavian countries, Switzerland has shown consistency in its levels of happiness across time. In addition to its high rankings for happiness, Switzerland is home to renowned institutions like ETH Zurich and EPFL, which are regularly listed among the top 50 universities in the world.

Switzerland has a high cost of living, yet the cost of attending college there is quite inexpensive. The exact sum varies, but at the majority of renowned Swiss universities, foreign students pay between CHF 1,266-2,200 (US$1,265-2,195) per year in tuition, which isn’t much more than what local students pay. The most recent World University Rankings include eight different Swiss universities, with two of them placing in the top 20. The world’s eighth-best university, ETH Zurich, and the 14th-ranked Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne are both located in Switzerland (EPFL).

Among the top 100 universities worldwide are the Universities of Zurich (80th) and Geneva (95th). The other four top Swiss universities are the University of Lausanne (138th), the University of Basel (141st), the University of Bern (181st), and the University of St. Gallen (=288th).

5. Finland

The top five happiest nations in the world are completed by a fourth Nordic nation, with Finland trailing its neighbors. Finland has held the top spot in the World Happiness Rankings for the past three years, demonstrating its status as the happiest nation in the world. The government has made sure that educational advancements do not lag behind, thanks to a consistently happy population and a pleasant quality of life. Traveling to the country in pursuit of knowledge would be the best way to learn about and use the Nordic secret to happiness for the rest of the world.

A number of Nobel Laureates and political leaders have come out of Finland’s renowned Helinski University, which has a lengthy history. Although the majority of university courses in Finland and Sweden are taught in Finnish or Swedish, it is worth looking into whether any English language courses are offered. Finland had completely free tuition for all students, which would have made it deserving of a spot in our list of the happiest places to study abroad and the best places for international students to study in 2022. The Swedish government recently announced certain amendments to impose fees on students from outside the EU/EEA.

Ten Finnish universities were listed in the most current World University Rankings. The capital’s University of Helsinki, which is ranked 91st, is the highest-ranked of these. The second-best institution in Finland, Aalto University, is situated in Helsinki and is ranked 133rd overall. The Institution of Turku, a historically significant university that ranks 234th globally, is Finland’s third-best-performing institution. The three remaining Finnish universities in the most recent ranking are Tampere University of Technology (319th), University of Jyväskylä (=338th), and University of Eastern Finland (=382nd).

6. USA

The United States still tops the Better Life Index when it comes to family income and financial wealth, despite the fact that you may expect one of the most powerful nations in the world to place higher. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is now rated #1 in the QS World University Rankings, is one of the elite universities in the United States, which also has the best selection of prestigious universities overall (MIT). The US ranks as one of the best academic destinations for foreign students and one of the happiest countries to study abroad in 2022 thanks to its wealth of opportunities, strong technology culture, and large population of international students.

7. Netherlands

Our fourth monarchy is on the list! Despite being referred to as being one of Europe’s “low regions,” the only “low” this country experiences is bitterly cold winters. The Netherlands is significantly undervalued in terms of educational proficiency. The best institutions in the Netherlands provide education of the greatest intellectual caliber and annually draw tens of thousands of students from around the globe. Even though the people are nice and welcoming to international students who are pursuing education, the country’s natural beauty has earned it a spot on our list of the happiest places to study abroad.

The Netherlands, a country with a robust economy, scores well on almost all Better Life Index criteria, such as high average per capita income, low unemployment, and individual liberties. Another factor is clean air, and the nation is well-known for its breathtaking countryside and liberal towns; Dutch students are among the happiest in the world. The top-ranked institution in the Netherlands is the University of Amsterdam, which is situated in a well-known city and is ranked 58th globally.

8. New Zealand

Having one of the most diversified cultures in the world, there is no doubt that New Zealand is a happy nation. New Zealand’s education system has experienced a substantial expansion in recent years, with a vibrant mixture of native and settled people. Its institutions are well-known throughout the world as a result of the student-friendly policies that schools successfully enacted throughout the pandemic testing era. Due to its breathtaking scenery, low levels of air pollution, and a strong sense of community, New Zealand is among the top ten happiest nations to study abroad on our list, despite being four spots behind its sister island of Australia. The University of Auckland, which is ranked 94th globally, is the best university in New Zealand.

9. Sweden

The school system in Sweden is highly regarded worldwide. The nation has developed into a hub for technical courses as a result of its student-centered philosophy, and in 2022, it will rank as one of the best places to study abroad. The Nordic enchantment of happiness is also present in the Land of the Varangians, which managed to top the happiness rankings even throughout the COVID 19 testing rounds. Here are some of the best colleges and universities in Sweden for foreign students: Uppsala University (#124), Chalmers University (#139), Lund University (#97), KTH Roya Institute of Technology (#98), and Stockholm University (#181) are the top five universities in Sweden. All lists are based on the 2021 QS World University Rankings.

10. Iceland

Iceland is one of the ten happiest nations to study abroad, despite the fact that none of its universities are included in the 2013–14 QS World University Rankings®. Iceland might not boast the warmest climate in the world (the name gives it away). Nevertheless, it has clean air, stunning glacial landscapes resembling the moon, rare animals, low crime rates, a limited population of only 320,000 people, and long life spans. The most well-known of Iceland’s seven institutions is Reykjavik University.


Even though many students dream of studying abroad, choosing a country known for its peace, good standard of living, and low crime rate can make the experience much more enjoyable. In addition to being among the happiest places to live and work, many of the above-mentioned nations are also among the best places for international students to study in 2022. Imagine having the peaceful life you’ve always wanted. Visit one of these places right now.

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