Ever dreamed of studying abroad? For many people, working toward a degree while experiencing a whole new culture – and perhaps learning a new language too – is too big an opportunity to pass up.

But what about the cost? University education tends to cost a fair chunk and no matter where you are, and when you study abroad, you can expect to add on the cost of annual flights to and from your chosen city. However, other factors can offset this – a favourable exchange rate, for example, or substantially cheaper tuition fees in your destination country.

World First has investigated the cost of international education in eight cities and six different countries around the world. We used information on tuition fees and accommodation costs from universities in each city, as well as compiling data on local living costs and the estimated cost of flights home.

You can explore all this in our online tool, which breaks down the various annual costs involved with getting a degree in Melbourne, Paris, London, Hong Kong, New York, Montreal, Edinburgh and Los Angeles.

For each city, we consulted a selection of local university websites to figure out the average annual tuition fee for a degree in one of three different categories: the arts, business and law, and health, sciences and engineering. We also calculated the average cost of accommodation, assuming you’re staying in university halls rather than private rentals.

Here are a few of the most interesting discoveries we made:

Wow, America’s Expensive

New York and Los Angeles were almost neck-and-neck for the title of most expensive places to study for a degree – with New York just edging into first place by a couple of hundred dollars.

Recordando los tiempos de universidad con @isaamarii #NYU

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Sky-high tuition fees – around double the average charged by universities in most other cities surveyed – account for the lion’s share of the cost, although food, transport and other living expenses aren’t cheap in the USA either.

If you’ve got your sights set on North America, Montreal offers a much more affordable alternative (and the chance to brush up on your French!)

… while Paris is incredibly cheap

If you can get a place on its state-funded university system, that is. Higher education in France is largely subsidised by the government, meaning tuition fees at many universities – including the prestigious Sorbonne Group of 11 high-flying institutions – are normally no more than a few hundred euros per year. Places are extremely limited, and most of these universities have rigorous merit-based tests to ensure they recruit only the best and brightest.

Hong Kong’s surprisingly similar to Melbourne

In our comparison, the annual cost of studying as a foreigner in Hong Kong was roughly the same as studying as an Australian in Melbourne, even after taking flights home into account.

While tuition fees are comparatively high compared with Commonwealth Supported Places in Australia, it’s more or less cancelled out by the low cost of accommodation at Hong Kong’s institutions, while everyday living costs in both cities are very similar. Hong Kong offers some great opportunities for multilingual graduates, so it could be well worth considering studying there if you’re a Cantonese and English speaker.


Explore our online tool to find out more – where will you end up travelling to study?





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