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The basics
Study abroad : Student Finances

What are the extra costs of studying abroad?

There is a lot to think about when applying to university. Considering your finances is a crucial part of this. While you may have thought of all the big expenses, we take you through the extra costs that may pop up while studying abroad.

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There is no doubt about it, going to university can be expensive. While you may find it cheaper to study or live in one location rather than another, the cost can add up either way. While you may have calculated your tuition fees, cost of rent and how much your travel will come to, there are so many other expenses that can creep up on you. From recurring monthly costs to unexpected one-off purchases, here are some categories where you may find your spending increase if you’re not too careful. 


Regular monthly expenses 


For many students, going to university is the first time you live without your family and are responsible for your spending and costs. Things you may have taken for granted, such as the internet and television, will now likely be coming out of your bank account alongside other monthly costs that are potentially much higher. 


What to consider 


  • Phone plan 

  • TV subscriptions services 

  • Wi-Fi 

  • Insurance 

  • Utility bills (water, gas, electric) 


How to manage this 


Some of these expenses, such as insurance, are inevitable. Making sure you are prepared for them is half the battle, as you can factor them into your overall costs before you leave. However, just because you must pay for something doesn’t mean you can’t find the best deal for you. Remember that costs can vary widely depending on which provider you choose. Make sure to do your research before selecting a plan.  


It’s important to consider that while one provider may be offering you a cheaper rate, you may not be getting anywhere close to a similar value. Going through the fine details as to what they offer is crucial. 


Other expenses may not be necessary, and it all depends on where you are on your study abroad journey as well as the country and university you’ve chosen. For example, a new student studying in the UK won’t have to worry about separate costs for their Wi-Fi and utility bills in their first year if they are staying on campus


Once the second year comes, you might have to move into student housing or private accommodation. These bills must be considered and can be overwhelming after a full year of not worrying about them. 


When it comes to smaller bills like TV subscriptions, it’s important to measure whether you need it or not. While it may seem like a small amount here and there, it truly does add up.   


Look and see if the services you are interested in have free versions, as paying for them each month may not be worth it if all your doing is avoiding the occasional ad. Alternatively, you can find out if a friend or family member already has a login that you can use. 




When looking at studying abroad, the main thing many students think about regarding travel is getting there. This is understandable, as there is already so much to think about, but it’s important to consider other travel costs that may hit you. 


What to consider 


  • travelling to and from campus 

  • travelling around your new country 

  • travelling home 


How to manage this 


With university degrees usually being at least three years, you are likely going to travel quite a bit in this time, from daily outings to bigger trips. To reduce the cost of travelling to campus and back, you can avoid high costs by looking at the accommodation on or near campus.  


Many universities offer accommodation on and around their campuses, meaning you don’t have to worry about spending money travelling to lectures or meeting classmates regularly. 


You are probably going to want to travel around the country you’re studying in. This can be very exciting, as you get to see more of that country than just the town or city you live in, but it can be expensive. 


Looking at a popular travel destination like the US, students from across the globe studying there often take the opportunity to see more of the huge country during summer breaks.   


Trains are notoriously expensive in the US but can be much cheaper when booked in advance. If you know that you’re going to want to visit a specific area in the coming year or so, getting your travel booked as early as possible can cut down the cost. 


The same is true of travelling home during your studies too. While you may not be able to predict when you will want to come home, having things like flights booked early can save you the huge expenses you can face by booking last minute. A date for going home planned well in advance is also something to look forward to. This can help with any homesickness you may be feeling in the meantime. 


Additional university costs 


After going over your tuition fees and the cost of studying at a particular university, it can be difficult to imagine that there are potentially more costs coming your way associated with the degree itself. However, there can be. 


Extra costs to consider 


  • field trips 

  • club memberships 

  • course-specific spending 

  • printing  


How to manage this 


Depending on your course, the additional costs mentioned may be relevant to you, but you will likely come across at least one of them during your time at university. 

 In each case, preparing for the likelihood that they will arise and assessing how much you need to cover it, can help you budget for them. 


Looking at field trips and club memberships, asking yourself how much value you place in these extras is very important. You don’t want to miss out on these opportunities if you truly want them to be a part of your university experience. At the same time, if you are cutting expenses elsewhere just to fit them in and aren’t that excited about them, it may be something you can miss. 


Another aspect of university spending that cannot be as easily avoided is the cost of services like printing and practical items you may need depending on the course you’re on. Whether you are a fine art student needing to be well-stocked for practical assignments or an English student printing page after page of an essay, factoring these into your overall spending plan can help avoid unwanted surprises.  


University is expensive, no matter where you go, and just as you think you’ve accounted for everything, something could come up completely unexpectedly. By considering these extra costs, you can be better prepared.  


Do you have more money questions? Find out more about financing your studies abroad

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