For some UK youngsters, the idea of studying abroad is hugely appealing. There is the promise of a new cultural experience, and maybe the chance to learn a new language, or enjoy a touch more sunshine. For young people with a sense of adventure, this is a much more alluring package than staying put in the UK.
On the purely practical side, studying overseas is an effective tactic to help reduce the impact of student debt. Recent research has revealed the UK to be one of the most expensive countries in the world to study for a degree.
Travel money company FAIRFX compiled a list of the cheapest and most expensive countries in the world to be a student, based on average annual tuition fees and living costs. India was the cheapest, with a yearly cost of just £3,629.62. Russia came a close second with an amount of £4,449.90, followed by Mexico, Spain, and Belgium.
Britain was one of the most expensive places to get a university degree, with an annual cost of £21,000. Only the US, Singapore, South Korea and Australia were costlier. To put this in perspective, studying for a year in China or France would cost three times less – about £7,000. In Brazil, it would cost around £8,000, and in New Zealand about £13,000.
With the prospect of paying out £63,000 in tuition fees and living costs over the duration of a three-year university course, it’s no wonder that many students are unsure that a university degree is worth the investment. For those who wish to achieve this goal, studying abroad is one way to cut costs, with lower tuition fees and reduced cost of living.
One potential spanner in the works could be Brexit. However, while there is uncertainty over its impact on UK students in European universities, it’s safe to say that fees for British students will be the same as those paid by other EU students until the UK officially leaves. The severing of ties is expected to take a minimum of two years.
After that point, we don’t know what will happen for sure. Maastricht University in the Netherlands recently stated that, if Britain leaves, its tuition fees “might” rise, from the current rate of £1,600 to between £6,300 and £8,360.
Ultimately, EU countries will each adopt their own approach. A change to fees is unlikely in Germany, for example, since study there is free to students of all nationalities. In other EU countries, though, there may be some penalty.
The impact of Brexit on the economy may also be a factor for students to consider. It is possible that the pound will remain weak against other currencies, affecting outgoing and incoming international students who pay tuition fees in a currency other than their own.
There’s clearly a lot to weigh up – but, at this moment in time, studying abroad clearly pays dividends – both financially, and in experiential terms.
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