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STUDY ABROAD : Student Finances - Must read

Studying abroad: How much will it cost?

Working out how much money you'll need to study abroad is a crucial part of the decision making process. We investigate how much it'll cost to study in some of the most popular destinations.

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A major concern for many prospective students is the cost of studying abroad.  International students can expect to pay higher tuition fees than home students, so the cost of studying abroad is an important consideration when choosing where to go.


While this can be seen as an investment in your future, it’s still helpful to understand the types of costs you can expect and how these are calculated. For example, university tuition fees are typically spent on the facilities, teaching resources, support services and campus development.


In this article, we delve into the affordability of five top study destinations to help you make an informed decision based on tuition fees, accommodation costs and everyday expenses.



Average tuition fees: GBP 16,836 (USD 21,272) per year


Average accommodation cost: GBP 5,314 (USD 6,714) per year


These figures represent an average, so we recommend using our course matching tool to find specific course fees. The cost may differ depending on whether you’re pursuing a course at the undergraduate or postgraduate level, as well as your year of enrolment.


UKCISA advises international students to budget for GBP 1,265 per month in London. Outside of the capital city, costs will be lower with a required monthly budget of roughly GBP 1,015. This is because the cost of living is higher in London compared to other parts of the country.


So, if your course is nine months in duration, you will need GBP 11,385 to cover the cost of living in London while you study. This includes rent and everyday expenses such as bills, food shopping, entertainment and travel.


Overall, the cost of living in the UK is relatively high. Yet, wages are also quite high compared to other countries. In fact, the UK ranks as the 19th most expensive country for cost of living in the world (World Data 2020) with Switzerland (3rd), Iceland (4th) and Norway (6th) sitting in the top 10 most expensive destinations.


Find more detailed information on specific living costs in the UK.



Average tuition fees: CAD 16,652 (USD 12,269) per year


Average accommodation cost: CAD 7,371 (USD 5,431) per year


While a Canadian student visa requires proof of bank balance of CAD 10,000 when applying, this budget may need to be larger. Much will depend on the location, institution and quality of life you’re looking for.


For example, the average monthly rent in Ontario is roughly CAD 800 to CAD 1,000, whereas accommodation can cost around CAD 1,500 to CAD 2,000 per month in British Colombia. With a CAD 10,000 budget, this would only cover rent for five months, so we advise that you extend this recommendation once considering all expenses.


For example, The University of Montreal advises a yearly budget of CAD 15,050 for international students to cover the cost of books, bills, housing, food and other necessary expenses. So, make sure you check what the university recommends as this cost will vary according to each province.


Canada is comparatively cheaper than other popular study destinations such as New Zealand, Australia and the UK but it still sits within the top 20 for the cost of living (World Data 2020). Another factor to consider is health insurance, as healthcare is expensive for non-citizens in Canada.


While Canada isn’t the most affordable country for international students, it is hugely popular, offering a high quality of life, education and ample opportunities.



Average tuition fees: USD 17,809 per year


Average accommodation cost: USD 8,439 per year


The U.S. is the most popular study destination among international students. As such a large country, it can be difficult to provide an accurate review of living costs. Your budget will really depend on which state you choose to live in as places like Hawaii, Washington D.C. and California tend to be on the more expensive side.


For example, renting in Los Angeles can cost an average of USD 2,600 per month. So, living in highly desirable and densely populated areas like these will mean higher rent and food prices. Perhaps unsurprisingly, New York ranks as the 7th most expensive city in the world (Cost of Living Index 2020) for living costs, but it’s also one of the most well-known and popular destinations.


Whereas, states like Iowa, Ohio and Indiana are considered to be more affordable options. For example, renting in Ohio will set you back USD 550 USD 700 per month which is quite a lot cheaper than the states outlined above. It really depends on the university you choose, where it’s located and the type of environment and experience that you’re looking for when considering the US for your studies.


Check out our US destination guides to find out more about which state you prefer.


New Zealand

Average tuition fees: NZD 25,715 (USD 16,905) per year


Average accommodation cost: NZD 12,571 (USD 8,264) per year


Ranking 16th in the global rankings for the cost of living (World Data 2020), New Zealand is considered to be relatively expensive, but the expense may be worth it to live on one of the most beautiful and scenic islands in the world.


As with any country, living in the major cities will cost you more overall than it would be living in more rural areas. The following cities in New Zealand are ranked in order of most to least expensive:


  • Auckland
  • Queenstown
  • Wellington
  • New Plymouth


In recent years, Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, has been voted the world’s most livable city (Deutsche Bank). So, despite these high prices, New Zealand is clearly a desirable place to live and the cost doesn’t seem to be too off-putting for international students. In fact, this year saw more than 50,000 international student enrolments, reflecting the popularity of this destination.


According to the University of Auckland, international students should have access to NZD 20,000 to NZD 25,000 per year of study in New Zealand. This covers accommodation, food, travel, books, bills, entertainment etc. The rent in Auckland sits at an estimated NZD 200 to NZD 350 per month. On top of this, monthly groceries are expected to cost NZD 100 to NZD 150 per week.


Although New Zealand can be expensive, full-time students are entitled to work up to 20 hours per week. The minimum wage in New Zealand is NZD 13 per hour so you could work while you study to give yourself some extra spending allowance.



Average tuition fees: AUD 26,542 (USD 18,455) per year


Average accommodation cost: AUD 14,878 (USD 10,345) per year


Nearly 700,000 international students enrolled in Australian universities in 2020. The prestigious universities, weather and beautiful landscapes are just a few of the attractive qualities that make Australia such a popular study destination. Yet, the high quality of life comes at a price. Australia ranks as the 14th most expensive country in the world (World Data 2020), making this the most expensive country on this list, ahead of the UK, Canada, USA and New Zealand.


It may come as no surprise that Sydney is the most expensive city in Australia, followed by Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth (Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living 2019 Survey). However, the average salary is much higher compared to other countries. Actually, Australia has the fifth-highest average salary in the world (Numbeo). So, although the cost of living is high, so are the salaries.


International students can work up to 20 hours per week during term time as outlined in the student visa requirements. During university holidays, there is no limit to the number of hours an international student can work.


Now that you have a greater sense of the cost of living in each of these countries, find a student lifestyle that suits you best or start searching for courses!


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