Most Affordable Places To Study Abroad

Students celebrating their graduation in Coimbra, Portugal.
Students celebrating their graduation in Coimbra, Portugal.

There’s no doubt that studying abroad is beneficial to every young adult’s university career. Students who go abroad are more likely to graduate, find a job faster, and earn an average of $7,000 more in their starting salary. But studying abroad can be incredibly expensive; a typical semester costs $18,000. With the mounting student debt crisis, crossing an ocean to study could be too much of a strain on many students’ already tight budgets.

Not all study abroad locations are pricey, however. In fact, you might be surprised at how affordable some study abroad destinations can be. Here are six countries that offer a combination of free or low tuition and a reasonable cost of living.

The 6 Most Affordable Places To Study Abroad


Not only does Turkey offer free university tuition, the cost of living is among the lowest in the world. An average one-bedroom apartment in a city center is just $227.72 per month, and a meal in a restaurant typically costs $4.18. Public transit is equally cheap, with a monthly pass priced at $30.09 – that’s just $1 per day.


Poland is another country that doesn’t charge its students for public university tuition. At $487.70 per month, rent is extremely affordable, and eating out is only $5.94. Transportation costs average just $25.81 monthly.


In recent years, Estonia has become known as one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world thanks to its creation of an almost entirely digital society. What better place to study abroad? University tuition is free and a one-bedroom apartment is just $514.75 per month. Although a meal in a restaurant is slightly more expensive at $8.83, a monthly transit pass is only $25.39.


Hungary’s capital city of Budapest is a popular cheap study abroad destination. Tuition costs in this country are nominal, just $753 per year. Rent averages $421.75 per month, with transit passes priced at $31.21. A dinner out will cost only $6.57.


If studying abroad in a sunny destination is appealing to you, Portugal is the place to go. While tuition costs more than some other countries at $1,124 per year, other living costs are very low. You can expect to budget $683.97 for rent, $38.63 for transportation, and $8.28 for a meal. 


Austria is very friendly to international students on a budget. Tuition at its public universities is just $914 per year. Living costs are slightly higher than other countries on our list, but still affordable. A one-bedroom apartment averages $794.39 per month and transit passes are typically around $51.88 per month. Eating in a restaurant costs an average of $13.25.

Finding an internationally accredited study abroad program

If you’re investing in a study abroad program, you probably want to make sure that the course is accredited and will be recognized by U.S. universities and employers. The International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education is an organization with 300 worldwide members that work together to evaluate the quality of education. Partnered with UNESCO, this organization is the best resource to evaluate a potential study abroad program.


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