Here are the Top 10 Affordable Study Abroad Destinations. Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity for students to explore new cultures, gain valuable experiences, and broaden their horizons. However, the cost of studying abroad can often be a major concern for many students.
Thankfully, there are several affordable study abroad destinations that offer high-quality education without breaking the bank.
This blog post will highlight the top 10 affordable study abroad destinations that provide excellent academic programs, cultural immersion, and affordable living expenses.
Top 10 Affordable Study Abroad Destinations.
Mexico is a vibrant country known for its rich history, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality. It offers a wide range of academic programs in various disciplines, including language studies, arts, and sciences. The cost of living in Mexico is significantly lower compared to many other study abroad destinations, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious students.
Tuition fees and living costs in Mexico for International Students.
The cost of tuition fees for universities in Mexico differ depending on the course of study and the institution. On average, higher education costs approximately US$5,000 per year, but this amount can vary significantly. Public universities in Mexico offer undergraduate programs as low as $378 per year, while some charge up to $818. Private institutions, on the other hand, have considerably higher tuition fees ranging from $1,636 to $16,353 annually.
Mexico has relatively low living expenses. In major cities, housing can cost anywhere from US$150-200 per month, and even less if you live outside of the city center. It’s also quite affordable to travel within Mexico, with the metro train costing only US$3 per day for unlimited use, and buses costing just US$2 per journey.
On a strict budget, you can expect to spend around US$400 for expenses such as housing, transportation, food, and drinks. However, if you plan on doing more activities such as shopping and dining out, you should budget more. It’s important to note that international students are not allowed to work for pay in Mexico, so this should also be factored into your total expenses. For a standard budget, expect to spend around US$500.
Poland is gaining popularity as a study abroad destination due to its affordable tuition fees and low living costs. It has several internationally recognized universities that offer a wide range of courses taught in English. Poland is known for its beautiful architecture, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant student life.
Living costs in Poland for International Students.
The housing rent and food take up the largest portion of the total living costs. Dormitories and rented flats and apartments can cost 960-2,400 EUR per year. Food and groceries add up to 1,800 to 2,160 EUR annually. Public transport costs 130-150 EUR per year, depending on the type. Private health insurance costs 100-180 EUR a year. Utilities like water, gas, electricity, phone, internet, etc. cost 180-300 EUR per year. Lastly, entertainment in Poland can cost 400-600 EUR annually. Thus, the average annual cost of living in Poland for international students is 3,500 to 6,000 EUR per year.
The cost of living in different Polish cities varies mainly due to housing expenses. Let’s compare living costs in popular student cities like Warsaw, Gdansk, Poznan, Lodz, Krakow, and Katowice.
|City Name||Monthly Cost (EUR)||Annual Cost (EUR)|
Living expenses in cities such as Warsaw, Lodz, and Krakow are higher compared to Gdansk, Katowice, and Poznan. Warsaw, being the most expensive city in Poland, has an annual living cost ranging from 6,180-7,560 EUR, while Poznan is the cheapest with an average cost of 2,400-3,600 EUR per year.
Thailand is a tropical paradise that offers a unique study abroad experience. It is known for its affordable tuition fees, low living costs, and world-class universities. Students can choose from a variety of programs in fields such as business, tourism, and environmental studies. Thailand’s vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and delicious street food make it an exciting destination for students.
Living costs in Thailand for International Students.
In Thailand, public universities charge lower tuition fees than private universities. The cost of studying at private universities varies depending on factors such as course duration, type of course, and institution.
If you are an international student interested in studying in Thailand, it’s important to consider the cost of tuition. Depending on the program you choose, tuition fees can range from $17,000 to $28,000 on average. Additionally, you will need to budget for your living expenses while in the country. This can vary depending on your location, lifestyle choices, and miscellaneous expenses. Generally, you can expect to spend between $600 to $1200 per month on food, transportation, and accommodation.
|Level of Study||Tuition Fee (US$ approx)|
|Bachelor’s Degree||US$ 17000 to US$ 32000|
|Master’s Degree||US$ 8000 to US$ 16000|
Hungary is a hidden gem in Central Europe that offers high-quality education at affordable prices. The country is home to several prestigious universities that offer a wide range of programs in fields such as engineering, medicine, and social sciences. Hungary’s rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene make it an ideal destination for students seeking an affordable study abroad experience.
Living costs in Hungary for International Students.
The average cost of living in Hungary for an international student is 5,000 to 7,000 EUR per year. Although the living expenses depend a lot on the city where the students live, we cannot deny that the student’s spending habits also factor in. Careful budgeting can further help students reduce their cost of living.
Budapest is the most expensive city for lodging in Hungary, followed by Debrecen, Szeged, and Pécs, according to “Study in Hungary” website.
|Type of Accommodation||Annual Cost in EUR|
|Type of Accommodation||Annual Cost in EUR|
|Type of Accommodation||Annual Cost in EUR|
|Type of Accommodation||Annual Cost in EUR|
Malaysia is a multicultural country known for its warm climate, diverse cuisine, and beautiful landscapes. It has several top-ranked universities that offer affordable tuition fees and a wide range of programs in fields such as engineering, business, and computer science. Malaysia’s low cost of living and high quality of education make it an attractive destination for international students.
Living costs in Malaysia for International Students.
Malaysia is a popular choice for international students seeking affordable education. It is ranked 142nd among the 192 most expensive countries to live in globally. In comparison to Singapore (USD 2169) and Japan (USD 1370), the cost of living in Malaysia (USD 652) is relatively low. This makes it an excellent opportunity for students on a tight budget. However, the cost of living can differ depending on the student’s preferred location, lifestyle, and accommodation choices.
It is important to consider your monthly cost of living in Malaysia, including accommodation, travel, food, utilities, and other expenses, to maintain a good quality of life.
Without rent, the personal monthly expenses for a single individual are between MYR 100 – MYR 200. The estimated monthly cost of living in Malaysia for international students is MYR 1,500 or MYR 18,000 annually.
The average cost of living in Malaysia for Indian students can vary depending on your lifestyle and location.
International students can lower their living expenses in Malaysia by applying for one of the many scholarships available, most provided by the government and some by particular institutions.
International students who meet the requirements may qualify for the Malaysian International Scholarship or the Malaysian Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowship Plan. Most of these scholarships cover travel and lodging expenses within Malaysia.
Here is an estimate of the average rent in some of the major cities in Malaysia:
|Kuala Lumpur||MYR 2192|
|Johor Bahru||MYR 2,256.25|
|On-campus (depending on the university)||MYR 318 – MYR 1250|
Malaysia is recognized for both its high-quality instruction and low tuition costs. Tuition fees vary depending on the university and program you choose. On average, international students can expect to pay the following per year:
- Undergraduate course (public universities): MYR 54014 – MYR 733773
- Postgraduate (public universities): MYR 34331 – MYR 47297
- Undergraduate course (private universities): MYR 25176 – MYR 32042
- Postgraduate (private universities): MYR 27000- MYR 35,678.37
Other costs, such as visa fees and study materials, should be considered in addition to tuition.
- Visa: MYR 1,060 (one-time payment)
- Study material (textbooks, writing material, etc.): MYR 50 – MYR 100 per semester.
6. Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a popular study abroad destination in Central Europe due to its affordable tuition fees and low living costs. It is home to several renowned universities that offer programs in various disciplines, including arts, sciences, and engineering. The country’s rich history, breathtaking architecture, and vibrant cultural scene provide students with an enriching study abroad experience.
Living costs in Czech Republic for International Students.
In order to cover your living expenses, it is recommended to have a budget of around EUR 500-750 per month. The exact amount you’ll need may vary depending on your lifestyle, but your location of study will have the biggest impact on your costs. If you’re studying in a larger city like Prague or Brno, you can expect to pay more for accommodation, which is typically the largest expense. However, you can save money by opting to stay in a student dormitory.
The Czech crown (CZK) is the main currency used in Czechia. Some shops or hotels accept euros, but always check the exchange rate.
As a student in the Czech Republic, you can expect to spend an average of 350 to 750 USD per month on living expenses. This covers things like housing, public transportation, meals, and entertainment. Keep in mind that your actual expenses may vary based on where you live and your personal lifestyle choices.
7. South Africa
South Africa offers a unique study abroad experience with its diverse culture, stunning landscapes, and rich wildlife. The country has several reputable universities offering affordable tuition fees and a wide range of programs in business, humanities, and natural sciences. South Africa’s lower living costs compared to many other study abroad destinations make it an attractive option for students.
Living costs in South Africa for International Students.
Tuition fees may vary across universities and courses. On average, the annual tuition fee can range from $799 to $1940. For international students, the monthly living expenses in South Africa are estimated to be around $302 to $742.
International students need between 300 and 750 EUR to cover the monthly costs of living in South Africa. The overall amount can go up or down based on your lifestyle and spending habits.
The official currency is the South African rand (ZAR or R). At the time of writing this article, 1 EUR equals around 19.50 ZAR.
Portugal is a beautiful country known for its rich history, stunning beaches, and vibrant cities. It offers affordable tuition fees and a wide range of programs in fields such as engineering, business, and humanities. Portugal’s warm climate, friendly locals, and affordable living expenses make it a popular study abroad destination.
Living costs in Portugal for International Students.
As we’ve already mentioned, living in Portugal is easier because it is one of the more affordable countries in Europe. Of course, living costs vary from one region to another, but on average you’ll need between 500 – 800 EUR per month.
Although tuition fees in Portugal may be affordable, there are additional expenses you must consider during your stay. These expenses include accommodation, food, study materials and more. By reading further, we will discuss the primary expenses, which will give you an idea of the budget you will require to study abroad in Portugal.
Colombia is a diverse country known for its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and friendly people. It offers affordable tuition fees and a wide range of academic programs in fields such as business, engineering, and social sciences. Colombia’s low cost of living and high-quality education make it an attractive study abroad destination.
Living costs in Colombia for International Students.
Colombia uses the Colombian Peso (COP) as its currency.
Your tuition fees will depend on where you are from, where you choose to study, and at what level. If you choose to study at a public university, you should expect to pay around $630/€550 per semester. If you choose to study at a private university, you should expect to pay between $630/€550 and $3,450/€3,100 per semester. Some higher education institutions offer scholarships for international students.
Your cost of living will depend on where you choose to live in Colombia. On average, you should budget for around $1,000/€900 per month. This accounts for accommodation, groceries and travel.
Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country known for its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and delicious cuisine. It offers affordable tuition fees and a wide range of programs in fields such as hospitality, business, and engineering. Vietnam’s vibrant cities, welcoming locals, and low living costs make it a great study abroad destination for budget-conscious students.
Living costs in Vietnam for International Students.
Yearly tuition at public schools is low, from free to about $US 1,000 for Vietnamese students. International students pay rates from about $US 1,000 to $US 2,500 per year. Private schools are somewhat expensive, with total program tuition ranging from about $US 30,000 to $US 40,000.
The cost of living for students in Vietnam varies depending on the student’s way of living.
Accommodation costs: The accommodation charges range from VND 7,000,000 to 15,000,000 depending upon the apartment- furnished or unfurnished.
On-campus accommodation costs in Vietnam may range from $US 1,200 to $US 1,600 per semester, inclusive of utilities and other services.
Transportation prices: There are many cost-effective ways to travel in and around Vietnam.
- The taxi rate per km in the city: VND 12,000
- City Centre bus fare is VND 5,000
*All prices are based on average prices in Ho Chi Minh City (2014)
The tuition fee varies depending upon the institution and level of education. Public educational institutions tuition fee is low, whereas private institutions comparatively charge high fees.
Conclusion: The Most Affordable Study Abroad Destinations.
Studying abroad doesn’t have to be expensive. The top 10 affordable study abroad destinations mentioned in this blog post offer excellent academic programs, cultural immersion, and affordable living expenses.
Whether you choose Mexico, Poland, Thailand, Hungary, Malaysia, Czech Republic, South Africa, Portugal, Colombia, or Vietnam, you can have a fulfilling study abroad experience without breaking the bank. So, start planning your affordable study abroad adventure today!