Living costs in the UK: what to expect as an international student

It’s no secret that living in the UK can be expensive, and life in London or any of the other major cities costs significantly more. Here’s a rough guide on what to expect when studying in the UK.

A brief breakdown

Tuition fees

The average fees for international students vary widely on both course and university, but this ranges from around £10,000 to £35,000 per year – this is the only cost that will be significantly higher than UK students, which pay  on average just over £9,000 a year.


The average student pays around £5,000 a year in rent, and this rises to around £6,000 in London (although many students pay significantly more).

Personal items (clothes, TV, inflatable sofa etc)

Most students pay around £2,000 a year on personal items, and this is consistent in both London and elsewhere in the UK.


Similar to personal items, most students spend around £2,000 a year on food, and this is the same in London and around the UK.


Most students pay around £1,500 a year on travel. This consists mostly of money spent on public transport, especially in London, where a single tube ride can cost as much as £5.10 if bought with an Oyster Card or smartphone, or £6 if you buy a ticket. Investing in a bike can be a considerable initial investment, however the cost will be paid off quite quickly when put into context.


Students tend to spend around £1,300 on leisure – this includes going out, events, dinner etc.

Household goods

Most students spend a modest £300 on household goods, covering all their cookware and kitchenware, as well as toilet roll and anything else needed.


This will obviously vary a lot between providers, but students pay about £40 on average on insurance per year.

Read the full report

Some helpful tools

This student costs calculator is a fantastic place to start budgeting and managing finances. It details the different types of loans and who is eligible, works out how much university fees will cost, and it can also keep track of ingoing and outgoing balances.

The mySupermarket shopping list app is a fantastic way to ensure to get the cheapest deals on groceries, every time. Download it here from the iOS store or the Play store.

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Photo by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash