Which country is the cheapest for international students?

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The decision to study abroad can be bittersweet. On the one hand, you have a wide lane of opportunities. Whereas on the other hand, there are daunting preemptive choices. You must choose the right institution, the correct program, the finances, and much more in due time.

Of course, it goes without saying that overseas education is an expensive affair. The top study-abroad destinations, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, have high living costs and exorbitant tuition fees.

The scholarship amount that most international students receive is insufficient. Thus, covering accommodation, meals, commute, tuition, and other necessities becomes nearly impossible. However, simply because the most sought-after host countries for international students are expensive does not mean that every destination is the same.

Some top study abroad destinations are much more affordable. What are they? Let us find out!

The nine most affordable study abroad destinations in 2022 

Germany

The first country on our list might come as a surprise to many. Despite being one of the most developed countries in Western Europe, Germany is affordable for students. Moreover, it is a top-tier study-abroad destination whose public universities scraped off tuition fees for international students in 2014.

You can avail free education in the country’s public universities for undergraduate, postgraduate, and even doctoral programs. Furthermore, international students are only obliged to pay a small administrative fee of around 150 to 250 EU per semester. In addition, the cost of living in the country is 850 Euros per month. It is much lower than its other Anglophone counterparts.

In recent years, Germany has emerged as the country with one of the fastest-growing international student populations. We can deem affordability as a significant facilitator of the same. Moreover, German institutions offer education quality par excellence.

German universities like the Technical University of Munich and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München also fare in the top 100 of QS World University Rankings 2023. Therefore, study abroad aspirations must be considered in Germany, especially for STEM subjects. 

Norway

Although, to an untrained eye, Norway might seem like a country where people flock to indulge in indulging beauty and picturesque locations, which is not the whole truth. Norway’s natural beauty is unrivaled. However, the country also stands as a towering presence regarding higher education.

The best part is that Norway’s public universities offer free education to all local and international students. The only payment required is a small semester fee of around USD 35 to 71. However, although education is free, the living costs in Norway are steep.

Therefore, you can expect to spend USD 17200 annually on living costs alone. Nevertheless, the lack of tuition fees coupled with other excellent benefits such as high standards of living, low employment, and crime rates, top-tier welfare system make Norway a lucrative option for aspirants looking for an affordable study abroad destination.

Taiwan

With 40 recognized universities and 120-plus English language courses, Taiwan stands tall. It is the third country on our list of cheapest places to study abroad. The country’s status as an excellent host for international students, especially those from Asia, is increasing at an unprecedented rate.

The government’s efforts at offering more degrees in the English language have been a significant pull factor for inbound student mobility.

Another principal merit that Taiwanese universities offer is affordability. The best part about studying in Taiwan is that it provides excellent value for money. For instance, studying at the National Taiwan University, which has a QS World University Ranking of 68, costs only USD 3000 per year.

You can expect to spend anywhere between USD 1650 to USD 4700 per semester. The amount depends on your course and level of study. There are also various scholarships for international students, funded by both universities and the government. So, the living costs in Taiwan may go up to USD 3700 per semester.

Malaysia

The fourth country on our list is another Asian giant – Malaysia. It has been etching its name as an excellent yet affordable hub for international students. The tuition fee in Malaysian universities is around USD 3950 per year. However, the cost of living is pretty low. You can expect to spend around USD 3440 to 4600 per month, which includes accommodation, food, transport, and other necessities.

The salient feature that makes Malaysia a highly popular yet budget-friendly study abroad destination for those looking for cheap options is the presence of branch campuses of some of the most acclaimed universities worldwide. Simply put, you can study the same degree at a much-reduced cost than at the actual university campus.

For instance, top-tier institutions like Monash University, Australia, and the University of Nottingham have branch locations in Malaysia. Thus, you can get a degree from a renowned institution at a fraction of the price.

Mexico

It is among the most popular and cheapest countries for overseas education. With 35 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Mexico has a rich culture. But it also offers world-class higher learning opportunities for international students. On average, public universities in the country charge between USD 378 to 818/year as tuition fees. The cost is for the undergraduate levels.

The costs at private universities can be hefty. On the other hand, the living costs in Mexico are meager, and you only have to spend around USD 400 to 500 per month. Also, Two Mexican universities, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and Tecnológico de Monterrey fare in the top 200 of QS World University Rankings 2022.

Quality and affordability combine to make Mexico an excellent yet affordable place to study abroad. Of course, if you know Spanish, you can study anywhere you want to. But the proportion of programs taught in English is increasing each year. 

Poland

Any list of the cheapest countries to study abroad is incomplete without Poland. Why? Because in 2016, Warsaw – the capital of Poland – was ranked as the second most affordable city for students. Poland does not offer free tuition to international students. The average tuition fee in public universities ranges from USD 2200 to 4200 per year.

However, the charges at private institutions can reach up to USD 6600 per year. But, Poland is an excellent option for international learning because of its low cost of living compared to other European countries. You can expect to spend around USD 650 per month to cover all expenses in Poland.

Furthermore, student discounts are available for almost everything. From rent to bills and commuting, living in Poland as a student is more affordable. In addition, there are some great programs taught in English that do not need fluency in Polish or the Matura exam for admission.

France

You might be astonished to know that virtually every institution in France offers gold-standard education to students worldwide. Apart from high-quality learning, international students also have the option of taking lessons full-time or part-time.

International students commencing their education in France have to pay an average of 2770 EU per year for undergraduate programs. The fee is 3770 EU per year for postgraduate programs, respectively. However, PhDs are comparatively affordable in France at 380 EU per year.

In addition, four French universities – Université PSL, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, Sorbonne University, and University Paris-Saclay- also fare in the top 100 of QS World University Rankings. Thus, exemplifying France’s stature as a stalwart of higher learning.

Spain

You might have considered Spain a fascinating tourist destination, which is true. But it is also one of Europe’s best study-abroad locations. It has an affordable structure for international students compared to other European countries.

For example, a public university charges a tuition cost of 680 to 1300 EU every year for undergraduate programs. In addition, the tuition for master’s courses ranges from 720 to 1440 EU in both public and private universities.

Some of the top universities in the country include the University of Barcelona, the Autonomous University of Madrid, and Universidad Complutense de Madrid, to name a few. Therefore, if you were looking for a budget-friendly study abroad destination in the UK, Spain would be a great idea. 

Russia

The last country on our list of cheapest study-abroad destinations is Russia. The country’s educational standards are increasing at a fast pace. Therefore, we can see a large influx of inbound international students. In addition, many Russian universities offer excellent value for money, with the average tuition fee being USD 5000 to 6000 per year.

In addition, the comparative cost of living is also low at around USD 400 to 450 per month. However, if you plan to stay in Moscow or St. Petersburg, you can expect to spend much more on living costs.

Conclusion

So, there we have it, a comprehensive overview of the nine most affordable study abroad destinations for 2022. If you are looking for a budget-friendly option to fulfill your dream of higher learning overseas, then considering one or a few of the above-mentioned countries will be a great idea.

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