Collected from over 16,000 reviews on Abroad101, we looked at how many local friends our reviewers said they made in their time abroad, and if they intended to stay in touch once they returned home. Based on that, the following are what we deemed the friendliest cities!
#1) Seoul, South Korea
With 80,000 fans at this country’s K-Pop mega-star’s concert, chances are you’d likely gain a new friend or two…or hundreds. As a former ESL teacher in Korea, I was not surprised when Seoul topped our list of the most friendliest cities to study abroad. Korea is known for both their warm hospitality…and their love of foreigners. This bodes well for the increasing number of students venturing to this dynamic and innovative country looking to befriend the locals for their up-to-date style trends and spicy taste buds, allowing them to truly get to know this Seoul-ful city.Seoul also happens to be the home of the now ever-s0-popular, Gangnam district, which is the most affluent area of the entire country and hosts the largest underground shopping mall in all of Asia! If you missed your chance to study abroad here, it’s never too late to earn a TEFL certification to teach in one of the highest paying countries for native English speaking teachers! Best yet, we’re providing TEN certification scholarships from the TEFL Institute on our site right now, so apply today and start practicing your invisible donkey riding skills to rock out in Gangnam!
2. Hirakata, Japan
With tons of amusement waiting at the well-known Hirakata Park and a renowned chrysanthemum doll exhibit (Chrysanthemum’s are celebrated annually in Japan’s “Festival of Happinness”), it is no wonder that Hirakata is our #2 friendliest city. When admiring the flowers, don’t cause your Japanese peers to lose “face” and you’ve got a friend for life!
3. Tokyo, Japan
It must be something about the peaceful Eastern way of living, because rounding out the top three is yet another, friendly Asian metropolis. Even in the midst of chaos, Japanese people have been known for remaining calm and polite, and will even form single file lines when piling into the subway cars like sardines. Their respectful demeanor paired with their quirky sense of style (specifically in Tokyo) makes it easy to understand why American students found so many friends while studying in this hip city.
4. Cape Town, South Africa
With 11 national languages, one might think it would be hard for American students to befriend a bunch of locals, but when a city has a cultural philosophy that encourages friendship (known as Ubuntu), it begins to make more sense. One Cape Town study abroad alum even said “every local you meet is friendlier than the one before”!
5. Moscow, Russia
A surprise to some, this chilly city squeezes in as the fifth friendliest city to study abroad in! It probably doesn’t hurt that Moscow is home to the largest community of billionaires in the world, but study abroaders aren’t gold diggers. It’s Russians’ warm hearts and open arms that earned them the title for Friendliest destination. And their deep pockets? BONUS!
6. Shanghai, China
The last city in Asia to make the list, is also the largest city in China, and apparently the friendliest. Not only did it make our list, but it was named as the most dog-friendly city of China in 2010. If you’re seeing the correlations like I am, there’s no dog-gone way you’ll leave Shanghai without a few new friends.
7. Cork, Ireland
Haven’t you heard that Irish eyes are always smiling? In Cork they are, where the locals are among the friendliest! Home to the University College Cork, it’s easy to make friends in your dorms, where study abroaders live with local and international students alike!
8. St. Andrew’s, The United Kingdom
Home to the prestigious University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland occupies our #8 spot. During the school year, students can make up one third of the town’s population. Great news is they seem to be extremely friendly!
9. Auckland, New Zealand
The best part about being an American in Auckland was dispelling the negative stereotypes to all the “kiwis” (as the locals are called). Once they realized that not every American college student is either like Heidi and Spencer from The Hills or Snooki and “The Situation” from Jersey Shore, they actually warm up to you rather quickly! As long as you’re down for an adventure, the kiwis will show you a good time.
10. Sydney, Australia
With so much to do in this sunny city, there are plenty of opportunities to mingle with the locals. Plus, these Unis are great at hosting events designed to get you away from your American friends and feeling more like a native Aussie!
Well that wraps up our list of the most friendliest cities to study abroad in for 2012. So what are you waiting for?!
Leave your review on Abroad101.com and tell us about all the friends you made while abroad, or start looking through all those reviews and find the perfect city for you to mingle with the locals!