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Ask Anna – Study Abroad Costs

Question: “How much does it really cost to study abroad?”

Answer: The total cost to study overseas is affected by the following main considerations:

  1. Type of course and duration
  2. Study destination country
  3. Student visa requirements
  4. Institution tuition fees and location
  5. Your personal spending habits
  6. Exchange rate
  7. Scholarships and bursaries

Type of course and duration

Most undergraduate courses are 3-4 years in duration and so you will need to have enough money to cover the tuition fees, cost of living, health insurance, travel and other costs of this time. Postgraduate courses vary between one year for a Masters, to 4-5 years for a PhD.

Work out the annual tuition fee x by the course duration for an estimate of the total tuition costs. Courses based on the sciences and engineering will usually cost more so don’t forget to factor in books, study trips, and equipment for example.

Please be aware of your chosen institutions’ course fee policy as some institution can and do increase fees during a students study. In other words, what you pay in your first year might not be fixed for each year of the course. The total cost of the tuition fees for the duration of the course should be on your offer letter. However, it is always best to get this information before you apply.

You can find course fees by searching for your course at www.studylink.com.

Study destination country

We have estimated the annual cost of living for each of the main English speaking study destination countries below. This is based on averages for accommodation, food, entertainment, travel, visa requirements etc. It completely depends on where you will be living – city versus country, house versus on-campus, your personal spending habits and transport options. Obviously, expect to spend more if you are in a major city, living in a house off campus, driving your own car and partying lots!

Remember, you can offset some of these costs by working part time within the student visa regulations. However, you will need to prove you have the money in your bank account before you start to study in many cases in order to apply for a student visa.

Country Estimated annual cost of living
USA USD$10-15,000
UK UK£9-12,000
Australia AUD$18,000-20,000
New Zealand NZD$12,000-15,000
Canada CAD$15,000-20,000

Find out the cost in your currency.

Exchange rate

Once you have found your course(s), calculated the total tuition fee and added the annual cost of living for the number of years of study you need to take into account the exchange rate. Unfortunately there is little you can do if your currency is weak against the currency of your preferred destination.

Track exchange rates.

Some tips and recommendations

  1. Save time by being realistic about what you can afford before applying
  2. Pay tuition fees in advance when the exchange rate is in your favour – if you can afford to do this, you might even be able to get a discount from the institution
  3. Place your living costs in a savings account with high interest and move it to your study location when you need it
  4. Set a weekly budget and stick to it
  5. Buy currency in advance if you can when the exchange rate is good. This is known as hedging and it is a good thing if you can afford it and you are confident the rate won’t get even better!
  6. You can also offset costs by applying for bursaries and scholarships, or sibling discounts if you study at the same institution as a relative

Do you have a question for Anna?

Write your question in the comments box below. The best question will be chosen for next month’s newsletter!

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