Top 10 Affordable Countries to Study Abroad

There’s so much to consider when choosing from a list of countries to study and/or work. You want to pick a country that interests you, find a program that aligns with your educational pursuits, and, most importantly, explore opportunities that are within your budget.

Believe it or not, it is possible to study abroad on a budget! Some of the best places to study abroad are also ones where tuition fees are low, or even free. In no particular order, here are the 10 most affordable countries to study abroad. Note that, while tuition fees are low or free in some of these countries, living expenses may be on the high side.

1. Norway

Although all of the Nordic countries are relatively affordable countries to study abroad, Norway remains tuition-free for both students within and outside the EU at public universities, with the exception of a few specialized programs. Europe’s Nordic countries are known for their high quality of life and stunning natural beauty, and Norway is no exception. Another reason to study in Norway is the availability of English-taught programs at all study levels, plus a high number of locals proficient in English. However, Norway comes with a high price tag in terms of living costs; you’ll need around the equivalent of US$17,200 per year.

2. Mexico

Mexico is one of Latin America’s most-visited nations and has lots to offer international students. It is one of the most affordable countries to study abroad. Tuition fees vary, and average around US$6,300 per year for international undergraduate students in the capital, Mexico City. Living expenses are also reasonably low in Mexico, with annual living costs adding up to around US$9,250 on a standard budget in the capital, or US$6,450 elsewhere. Although the main language of instruction is Spanish, more Mexican universities are now offering English-taught courses to attract international students.

3. Poland

Poland is one of the most affordable countries to study abroad, and it also offers a high-quality education, along with plenty of fantastic culture and history to explore. You can study for free if you can speak Polish, and if you take the same entrance exams as Polish students and study your course in Polish. However, there are also many English-taught programs available, costing around the equivalent of US$2,340-3,500 per year. Living costs are also on the low side, as you shouldn’t need more than the equivalent of US$7,700 per year. The capital city, Warsaw, was ranked within the top 20 cities for affordability in the latest QS Best Student Cities index.

4. Taiwan

Heading to Asia, Taiwan is another of the cheapest countries to study abroad. For example, at National Taiwan University – the nation’s leading university at 72nd in the QS World University Rankings 2019 – tuition fees for undergraduates start at the equivalent of US$3,300 per year for liberal arts programs, up to US$4,050. The country offers more than 120 courses taught in English, at over 40 universities. Taiwan also offers a good quality of life with relatively low living costs; accommodation costs the equivalent of US$2,900 per year.

5. Argentina

The second-largest country in South America, Argentina boasts stunning natural beauty, with a diverse geography that makes it ideal for students keen on outdoor adventure and exploration. Argentina is also considered one of the safest countries in the region and is known for its fun-loving culture. You can typically study for free at a state-funded (public) university, with tuition fees of around US$5,100 per year or more at private institutions. You’ll need around US$5,000 for living expenses, with rent costing around US$350 per month.

6. India

Heading back to Asia for the next of our list of the cheapest countries to study abroad, India is a fantastic option for students who want to combine affordability with cultural diversity. While Hindi is the most prominent of the 100+ languages spoken, English is often used as the language of instruction at Indian universities, especially at the postgraduate level. Living costs are incredibly affordable. Tuition fees vary depending on your study level and university but are typically no higher than US$7,880 a year, and you should be able to live comfortably on, say US$4,600 a year.

7. Germany

Germany is continuing to grow in popularity with international students, and it’s not hard to see why – it offsay, reputable universities, relatively low costs, and high quality of life. There are no tuition fees charged at all public universities. This excludes those in Baden-Württemberg, where Master’s students who have not studied for their undergraduate degree in Germany will typically pay upwards of US$23,450 per year, but you may be able to find a scholarship to help.

To cover living costs, you’ll need at least US$11,950 per year, depending on your lifestyle, location and spending habits. And there are a range of English-taught courses, particularly at the graduate level.

8. France

Tuition fees in France are the same for domestic and international students and are set at US$200 per year for bachelor’s programs, US$285 for most master’s programs, and US$445 for doctoral programs. Fees are considerably higher at the highly selective institutions, which set their own fees. Living expenses will be highest in the capital, Paris. If you’re not yet a fluent French speaker, you can study in English in France, with the majority of English-taught programs found at the postgraduate level.

9. South Africa

South Africa is reasonably inexpensive, with low costs of living and tuition fees. Fees vary but come to an average of US$6,000 for international undergraduates studying at the University of Cape Town (South Africa’s highest-ranked university in the QS World University Rankings) and the University of the Western Cape. You’ll need around the equivalent of US$9,150 per year to cover your living costs.

10. Malaysia

Concluding our look at some of the best and affordable places to study abroad on a budget, Malaysia is undoubtedly one of the cheapest countries to study abroad, particularly in terms of living costs. Its capital, Kuala Lumpur, came first for affordability in the QS Best Student Cities 2016. Most students will only need about the equivalent of US$3,550 per year to live comfortably in Malaysia. In terms of tuition fees, you’ll pay an average of US$4,000 per academic year, but some courses are even cheaper. Malaysia is also home to a number of branch campuses of international universities, such as the UK’s University of Nottingham or Australia’s Monash University, offering the opportunity to gain a degree accredited by these institutions at a lower cost.

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