With students facing average annual tuition and living costs of £22,715 in the UK, it is hardly surprising that thousands of students are looking abroad to get their degree. The benefits of studying abroad go far beyond just saving money of course, but the possibility is certainly a bonus! So, taking into account tuition fees and living costs, which countries offer the best bang for your buck? And which ones are eye-wateringly expensive?
Studying in another EU country can offer great value to UK students - and the growth of low-cost airlines means getting back to Britain needn’t break the bank either. The most popular EU country for international students (apart from the UK itself) is Germany. Non-existent tuition fees in most universities, and a very reasonable cost of living, mean that it costs an average of just €9,170 (£6,720) per year to live a student lifestyle (according to the German Academic Exchange Service). Munich and Berlin are two of the most popular - and affordable - choices. Wunderbar! Universities in Greece and Spain are also free of tuition fees - a benefit that is extended to all EU students, including those from the UK. Barcelona and Madrid are excellent student cities, while Greece has one of the lowest costs of living in the EU (plus excellent weather all year round!) France is a surprisingly reasonable choice, with very low tuition fees of around €180 per year for undergraduate courses and €250 for a Masters. Living costs - especially outside Paris - can be very manageable, with a room in university halls sometimes costing as little as €120 a month. The Nordic countries might be famously expensive in terms of living costs, but tuition is free in Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden for all EU students. Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki were also all ranked in a 2015 “Top 50 Student Cities” survey for their great student lifestyle. Other European countries worth taking a look at include Belgium (annual tuition fees of €610); Austria (€360 per semester); The Czech Republic (£700 per semester for an English speaking course - but with incredibly low living costs compared to the UK) and Italy (€800-€1000 per year in tuition). Outside the EU, Argentina is a popular choice - Buenos Aires has been ranked one of the world’s best student cities in a recent poll and international students are only charged a nominal amount to attend university there. Taiwan also offers excellent value for money, with Taipei being awarded the title of “Most Affordable Student City in the World” in 2015.
Maybe surprisingly, a recent report by HSBC found that Australia was - by quite a margin - the most expensive country for an international student. Combined tuition and cost of living cost a massive £27,283 a year compared to £22,715 in the UK. International students are certainly not put off heading Down Under by the cost though: 20% of all students at an Aussie university are from outside the country. Singapore comes in second place, with cheaper tuition fees than Australia but a more expensive cost of living, averaging out to £25,427 a year. The US comes in third, with the highest tuition fees on the list. It costs on average a staggering £16,148 per year to study at an American university (and bear in mind many courses are four-year) but this is offset with great value living costs of only £7,551. Hong Kong and Canada are next on the list, costing £20,832 and £19,410 respectively. There are ways to mitigate the costs of studying abroad as well - take a look at our guide to the Erasmus Plus programme, which helps EU students study in another country for a semester or longer. Deciding where to study shouldn’t of course be a decision made solely on a financial basis. The university itself and whether it is the right fit for you is equally important. Wherever you decide to go, make an account with TransferWise to avoid hefty bank fees when transferring money between the UK and your new country.