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Love letter to Montreal

Be it the many beautiful and inviting tree-shaded parks, the ice-skating rinks on frozen ponds, the historic district on the banks of the St Lawrence river, the many cosmopolitan restaurants and cafes or the jovial Quebecois accent, Montreal is a great city to live in and very well deserves its first place on a new index created by The Economist and China’s Bank of Communications. The Sea Turtle Index, named after a Chinese term referring to overseas graduates coveted by employers upon return to their home countries, is one new addition to the wealth of international rankings that started proliferating in recent years. However, unlike other international rankings it does not solely rank a university’s appeal, but the overall attractiveness of a city for foreign students seeking an undergraduate degree. In its first edition, the new index ranked a total of 80 cities, chosen by clustering the top 300 universities form the QS World University Rankings and looking at OECD statistics on international students. These cities were then ranked according to a set of indicators assessing not only educational returns, but also real-estate returns, financial returns, work experience and social experience. This year, Montreal was put in pole position as the world’s overall best return on investment for international undergraduates. Educational quality, welcoming immigration policies, financial returns, work opportunities and cultural diversity make the city an appealing destination not only for students, but also prospective future employees willing to invest. London’s educational quality, cultural openness and diversity helped it reach second position, followed closely by Hong Kong, which owes this third position to its high real-estate returns and openness to investment. The Sea Turtle Index is neither the first nor the only ranking of university cities. Since 2012, QS also started ranking the world’s 50 best student cities. Of course, with different indicators used, the winners were also very different (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, February 2012).  Paris, in this case, was the champion, making us wonder whether the French language has something to do with this.   BOCOM Sea Turtle Index