There’s no way around it: studying abroad can be expensive. With tuition fees, living expenses, travelling, and study materials, it can really add up. So, you’re probably looking for a cheap destination – but one with top academic options for study. But what are the most affordable countries to study abroad in Europe?
In this blog, we’ll reveal the top 5 most affordable destinations in Europe. From the shores of the Mediterranean to central and eastern Europe, there are lots of options here depending on the study experience you want to have.
Most Affordable Countries to Study in Europe 2023
In the heart of Europe, and with a huge variety of cosmopolitan cities and small, historic towns, Italy is an incredible place to study abroad. it’s also one of the cheapest countries in Europe, where housing is 50% cheaper than in London and food prices are 23% lower than in Paris.
Tuition fees are also lower than in comparable European countries. Though studying at a private university will still set you back more, generally tuition fees range from just €500 to €4,000 per year. At some Italian universities, tuition fees are generated according to your country of citizenship, meaning you could see even lower tuition fees than other international students.
In general, your living expenses shouldn’t reach more than about €1,500 per month, depending on where you live and how often you choose to eat out.
Germany is a popular destination for international students because of its incredibly low tuition fees. In fact, in many of the country’s states, international students do not pay any tuition fees at all, instead just a small administrative fee of around €250 per semester.
The only difference is if you’re planning on studying in Baden-Württemberg, which is a state that includes popular cities like Freiburg, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, and Mannheim. Here, you’ll be charged €1,500 per semester, which means a total of €3,000 each academic year. This is still considerably cheaper than countries such as France and the United Kingdom!
As for living expenses, some cities like Munich or Frankfurt can be relatively expensive. However, other large German cities can be affordable. In Berlin, the capital, rent is 10% lower than in Paris, and you’ll also find cheaper supermarket and restaurant prices. The German government estimates that you’ll need just €867 per month to study abroad in Germany, where rent is calculated at just over €300 per month.
Fancy living somewhere with 300 sunny days a year and an affordable cost of living? Then Portugal is the place. On average, your monthly living costs while studying in Portugal shouldn’t exceed €800!
When it comes to tuition fees, you’ll pay differing amounts depending on the university you choose. However, on average, tuition fees range from around €2,000-€6,500 per year. Though this is more than some other countries on this list, you can’t ignore the lower general cost of living in Portugal.
Public transport will cost you no more than €20-€30 per month, while you can also get a restaurant meal for just €12.
I would highlight the city’s culture, atmosphere, and price. The town is small and everyone lives at a maximum of 15 minutes walk, it’s very cozy. It’s a very cheap city. The only thing is the education quality. As expected from a small-town university, the education quality can be pretty underwhelming.
Hungary attracts thousands of visitors a year who want to relax by the Danube, experience the vibrant centre of Budapest, and explore the mountainous landscapes. And it’s one of the most affordable countries to study in Europe, making it a great place for international students.
At many state universities, annual tuition fees don’t exceed €8,000, but they could be as low as €2,500 a year. If you’re an EU or EEA citizen, you can also find universities offering completely free tuition, making studying in Hungary incredibly affordable.
When it comes to living costs, you’ll find even renting in Budapest to be cheap – it’s possible to get a city apartment for €250-€350 per month. If you’re planning on staying in university accommodation or renting in a smaller city, your rent will be even lower. All in all, international students can live in Hungary comfortably between €500-€700.
So, here it is: the most affordable country to study in Europe. The number of international students heading to Poland to get their degrees is growing. Between the academic years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, the number of international students in the country increased by 5.6%, to a total of almost 90,000. They’re drawn by the history and unique culture, but also the low cost of living and tuition fees.
International students in Poland can expect to pay €2,000 to €6,000 a year for a study course in the country, much cheaper than in comparable countries. With your student visa in Poland, it’s also possible to work, meaning you can get a part-time job to earn money for your living costs while you’re there.
However, with the low cost of living in Poland, you might not even need a job. In Warsaw, home to many of the country’s top universities, it’s recommended that students have around 2300 PLN (€500) to 2800 PLN (€610) to get by – and that includes your rent, groceries, and entertainment costs!
Interesting place. If you are interested in “nature-related” studies, that shouldn’t be a bad choice. I am from veterinary medicine and everything there is average: average teachers, average program, average methods. Of course, there are some motivated teachers, who will try to give you the most of them but is better to keep your expectations not too high. If you are highly motivated to “dig deep” it should be easier for you.
Besides that, there is a very good student exchange program (Erasmus) so you can travel easily with a pretty good scholarship. Same if you want to come there as an Erasmus, you shouldn’t be disappointed.
Good location in the city center, the city is relatively cheap by itself which is great for students.
Conclusion about the Most Affordable Countries to Study in Europe
So, there you have it – Poland is the most affordable country to study in Europe. But if you’re worried about costs when studying abroad, consider choosing any of the five countries on this list. Whether you go to Hungary, Poland, or Germany, your monthly costs will be significantly lower than other places in Europe.
Are you thinking about studying an MBA in particular? Then check out our blog on 4 Affordable Countries to Study an MBA in Europe.