Studying abroad on a budget!

Published 2019-11-13 09:10

Studying abroad is not only fun, it also promotes personal growth like no other experience does. It is more and more common for young people to study outside of their country of birth or the country where they have completed their primary and secondary studies. While there has been a democratisation, there is still a perception that studying abroad is a “rich people’s thing”. attempts to bust this myth.

Before studying abroad, prospective students need to understand the basics of the place they’re moving to and with that the cost of living and the tuition costs. The most expensive countries for studies are Australia, Singapore, United States, England, Hong Kong and Canada. Australia is probably the most expensive with around USD 28,815 total annual costs of living and university tuition (which alone is around USD 16,485). Singapore stands second for its cost of living (around USD 14,895 per year), but the university tuition is slightly lower (USD 13,900). The US has the highest tuition fees in the world (average of USD 24.914), while the cost of living varies from the location, but is roughly around USD 11.651. United Kingdom requires between USD 10, 285 - USD 38,571 for university costs and an additional USD 17,588 per year for cost of living. Hong Kong and Canada have total living costs of USD 4,104 and USD 22,607 respectively.

University costs are a big problem for young students who are left with no choice but to rely on the finances of their parents, or in case that option is unavailable getting a student loan and then, for years, bearing its burden.

Luckily more and more institutions are finding it important to boost diversity but also are becoming keen to attract the most brilliant minds. One word: scholarships! But do not be put off! Scholarships are not only for high achievers. There are region-specific scholarships as well as merit-based scholarships and bursaries that encourage interest in a specific subject. Different countries and universities have their own set of rules, but in the search of opportunities, it is good to know where to start and what to expect.

Starting with the most expensive locations, Australia is a very exciting location which in cities like Sydney, Melbourne or Perth offers attractive study opportunities. The Australian universities offer scholarship opportunities for students from developing countries. Some of the most famous are:

  • University of Sydney International Scholarship (USydIS) offers scholarships for international students for different fields for a Postgraduate Research Degree or Master Research program, with the possibility to prolong it for one semester for PhD studies. The USydIS covers tuition fees living costs for three years. 
  • The Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarships (AGRTPS) is a highly competitive scholarship awarded to Master or Doctorate international students who are interested in research degree in Australia. Candidates will have to prove knowledge of English language and academic excellence. The scholarship will cover the tuition fees by the Flinders University and also provide a stipend of $27,596 and cover the health insurance of the student.
  • Macquarie Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarships is organized by the Macquarie University in Australia and provides a partial tuition fee stipend of up to AUD$10,000, but does not cover any additional living or moving costs. Academic excellence and English certification are required. 
  • University of Melbourne Graduate Research Scholarships is provided for Master or Doctoral degree students who meet the requirements of the programs by the University of Melbourne. The scholarship covers the full tuition fees the students, provides living allowance of AUD $30,600 per year and additionally a relocation ease and covers the health insurance costs.
  • Australia Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarships have three different types: RTP Fees offset (that cover the tuition fees), the RTP Stipend (which covers the cost of living) and RTP Allowances (for the additional research costs).
  • Australia Awards Scholarships offers Undergraduate and Postgraduate Scholarships and covers tuition fees, air travel, health care and living costs. The scholarship has specific set of requirements like to be a citizen of a participating country, or not to be married to an Australian or New Zealand citizen.

Singapore is one of the most attractive locations for students. The universities in Singapore have a good reputation for the quality of education and the career prospects  they offer. On the other hand the cost of living is quite high and many students would have to rely on some type of funding to be able to go through the studies. Some of the most famous scholarships are:

  • NUS Global Merit Scholarship is awarded for full time undergraduate degrees and offers full coverage of the tuition, and S$6,000 for annual living allowance, plus S$2,000 help with accommodation and student exchange programs.
  • Nanyang Scholarship is a scholarship open to all nationalities for a full time undergraduate programme. The grant offers full coverage of tuition fees, S$6,000 living allowance, S$500 book allowance and help with the accommodation costs.
  • Changi Airport Undergraduate Scholarship offers possibility to cover all tuition and compulsory fees, provides monthly allowance, accommodation help and exchange programs. The scholarship is for every discipline except medicine and dentistry.
  • Public Service Commission (PSC) Scholarship is awarded for the field of Public Administration, and covers many different programmes. The Scholarship is awarded to Undergraduate and for Master studies, covers tuition fees, flying costs and student exchange programs.
  • Singapore Airlines Open Scholarship is awarded to students with good academic records covers tuition fees, living costs, pre-studies allowance, travel costs, and university application fees. It is awarded for all courses with the exception of Architecture, Biotechnology, Dentistry, Law, Medicine, and Pharmacy. The scholarship is also available for overseas studies.

The United States offer plenty of attractive and world-renowned study options, but at the same time has incomparably high study costs. Additionally some universities (and also the US visa application) will require students to show proof of funding for the whole study period. Luckily the Ivy League universities offer the same financial aid to Americans as to international students. Many universities have their own scholarship programs, but there are some other places to find opportunities such as:

  • The Fulbright Foreign Student Program that covers tuition funds, living expenses and health insurance for American and international citizens. The grants can be for studies, teaching or research.
  • The Humphrey Fellowship Program helps professionals get professional development in many fields. The fellowship covers tuition feel, language learning, living costs, book allowance, and air travel costs. 
  • American University Awards offers some partial scholarships for first year Bachelor students, which ranges between US$8,000 and US$20,000. The studies are renewable but have to be started at the first year.
  • New York University Wagner Scholarships offer partial or full tuition (from US$25,000 to US$47,000) and are divided into different grants with specific requirements.

United Kingdom is an epicenter of knowledge with some of the most renowned universities in the world. However living costs and tuition can get very high and it is absolutely essential to rely on some kind of financial ease. Individual universities provide scholarship opportunities and there are also additional stipends organized by the UK government:

  • Chevening Scholarships are the most prestigious scholarships organized by the UK government and cover tuition fees, living allowance, flights and some additional costs.
  • Gates Cambridge Scholarships for International Students is an international grant for full time postgraduate students at the University of Cambridge. The grand covers the full cost of the studies as well as accommodation, travelling costs and even family allowance. 
  • Edinburgh Global Research Scholarships are grants for Doctoral Research Programmes at the University of Edinburgh for UK or EU students. Applications are reserved for good academic merit and a solid research potential. The award covers the cost of the tuition and is valid to up to three years, but does not cover living costs.
  • Rhodes Scholarships at Oxford University for International Students is a restricted grant for specific nationals. The grant covers the application fee, living stipend of around £15,144 per year, and airfare tickets. The grant depends on the citizenship and residency, age and education.

Canada is not only attractive for living but also offers some of the best educational opportunities in the world. Some of the most famous Canadian scholarships are: 

  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship is provided by the Canadian Government in order to attract international qualified Doctoral students. The scholarship is awarded to students already enrolled at a Canadian university, and is of a value of CA$50,000 per annum for three years during PhD studies. The key requirements for the grant are academic excellence, research potential and leadership. 
  • University of Waterloo International Master’s and Doctoral Awards offers funding opportunities for research graduate degree programs at the University of Waterloo for students already enrolled at the university and holding a valid Canadian study permit. The award is around CA$2,045 per term for a period of two years for Master studies or CA$4,090 per term for 3 years Doctoral studies. 
  • The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation doctoral scholarships awards scholarships for foreign doctoral candidates in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences. The scholarships are of a value of CA$60,000 for a maximum of three years. The students need to be either enrolled or in the process of enrolling at a Canadian doctoral programme. 

Europe is the most attractive continent for studies as it is famous both for the fun and culture it offers and for the great study opportunities. Europe is generally a lot cheaper than the other places, as it has many specific famous scholarship opportunities:

  • DAAD Scholarships is the largest funding organization in the world and is based in Germany. It is open to students from a large variety of countries.  DAAD are available for both graduate and post-graduate courses and each stipend has its specific requirements and deadline.
  • Eiffel Scholarships is based in France and offers opportunities for Master and Doctoral studies. The program has two components, a Master funding which lasts from 12 to 36 months and a Doctoral component, which can be financed for 12 month mobility. 
  • University of Groningen Talent Grant for Non-EEA countries provides grants for Master and PhD students enrolled in one of the programs at the university preferably in Research programmes. The scholarship for PhD is reserved for students who have previously obtained a Master’s degree at the Groningen University, and covers tuition expenses and living costs.