While Montreal took the top spot in the 2017 QS Best Student Cities index that was released yesterday, Ottawa also had a moment in the spotlight after it was voted by students as the best university city in the world.

QS, best known for its annual World University Rankings, introduced a new "student view" category to their fifth edition of the Best Student Cities list. 

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The Dunton Tower rises over Carleton University in Ottawa. (Danny Globerman/CBC)

Between Dec. 2016 and Jan. 2017, more than 18,000 students and graduates rated their cities in eight categories: arts and culture, affordability, nightlife, employment opportunities, diversity, tolerance and inclusion, ease of getting around, and friendliness.

They were also asked whether they would stay, or had stayed, in the city after graduating, according to QS. 

'The best things often come in small packages'

Ottawa got particularly strong ratings for "friendliness and tolerance, as well as (less predictably) nightlife," according to the QS ranking list.

"Proving that the best things often come in small packages ... Survey respondents commend [Ottawa's] student-centered culture, multicultural and bilingual environment, and opportunities to gain experience in government as well as other sectors."

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Alise Fife (right) and classmate, Julia (left), admire how Ottawa's diversity adds value to their studies in conflict and human rights. (Jessie Park/CBC)

For Alise Fife, a conflict studies and human rights major at the University of Ottawa, the incredible diversity Ottawa has to offer has been a rewarding part of her studies. 

"In our classrooms, we have people from all over the world — from Syria and all these other places we're discussing — and they have their own personal experiences and it really adds value to what we're studying," she said. 

Risa Tonita, who graduated from the music program at the University of Ottawa, said the city has become her "home away from home." 

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Risa Tonita stayed in Ottawa after graduating from the University of Ottawa, calling the city her "home away from home." (Jessie Park/CBC)

She stayed in Ottawa after graduating to build on the connections she had made throughout her degree.

"I love the community vibe here. It's enriching and it's embracing, and Ottawa's nice because there's a lot of things to do but it doesn't seem super busy at the same time — it's comforting," Tonita said.

Following Ottawa in the top 10 "best cities" list was Prague, Shanghai and Brno.