Are your students financially ready to study in Europe?
Europe’s robust economy with plenty of career prospects attracts international students from all over the world, priming it for opportunities for academic and professional advancement. Renowned for their prestigious institutions and excellent academic standards, the United Kingdom (UK), Ireland and other parts of Europe are some of the most sought-after destinations for international students in pursuing their studies.
Understanding the importance of the cost of living for international students is paramount as they choose their pathways towards educational journeys abroad. Careful consideration of the living expenses in these countries is a crucial factor in planning and decision-making to ensure smooth transition experiences and be financially prepared in studying abroad.
According to ICEF, inflation is chipping away at the spending power of families in countries, and this trend has affected international students residing in their host countries. Students wanting to pursue their academics abroad may also be challenged to follow through on plans due to rising living costs across the world.
Latest insights also suggest a growing trend among international students who are increasingly pragmatic in their decision-making, actively seeking study destinations that align with their financial means. To help students with their financial preparedness and manage their expenditures wisely, we bring you a brief guide on the living expenses based on their preferred destination.
United Kingdom (UK)
Living expenses in the UK can be relatively high compared to many other countries. The average cost of living in the United Kingdom is $2,017 (£ 1,643), which is 1.98 times more expensive than the world’s average. Additionally, while the cost of living in the UK is 15% less than in the U.S., it is still ranked as the 16th most expensive country globally.
A single student or professional should estimate a budget of around $900 (£651) per month to cover basic needs or living costs, excluding rent. Furthermore, according to the UK government, the necessary funds vary depending on study location. For courses in London, a monthly budget of $1,634 (£1,334) is required for up to 9 months, whereas courses outside London will need a monthly budget of $1,253 (£1,023) for the same period.
Northern Ireland stands as one of the cheapest regions with a monthly cost of $1,106 (£904), closely trailed by the East Midlands at $1,107 (£905) per month. The West Midlands stood out as the most budget-friendly region for students, with an average monthly living expense of $1,005 (£822).
Based on the National Student Money Survey 2023, part-time job earnings across the UK have risen to $660 (£544), which increased from last year’s 2022 survey, where the figure stood at only why $512 (£422). Moreover, students who do have a business or side hustle have successfully earned up to $607 (£500) in the last 12 months.
While the UK may be an expensive country, the UK government and universities strive to meet the demands of international students. A noteworthy discovery stemming from the same survey mentioned the growing awareness among students regarding the availability of financial assistance through grants, bursaries, and scholarships. In the 2022 survey, 58% of respondents reported awareness of these funding options, while in this year’s survey has risen to 65%.
Furthermore, an impressive surge has been observed in the average savings reported by students participating in the survey. In contrast to the previous year’s figure of $1,566 (£1,280), the current average of student savings amount has surged to $3,243 (£2,650).
Now that the cost of living and ways to make both meet ends have been presented, how does the UK compare with other European countries?
The country is recognised for its exceptional law schools, technology-focused institutions, art schools, and renowned faculties in literature and science. Ireland consistently ranks as a top destination for individuals worldwide who are seeking the finest options in higher education.
Living costs in Ireland can differ quite a bit depending on where students live and their lifestyle. But as a ballpark figure, most students can plan on spending somewhere between €1,135 to €1,730 each month to cover their basic expenses. A single person’s estimated monthly costs are 1,028$ (€963) without rent. Cost of living in Ireland, on average, is 8.9% lower than in the United States.
Dublin hosts some of Ireland’s top universities, and it’s worth noting that on-campus accommodations tend to be pricier compared to other accommodation options in towns. Sligo stands out as the most budget-friendly student town for international students, with a monthly cost of living around €1,135. This is notably lower than Dublin, where an international student might face monthly expenses of approximately €1,730.
Other parts of Europe
Poland is home to 944 cities, and surprisingly, 726 of them have fewer than 20,000 residents. About 60% of people in Poland live in the city, showing that it’s an urbanised place. Studying in Poland is appealing due to its lower cost of living for international students compared to other European countries. On a monthly average, the cost of living in Poland is estimated at $400 (PLN 1500 or €330). Here, we highlight some of the top cities in Poland known for their affordable living costs.
Warsaw, the capital of Poland, is a bustling urban hub where modern buildings alongside with its historic places are found in this vibrant city. A hotspot for students aiming to study, the city also hosts loads of cultural, sports, and musical events. The average cost of living in Warsaw is estimated to be $625 (PLN 2,707) excluding rent.
Meanwhile, Bialystok is the largest city in northeastern Poland where it is famous for its European Bison and is often celebrated as a green city due to its lush parks, forests, and diverse vegetation. Moreover, Bialystok is one of the centres for medical universities, making it an excellent choice for students seeking to study abroad in Poland. Cost of living varies, but on average, daily expenses come to about $542 (PLN 2,345) excluding rent.
Finland boasts one of the world’s finest educational systems, making it a popular destination for international students seeking a top-notch place to study abroad. Finland also earned their top rankings as one of the world’s safest, freest, most stable and happiest country by the World Economic Forum. Coming to study in Finland is undeniably thrilling, including its modern cities, new environment, and engaging social activities.
Helsinki, the capital of Finland is home to prestigious institutions with commendable quality of life and is included among the top 75 student cities worldwide, according to QS Best Student Cities. The monthly living expenses for a student in Helsinki range from $950 (€ 900) to $1,320 (€1,250) or potentially higher, contingent on the student’s personal spending habits.
Turku, situated in southwest Finland and often referred to as the “old capital”, is also home to some of the oldest renowned universities. Typically, monthly living costs in Turku range from approximately $633 (€600) to $950 (€900). Fortunately, as a student, they can take advantage of various perks, including discounted rates for student meals, public transportation, and numerous cultural activities like museum and theatre visits.
At the end of the day, having a clear understanding of expenses prior to moving abroad and crafting a well-thought-out student budget are crucial steps to ensure students can lead a comfortable life and fully embrace their experience as international students. Budgeting finances can be a daunting task for international students. However, by effectively navigating the diverse living costs associated with different study locations, they can gain valuable insights and better align their financial priorities. Recruitment partners play a pivotal role in assisting students in determining which location best suits their needs and guiding them towards their dream study destination—an essential and impactful step in their educational journey.
To know more about study options and our partner institutions across Europe, feel free to check out our GSP platform and don’t hesitate to reach out to our Business Development Managers for more information.