Believe it or not, it is very possible to study abroad on a budget! Some of the best destination to study abroad are also ones where tuition fees are low, or sometimes free tuition. Read below to find out more about 10 of the cheapest countries to study abroad, in no particular order…
Although all of the Nordic countries are comparatively affordable study abroad destinations, Norway is our pick as it remains free for anyone, for both within and outside the European Union, at public universities, except for a few specialized programs. Europe’s Nordic countries are well known for their high quality of life and stunning natural sceneries, and Norway is no exception. Another interesting reason to study in Norway is the availability of English-taught programs at all study levels, plus a high number of locals are proficient in English. That said, as with the other Nordic countries, Norway comes with a high price tag in terms of the cost of living; you will need around NOK 139,680 (~US$17,200) per annum.
Heading to Asia, Taiwan is another of the most cheapest countries to study abroad. For instance, at National Taiwan University – the nation’s leading university at 72nd in the QS World University Rankings® 2019 – tuition fees for students at the undergraduate level start at TW$100,920 (~US$3,300) per annum for liberal arts programs, up to TW$124,200 (~US$4,050). This country offers more than 120 courses taught in English, at more than 40 universities, and Taiwan is yet a popular destination in which you can learn Mandarin. Taiwan also offers a good quality of life at relatively low cost of living; accommodation costs as little as TW$88,000 (~US$2,900) per year.
Popularly known globally as ‘the land of ideas’, Germany continues to grow in popularity with international students, and it’s easier to see why – it offers reputable universities, comparatively low costs, and a high quality of life. There is zero tuition fees charged at undergraduate and PhD level at all public universities, with the exception of those in Baden-Württemberg. Master’s students who have previously not studied their undergraduate degree in Germany will normally pay upwards of €20,000 (~US$23,450) yearly, but it is likely you may be able to secure a scholarship to help. To cover living costs, you will need at least €10,200 (~US$11,950) yearly, but possibly more, depending on your location, lifestyle and spending habits. And there are a number of English-taught courses, specifically at graduate level.
The yearly tuition fees in France are the same for both local and foreign students, and for 2019/19 academic year, the figure is set at €170 (~US$200) per annum for bachelor’s (licence) programs, €243 (~US$285) for most master’s courses, and €380 (~US$445) for doctoral courses. Fees are quite higher at the competitive grandes écoles and grands établissements, which set their own fees. Living expenses are highest in the capital, Paris, but you may find it worth the extra cost – after all, Paris was frequently named the world’s foremost number one student city four times in a row (and currently stands at 5th). If you are not yet a fluent French speaker, you can study in France in English, with the majority of English-taught programs found at postgraduate level.
Full of interesting and unique cultures to explore, Mexico is one of Latin America’s most-visited countries, and has many beautiful things to offer international students. Tuition fees vary, with private universities charging a little higher, and average around US$6,300 per annum for foreign undergraduate students in the capital, Mexico City, which was named one of the world’s top 100 cities for international students. Living expenses are indeed reasonably low in Mexico, with all living costs rounding up to US$9,250 on a standard budget in the capital, or US$6,450 elsewhere. Although the primary language of instruction is Spanish, Mexican universities are offering more English-taught courses to attract international students.
Heading back to Asia for the next cheapest countries to study abroad, India is a fantastic option for students looking to combine affordability with cultural diversity. Though Hindi is the dominant of the 100+ languages spoken there, English is commonly used as the language of instruction at Indian universities, especially at postgraduate level. Living costs are highly affordable; a one-way trip using public transport can cost as little as 29 US cents. Tuition fees vary depending on your study level and university, but are typically not higher than US$7,880 a year, and you should be able to live comfortably on a yearly US$4,600 budget.
Argentina, the second-largest country in South America, boasts stunning natural beauty, a truly diverse geography that makes it fantastic for students keen on outdoor adventure and exploration. Argentina is also considered among the safest countries in the region and is known for its fun-loving culture, passionate people and national identity. You can typically study for free at any state-funded or public university, with tuition fees around US$5,100 per year or a little higher at the private institutions. You will need around US$5,000 for living expenses, with rent costing as little as US$350 monthly.
Another of the best destination to study abroad on a budget is Poland, which also offers a high quality of education, along with a lot of fantastic culture and history to explore. You can study for free if you are fluent in Polish, or if you take the same entrance exams as Polish students and study your course in Polish. But no worries, there are also many English-taught programs available, costing around €2,000-3000 (~US$2,340-3,500) per year. Living costs are reasonable, as you shouldn’t need more than €6,600 (~US$7,700) per year. Warsaw, the capital city was recently ranked among the top 20 cities for affordability in the latest QS Best Student Cities index, and 53rd overall.
Malaysia is undoubtedly recognised as one of the cheapest countries to study abroad, particularly in terms of living costs. Kuala Lumpur, its capital city came first for affordability on the QS Best Student Cities 2016, and most students will only need just about MYR 14,400 (~US$3,550) yearly to live comfortably in Malaysia. In terms of tuition fees, you will pay on average US$4,000 per academic year, but some courses are even cheaper. Malaysia is also home to a number of branch campuses of major international universities, such as the Australia’s Monash University or the UK’s University of Nottingham, offering the opportunity to gain a degree accredited by these institutions at a much lower cost.
Concluding our look at some of the best international destinations to study abroad on a budget, South Africa is renowned for its natural sceneries, cultural diversity, and turbulent history. Another fantastic choice for students with a love of the outdoors, it’s also reasonably inexpensive, same with low costs of living and tuition fees. Tuition fees vary from one University to another, but come to an average of US$6,000 for foreign undergraduates pursuing studies at the University of Cape Town (South Africa’s topmost-ranked University in the QS World University Rankings) as well as the University of the Western Cape. You will need around R 120,000 (~US$9,150) per year to cover your living expenses.
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