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saving money as an international student

Studying abroad can save you money – as long as you know where to look!

February 12, 2015

It’s wonderful to go on holiday and be pleasantly surprised that the costs are generally so much lower than those in your home country. From cheaper meals and attractions to lower transport and accommodation costs, who hasn’t thought ‘this is the life’ while enjoying a more budget-friendly city?\r\n\r\nSo when a Huffington Post article surfaced that suggested UK students could save up to £13,000 per year when studying abroad, we were partly accepting and partly sceptical. Yes, some cities such as Krakow do have lower living costs than the UK, but what about cities such as Rome and Paris? These capitals are notoriously expensive and often compete with London in the cost of living ranks.\r\n\r\nSaying that studying abroad is cheaper is just too much of a generalisation. So we thought we’d document the real average cost of student living in the countries where our students want to study.\r\n\r\nThe majority of our students at IEC Abroad aspire to study in an English speaking country in order to gain a more immersive language learning experience. As a result, we specialise in placing students in Canada, the US, Ireland, Australia and the UK. We’ll be discussing the typical student living costs in these countries based on accommodation, board and general living costs.\r\n\r\nOf course, these are always general figures which don’t account for different courses, financial grants or different universities. We’ve also excluded fees, as these can vary widely between different colleges and universities. However, these figures should still give you an idea of rough costs when you’re choosing where to study.\r\n

Average cost of Studying in Manchester:

\r\n£9,255 per year (excluding fees)\r\n\r\nThe University of Manchester has a helpful breakdown of living costs for undergraduate students based on 40 weeks of study (typically, this will exclude summer holidays). The total cost includes accommodation (£4,850), meals, books, clothes, local transport and general living costs (laundry, phone contract, socialising etc.)\r\n\r\nThese costs are based on self-catered university accommodation (which is often more expensive than sharing a private house with a group of friends), so while the figure is a useful guide, always draft up a list of your own expectations beforehand too.\r\n

Average cost of studying in London:

\r\n£12,240 minimum per year (excluding fees)\r\n\r\nUK Visa and immigration requires international students to have a minimum budget of £1,020 per month, as well as enough to cover their tuition fees.\r\n\r\nWhile Study London claim you can secure property for as little as £150 a week, keep in mind that the ‘minimum budget’ is just that, a minimum. It isn’t uncommon for student accommodation in the capital to be double this amount.\r\n\r\nSpeak to the accommodation and finance departments at your shortlisted universities before deciding on where to apply. This should help you get a realistic figure so you can budget accordingly.\r\n

Average cost of studying in the USA:

\r\n$7,705 – $11,188 per year (excluding fees)\r\n\r\nHSBC reported that in 2014, the average annual cost of studying in the US was $36,564 (including tuition fees). That figure seems terrifyingly high, but luckily Top Universities came to the rescue with a more realistic breakdown which accounts for the unique nature of the US higher education system.\r\n\r\nThe US have what is called ‘two-year’ public colleges or ‘community colleges’ which are considerably cheaper than the private four year colleges in terms of both living costs and course fees.\r\n\r\nThe scales here take into account average annual living costs for two year public colleges and four year private colleges.\r\n\r\nYou can read more about the US education system on our ‘studying in the US’ advice page.\r\n\r\nThe US is a huge country and unlike the UK where, generally, cities within a short distance of each other will have similar living costs, costs can vary widely between North and South and East Coast to West. As a result, take the average figures as a rough guide and find out more accurate figures from the universities you are interested in.\r\n

Average cost of studying in Australia:

\r\nAu$18,610 minimum per year (excluding fees)\r\nWhile we’re mostly focusing on the average living costs, it’s important to note that Australia is unusual in that course fees can vary significantly based on the course you are studying. For example fees for a humanities course will be lower than those for a medical degree. As students can take a range of units from different bands, fees can vary considerably between each student too.\r\n\r\nAs with course fees for all institutions in all countries, make sure you have a good idea of your personal course costs before making the leap.\r\n\r\nThe figure shown here is the minimum you need (per year) to be granted a Visa.\r\n\r\nThe University of Sydney state that students can expect to pay out around Au$1,600-$2,000 on a monthly basis, however The University of Canberra cite slightly lower living costs.\r\n

Average cost of studying in Canada:

\r\n$10,000 CDN (excluding fees)\r\n\r\nLike with most countries, the cost of study in Canada can vary dramatically between cities. Montreal and Toronto are considered expensive, whereas accommodation in smaller cities will cost you less. Budget savvy students can also save money by choosing to study off-campus, however do keep in mind that in your first year you’ll probably want to be close to your fellow students.\r\n\r\nAverage rental costs for dorm rooms in Canada are around $5750 CDN per year.\r\n\r\nLike Australia, fees vary for each course, with Medicine and Dentistry being considerably more expensive. As a result, proving that you have enough money to cover your course will very much depend on what you want to study.\r\n

Average cost of studying in Ireland:

\r\n8,000 – 12,100 Euros (excluding fees)\r\n\r\nAs an international student, part of your Visa application will involve proving that you have enough to cover your costs of study. This will vary depending on your own lifestyle and the institution where you are studying, but as a rule, it’s best ensuring you have a higher end budget.\r\n\r\nRecent estimations put the cost of living in a shared dwelling in Dublin at around 300 Euros per month. For a small private flat, you can expect to pay around 600 Euros per month.\r\n\r\nThese figures are all averages and, as with any estimation of living costs, it largely depends on whether you want to live on a careful budget or spend a little more during your student years.\r\n\r\nSpeak to your chosen university and then budget accordingly. If you’re nervous about sticking to a set budget, then try to add a little more on to cover any unexpected costs.\r\n\r\nOur international education consultants are here to help you plan all elements of your study abroad experience, so please get in touch or visit our study abroad pages to find out more.