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Where and How Can You Study Abroad on the Cheap?

6 minute read

By Hayley Harrison

There’s no better time to live in a new country than when you’re a student. Being an international student not only gives you access to a quality education, but it also allows you to immerse yourself in new cultures and gain important life skills.

The best part is, you can study abroad with even a low budget, especially if you choose the right school and make some money-saving life choices. Find out how you can affordably study internationally with an online search.

There is no shortage of schools in the U.S., UK, and Canada to choose from. Search online now to compare universities and find a program that can help meet your academic goals.

How to Minimize Costs

Attend School in a Less Expensive City

Aside from your flight, the most expensive part of studying abroad will be your living costs. Everything from housing and transportation to utility costs will vary from place to place. For instance, choosing major cities, such as London or Toronto, will cost a lot more money compared to living in smaller towns. Make sure you compare the cost of living before committing to a school. Do your research and find out what the average costs are for everything from food to internet. Living costs add up, so you could save a lot by opting to study in less expensive cities.

Get a Part-Time Job

It’s normal for post-secondary students in North America and the UK to have a part-time job while studying full-time. Working a maximum of 15 hours per week can help pay for expenses and maybe even provide you with some extra spending money. Working part-time can also expand your resume and help you meet new people outside of campus. Some universities may even have part-time jobs available to students who want to work on campus, such as at the bookstore or as a tutor.

Live Off-Campus

You don’t have to live on campus to have a fulfilling college experience. Instead, you can live off-campus and save money. Dorm rooms are more expensive, in general. By living off-campus, you can save money on expensive meal plans that students are required to pay for while living in dorms. There are furnished apartments and rooms that are much more affordable than dorm rooms on-campus. Search online to find students looking for roommates or resources designed to help students find housing in the university area.

Cook at Home

It can be tempting to order take out for dinner or visit your local coffee shop every day. However, those costs add up, so you might want to make more of an effort to cook at home. You can save by shopping for groceries and meal planning throughout the week. If you invest in a good coffee maker, you’ll be less tempted to drop $5 every day on something you can make just as good at home.

Sign Up for Student Discount Cards

There are many perks to being a student. One great perk is how many discounts are available. You can sign up for student cards that save you money on necessities, such as food, clothes, insurance and much more. Most cards have a one-time fee that gives you access to the discount. For instance, the ISECard provides discounts at museums, attractions, and transportation around the world. Another option is the ISIC Card, which gives you discounts on airfare, technology, food, and entertainment.

Universities to Consider

University of British Columbia

International Enrollment Cost: $25,978 to $36,588 per year

More than 18,000 students from 166 countries study at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The Canadian school has been ranked among the top 20 public universities in the world. UBC has two main campuses. One is in Vancouver, while the other is in the Okanagan Valley. Studying at the branch campus is likely to be the more affordable option for international students. In addition, the branch’s work-study program provides a total of $400,000 per year in supplemental income for participants.

University of Toronto

International Enrollment Cost: $42,870 to $49,800 per year

With over 980 programs of study and 90,077 students enrolled, the University of Toronto is one of Canada’s most prestigious institutions. Out of the entire student body, there are 23,019 students, which come from 159 countries and regions around the world. Its programs are offered at respective campuses located in downtown Toronto, Scarborough and Mississauga, with the latter two campuses potentially offering a lower cost of living. Roughly 3,500 students take advantage of the lucrative work-study program to reduce the cost of their education.

Dalhousie University

International Enrollment Cost: Approximately $27,000 per year

Dalhousie University is located on the east coast of Canada in Nova Scotia. It offers the largest selection of courses in Atlantic Canada, with more than 200 programs. More than 20,000 students attend the university’s three campuses in the heart of Halifax. The university awards millions of dollars in scholarships and bursaries each academic year, and international students are eligible for some of these prizes. On-campus employment opportunities are also available with flexible scheduling designed to fit into students’ schoolwork.

Rice University

International Enrollment Cost: $52,050 per year

Deemed one of the best private universities in the U.S., Rice University is a campus with over 300 acres of land in Houston, Texas. It has a student-to-faculty ratio of six to one, which gives students plenty of opportunity to learn from leaders and establish connections. When you’re not in class, join one of the many communities on campus through social events, intramural sports and more. The university will cover up to 100 percent of the cost of tuition for international students with demonstrated financial need through an institutional grant.

University of Minnesota, Morris

International Enrollment Cost: $25,168 per year

Those looking for a small-town university experience may like the University of Minnesota, Morris. The campus is in Morris, around two and half hours west of Minneapolis, with a population of just 5,400 people. There are 34 majors and 35 minors to choose from, as well as over 120 student organizations. As an international student, you may qualify for a tuition waiver, depending on your financial need. The university automatically reviews all international students for eligibility. Waivers may pay for all or a large portion of tuition.

Western Michigan University

International Enrollment Cost: $32,104 per year

Located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Western Michigan University has an international student population of 8.3 percent and awarded more than $6 million in financial aid to international students from 2015 to 2016 alone. All international students are automatically reviewed for financial aid eligibility, and ESL classes are provided at no cost for those who require them. Along with a choice of 256 undergrad and grad programs, you can immerse yourself in nearly 400 student organizations and 32 sports clubs on campus.

Leeds Trinity University

International Enrollment Cost: Approximately $16,342.80 per year

Leeds Trinity University has been providing student-centered higher education for more than 50 years. Around 97 percent of Leeds graduates find employment or pursue further study 15 months after graduating. The campus’ location in Leeds, UK, is advantageous for international students hoping to reduce the cost of studying abroad. Due to a relatively low cost of living, most students will only need to spend around $1,400 to fully cover accommodations, transportation, entertainment and food in the city.

London Metropolitan University

International Enrollment Cost: $13,200 per year

Those looking to study in a bustling city should consider attending London Metropolitan University. It’s a diverse school with 147 distinct nationalities represented among the student body. The campus is located in the heart of London, which is ranked the best city in the world for university students. To reduce the cost of attendance for international students, the university offers a variety of scholarships. For example, undergraduates can receive three years of free accommodations through the Unite Foundation Scholarship Scheme.

Learn More About International Study Online

There are endless schools to choose from if you want to study abroad. The U.S., UK and Canada all have schools that are ready to welcome international students and help them earn a quality education. To find a program you’re interested in, start an online search. You can browse class catalogs and learn more about any fees related to international studies. Compare what each school has to offer and apply to your top choices today.

Hayley Harrison


Hayley Harrison is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After receiving a degree in the History of Art and Architecture from the University of Pittsburgh, she changed gears and pursued a career in banking. In 2002, she began producing financial literacy articles, and eventually moved to writing full-time on a variety of subjects, including health, food, travel and career planning.


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