Is Studying Abroad Expensive?

Tuition costs can be a big burden for students who are not wealthy. However, with the right tips, studying abroad may not be as expensive as you think.

Why is studying abroad expensive?

Everyone knows that studying abroad can be really expensive but does everyone know the reason for the higher fees? There are many reasons why tuition fees and other expenses are higher when schooling abroad. We will take a look at some of the factors that make studying abroad expensive.

  1. Higher Fees for International Students

When you check up school sites abroad, you will find that almost all schools abroad charge higher fees for international students compared to domestic students. There is almost always a significant difference between fees charged to foreign students and citizens. This is one of the reasons that contribute to the high fees that international students pay when studying abroad.

From tuition, health insurance, student activities, and other things, foreign students are charged higher. This is what makes studying abroad sometimes expensive. Some people say it’s because domestic students pay taxes and other national dues which domestic students don’t pay for. Others say countries abroad use the study abroad opportunity to add more money to the national income since foreign students are not entitled to education at little or no cost in their country.

  1. Limited Scholarships for Foreign Students

Another reason why international students find studying abroad expensive is that some schools limit federal scholarships to citizens or permanent residents of the country. Most times, there are limited seats for foreign students to apply for and win scholarships for their studies.

For instance, Carnegie Mellon University in the United States explicitly states that federal scholarships are not available to foreign students but only to citizens of the United States or permanent residents of the state. Although, they also stated that foreign students can check with their departments to know if there are any available scholarships or fellowships that they qualify for but these types of scholarships or fellowships are often limited. 

This means that there are slim chances that a foreign student may get the scholarship since lots of foreign students will be trying to get it and it will be very competitive. 

There are also schools that make tuition free for only citizens and not foreign students. Tuition-free schools are mostly found in European countries such as Germany, Norway, Finland, etc.

  1. High Exchange Rate

One of the major reasons why studying abroad can be really expensive is because of high exchange rates. The dollar keeps increasing and this means a higher exchange rate for students from developing or underdeveloped nations. 

The same fees that are normal and affordable to a domestic student may not be the same to an international student. For instance, if the tuition for an academic year of a school is about 10,000 USD. This may be quite affordable to a citizen of the U.S. However, it will be high for a citizen of another country whose exchange rate with USD is very high.

This is why most students run away from studying abroad or take up more affordable options. Studying abroad can bring a lot of global opportunities and exposure to students but most people can’t afford it as a result of this. 

  1. High Standard of Living

Most countries abroad have high standards of living which make things expensive for international students. As mentioned earlier, some European countries have tuition-free schools so both domestic and foreign students don’t have to pay tuition. However, they have to plan and pay for their living expenses. 

For instance, Norway has tuition-free schools but the country has a high standard of living. This means students have to pay high costs for their living expenses which is almost the same as paying tuition.

From food to transportation and other miscellaneous costs, the high standard of living makes people run from studying abroad regardless of any free tuition school. Students may not be used to a high standard of living in their own countries so coming to study and live in a country with a high standard of living may just be too much for them.

How to study abroad for less

Having described how expensive studying abroad can be, you may be wondering how some students get to fund their studies abroad or study abroad for less. I’m going to show you how you can study abroad for less than you have heard about. Let’s get right into it.

  1. You can apply to low-tuition schools abroad. There are schools abroad that are not costly as they have low tuition even for international students. You can check online for ‘low tuition schools abroad’ and you’d be amazed at some schools abroad that don’t require you to pay so much.
  2. There is a study abroad scholarships available that you can apply for. Scholarships vary with intent such as need, academic excellence, and personal and professional achievements. You can apply to the ones that you have higher chances of getting which can either be a fully or partially funded scholarship. 
  3. Register for part-time studies so you can pay tuition per unit. Each academic year has a particular number of units that you are required to take but the tuition sums up all the units for the academic year. So you can register for some of the total units per semester so you don’t have to pay all the tuition at once.
  4. Apply to tuition-free schools. These types of schools are mostly found in Europe. With this, you will not have to pay for tuition. You only have to sort your living expenses and other required costs. This way, you can study abroad for less.

Tips for budgeting while studying abroad

  • You should calculate your costs and plan before leaving your home country. Since you have access to the costs that you will incur in your study abroad journey. You should make plans on how you want to cover some costs or how you will manage others.
  • Another tip is to take public transportation when commuting. Most schools have free buses or discounted bus fares for students as long as you have your identification or card. You can also get a bike for distances you can cycle to. Bikes need little maintenance so you can get this if you don’t want to spend on transportation unless you’re going on longer trips.
  • You should also keep track or record what you spend. This will help you track how you spend your money and the unnecessary things that you should remove and cut back on. If some things can be delayed or avoided, then you should. 
  • Prepare a budget and stick with it. It is one thing to prepare a budget but it is another thing to stick by it. You should prepare a budget but be disciplined enough to stick with that decision no matter what. This will help you manage your money well.
  • You can also work while studying abroad. In most countries, there are specified hours that you are allowed to work as an international student. Find out the number of hours you can work while studying full-time and stick by it. Ensure that you don’t exceed the stipulated hours. You can use the money earned from your work to support your living expenses. This will surely make things easier for you.
  • Apply to scholarships or grants as this helps you face your studies without worrying about how to cover costs. There are scholarships that also cover living expenses which are paid to you every month so you have enough to live within your host country.

How to make money while studying abroad

You can make money through different means while studying abroad and the money can help you cover a lot of expenses. Here are ways you can make money while studying abroad;

  • You can make money while studying abroad by working as you study. Most countries allow international students to work within a specified number of hours per week. For instance, you want to work for up to 20 hours per week during sessions and up to 40 hours during holidays when the school is out of session.
  • Another way to make money is to get a paid internship during the holidays. Some schools have partnerships with organizations where you can intern. Find out about them and work with them. 
  • You can also work on-campus as a teaching or research assistantship as offered by your school. The stipulated number of hours that you can work per week will also apply when you’re working on-campus.
  • You can offer to teach a second language to someone if you can speak a second language.
  • You can also tutor other students within or outside the campus and get money for your time.