Chloe Lane

Updated July 15, 2021 Updated July 15

QS Best Student Cities ranking: 118th

Founded in 1854, this stunning green city is new to the QS Best Student Cities ranking this year, entering the table in 118th place. With the backdrop of the gorgeous Zailiysky Alatau mountain, situated in the south-eastern part of Kazakhstan, Almaty is the perfect place for students looking for a picturesque city to study in.

Almaty has five world leading universities included within it, all featuring in the most recent QS World University Rankings®. Al-Farabi Kazakh National University ranks the highest of all Kazakhstan’s universities in 207th place worldwide.

In the Best Student Cities ranking, Almaty scores highest for the ‘employer activity’ indicator, reflecting the excellent reputation of degrees obtained from Almaty’s universities.

With its name literally translating from Kazakh as “grown with apple trees”, Almaty was initially known for its apple trade, and even today Almaty is a major industrial center, with one third of its output still coming from the food industry.

It therefore shouldn’t surprise you that Almaty has a wide range of different culinary options available, and there are restaurants and cafes on every corner! In the city you can find any style or type of food that you crave, from Indian to Russian.

If you fancy a taste of the traditional Kazakh cuisine, head over to one of the local restaurants and try the popular dish, ‘beshbarmak’ (a mix of boiled meat, noodles and soup) Alternatively, pick up a tasty kabab on Kirov Street and soak in the culture of the city while you eat. Either way, if you’re a foodie, Almaty is the perfect place for you!

After lectures you can go for a hike in the gorgeous natural areas surrounding Almaty. With routes for beginners, as well as for more experienced hikers, students with any level of experience can enjoy the stunning backdrop of the city.

In the winter the mountains convert to glorious ski slopes – a perfect opportunity to rent some ski equipment and whizz down those slopes, heading into the city for a bit of après ski in one of the many bars in the area.

If skiing isn’t for you, Almaty has many other attractions, including a zoo, several stadiums (which host a variety of concerts and sport games throughout the year) and botanical gardens, meaning you’ll always be able to find something exciting to do.

Have you studied in Almaty? Share your experience.

Internationally ranked universities in Almaty

Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Kazakh National Pedagogical University, Abai Kazakh National Agrarian University, Kazakh-British Technical University, Kazakh Ablai khan University of International Relations and World Languages

More about Almaty

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (Ranked 207th)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student View rank


To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

This article was originally published in July 2019 . It was last updated in January 2020

Written by

A Content Writer for, Chloe has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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