The basics
Study abroad : Student Finances

Student cost of living in Australia vs UK

Can’t decide between Australia and the UK for your studies? We look at the cost of living in Australia vs UK to help you decide on the right destination...

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Two major study destinations, both offering prestigious universities and a high quality of life, Australia and the UK are highly desirable locations for international students. But how can you decide between the two? In this article we compare the cost of living in Australia and in the UK so you can weigh up the costs and make that all-important final decision on where you want to study.

 

Cost of accommodation in Australia vs UK

The cost of accommodation in Australia depends on several factors, including the type of housing you choose. For example, you can pick between student accommodation or private renting. There can be a considerable difference in price between these two options.

 

Table showing cost of student halls per week in Australia

Student halls

Cost (per week)

University

City

Darlington House, medium room

AUD 260

University of Sydney

Sydney

Uni Lodge, Bundoora

AUD 226

RMIT

Melbourne

University Hall, standard room

AUD 255

University of Western Australia

Perth

UniSA Accommodation by Urbanest

AUD 200-370

University of South Australia

Adelaide

 

(Source: University websites)

 

Some universities will ask for upfront payments for the year, month, or every semester, so make sure you check the terms and conditions of the university that you apply for. This way you will know what amount needs to be paid and exactly what to expect.

 

If you decide to do the whole of your degree in Australia, you may choose to move to private accommodation after your first year in student halls. This is a common choice for students. Once you’ve made some friends in student accommodation, you can group together and rent somewhere off campus.

The cost of rent can vary depending on the area/suburb, with some locations charging less than others. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in Bondi will cost you approximately AUD 630 per month whereas the same property in Stanmore is far less at AUD 350.

 

Private accommodation in Australia

Cost

City

AUD 580 per month

Sydney

AUD 455 per month

Melbourne

AUD 390 per month

Adelaide

AUD 385 per month

Perth

 

*The figures here are estimations and subject to change.

(Source: InterNationsGO! 2019)

 

Find out more about the top universities in Australia.

 

Living in the UK

As with any study destination, the cost of accommodation in the UK really depends on what you can afford, where the university is based and your preferences on the type of accommodation. We’ll start with student halls in major UK cities.

Table showing cost of student halls per week in the UK

Student Halls Cost (per week)

University

City

GBP 132 to GBP 220.64

Queen Mary University

London

GBP 128 to GBP 157

University of Glasgow

Glasgow

GBP 104 to GBP 131

Cardiff University

Cardiff

GBP 95 to GBP 208

University of Leeds

Leeds

 

While the cost of living is a great way to compare Australia and the UK, you might also be interested in assessing the student lifestyle on offer too.

 

As with Australia, once you’ve experienced your first year in student halls, you might then prefer to move into private accommodation. This would give you the chance to get to know the different areas in your new city and learn how to live independently, paying your own bills and living with other people.

 

Table showing cost of private renting in UK cities

Cost

City

AUD 550 to AUD 900

London

AUD 450+

Glasgow

AUD 490 to AUD 660

Cardiff

AUD 530 to AUD 720

Leeds

 

(Source: Numbeo 2021)

*The figures here are estimations and subject to change.

 

The cost of renting in the UK will depend on the type of property you choose, so renting a room in a shared house will usually turn out cheaper than renting a studio for example. As you can see from the table above, prices vary depending on the city/town. Renting in London is notoriously more expensive than in other UK cities as it’s the capital and a desirable location. However, if you deal with a small room in a house, renting in major cities can still be affordable.

 

Explore some of the best cities for students in the UK.

 

Cost of food in Australia vs UK

Famous for beach barbeques, seafood, meat pies and many more dishes, Australia is known for its love of food. Similarly, the UK is famous for its staple dishes such as fish and chips, a roast dinner, full breakfast, and high tea. These are just a few of the things you have to try in the UK.

So, how affordable is the food in these countries?

 

Australia is generally considered to be more expensive than the UK. Because of Australia’s location in the world, much of the food has to be imported, therefore increasing the cost.  You can see the difference in price of everyday grocery items between Australia and the UK in the chart below.

 

Table showing the cost of groceries in Australia vs UK

Groceries

Australia

UK

Milk

AUD 1.64

GBP 0.91

Loaf of bread

AUD 2.82

GBP 0.99

12 eggs

AUD 4.73

GBP 1.93

Cheese (1kg)

AUD 10.61

GBP 5.58

Bananas (1kg)

AUD 3.36

GBP 1.10

Bottle of wine

AUD 15.00

GBP 5.73

Cup of coffee

AUD 4.50

GBP 2.74

 

(Source: Numbeo & Statista 2021)

 

Although Australia is more expensive for food, the economy is strong, and the wages are generally higher in Australia compared to the UK. So, if you can work part-time while you study, you should feel more comfortable with the cost of food in Australia.

 

Cost of entertainment in Australia vs UK

Although based on opposite ends of the world, Australia and the UK are not so far apart when it comes to culture. However, while both countries are English-speaking, there are certain differences that make these countries unique. For example, the UK is known for country walks and pub lunches, west end shows, comedy, stately homes, and live sport. Australia is famous for glorious weather which lends itself to beach days, water sports, garden parties and a generally more outdoor oriented lifestyle. So, when it comes to entertainment, which country is more affordable?

 

Entertainment type

Australia

UK

Restaurant meal

AUD 20

GBP 12

Cinema ticket

AUD 18

GBP 10

Theatre ticket x2

AUD 227

GBP 135

Beer

AUD 9

GBP 4.60

 

Of course, there are also plenty of free activities in both Australia and the UK. For example, you can go walking or hiking in the British country side, visit one of Australia’s famous beaches or visit a museum or art gallery, which can be free or discounted for students.

 

Cost of tuition in Australia vs UK

Studying abroad can be expensive and so it’s vital that you can afford the often-high fees. If you need financial support, you can apply for a scholarship or consider working part-time. Here you can get an idea of tuition fees in Australia versus the UK.

 

 

Undergraduate

Postgraduate

Australia

AUD 20,000 to AUD 45,000 per year

GBP 20,000 to GBP 37,000 per year

UK

GBP 10,000 to GBP 38,000 per year

GBP 11,000 to GBP 32,000 per year

 

(Source: Top Universities 2021)

 

As the cost of tuition varies according to each institution, you should refer to the specific university websites for exact figures. You can also expect to pay higher tuition fees for competitive courses like medicine and a masters of business administration (MBA) across both destinations.

 

Cost of transport in Australia vs UK

One of the major differences between Australia and the UK is the size. In fact, Australia is 32 times bigger than the UK, which means travelling between cities in Australia is more time-consuming than in the UK. However, the main cities in Australia have several transport options including trams, trains, taxis, hire bikes and buses. This is also true in the case of the UK, except in rural areas where there are often fewer transport options.

 

So, you can see the cost below for average transport fares in Australia and the UK.

 

 

Australia (based on Sydney)

UK (based on London)

Monthly public transport pass (trains & buses)

AUD 211

AUD 169

Taxi (1km)

AUD 2.23

GBP 1.70

 

Both Australia and the UK have travel cards that you can use for public transport. For example, you can buy a monthly travel pass using an Oyster card in London which allows access to trains and buses. In Sydney, Australia, you need to purchase your monthly travel passes using an Opal card and the equivalent for other cities.

 

After reading this guide, you might have a clearer idea of which country to choose for your studies. If not, don’t fret. We have other guides to help you make your decision, including  getting a student perspective on studying in Australia and finding out more about what the UK offers international students.

 

Ready to find a course? Let our course matcher tool connect you to the right degree and university.

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