Cost Of Living Expenses For International Students In The UK

By | January 16, 2014
Going away to college brings with it the excitement of new experiences. For some undergraduates and those seeking higher degrees, that experience is enhanced by studying in the UK. While the culture is similar to the United States, there are differences in language and in the basic operation of the schools. That all is a part of the excitement but those studying abroad need to prepare for the differences, especially the financial ones.Students entering the UK need a tier four visa. This means that you must be able to prove you can pay your course tuition and your living fees (which average about $1638 a month) without government assistance. You also need to have an acceptance (a sponsorship) from a university.The actual cost of tuition and accommodations vary widely. At the University of Edinburgh, for example, international students can expect to pay just under $15,000 for arts studies to around $32,000 a term for science and clinical degrees. If the course demands study at other locations, this cost can rise. At Sheffield University, tuition for two semesters of an arts course is $16, 790 for international students. Financial aid is available for schools in the UK, but for international students the competition is fierce and chances of obtaining grants or scholarships is slim.

English: The University of Sheffield

English: The University of Sheffield (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cost of living for students depends upon the kind of living accommodations you choose, but a private bedroom with shared kitchen and living space will cost about $226 weekly at Edinburgh. At Sheffield, the cost for that level of lodging is $1300 a month. IF you choose an apartment, expect to pay around $500 to $600 a month or more. In addition, apartments in London and some other areas are higher, as is lodging in the center of any city.

The cost for food depends upon whether you stay in school housing or on your own, as well as the type of university accommodation you choose. If your plan includes a lunch a day, your weekly food expense at the school could be around $18 a week, plus any meals out. Otherwise, food budgets run around $125 weekly. Restaurant meals can average $12 to $32 each while less pricey pub meals run around $10 to $16.

Utilities like gas and electricity vary by location too. Students who stay in university housing find this expense is covered in their room charges. If you live on your own, plan to spend about $56 a month. Internet is covered in university lodging fees, but otherwise costs between $12 and $50 or more a week. Your mobile phone will not continue to work as it does now in the UK. You will either have to buy a new sim card or pay to have your service “unlocked” from your current provider. As in the US, it is less expensive to avoid contracts. Mobile service charges average $44 to $56 dollars a month.

Apartment leases can be as inexpensive as $500 a month, when shared, but landlords typically ask a deposit of up to 6 weeks rent and the first month rent in advance. Apartment dwellers must figure transportation into their budgets too. Travel cards are available at different fees depending on how frequently they are used. There is a pay-as-you-go option; however students in London may apply for an “Oyster photo card” which, for a $16 deposit, saves them 30 percent on travel. Restaurants and pubs sometimes offer discounts to students holding Oyster cards too.

Studying abroad can be an exhilarating experience. It can also be costly if students are unprepared to budget their finances.

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