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What’s the Cost Of Living In The Uk For International Students?

The UK is not known for being the cheapest country to live in, however, they do offer one of the best educations in the world, so it is worth every penny! This article will help you understand how much money you would have to spend if you want to come study in the UK and I’m going to give you tips on how you can save.


VISA (£818 for 1 year)

The visa for an international student costs £348 on administration fees, plus the healthcare surcharge which is £470 per year of study. Your visa asks you to prove you have in your bank account £1,265 per month if you’re studying in London and £1,015 outside London, unless you’re from the countries listed here.

To be sure of what visa you need, the UK government’s website has a tool that helps you understand this. Go here to check!

Course Tuition Fees

Depends on the course you want to enroll in and this is something you have to check with your University directly. However, undergraduate courses prices start at £9,250 per year and the most expensive is Cambridge’s medical programme which is £58,038 a year for international students.

Postgraduate courses start as little as £4,800, rising to as much as £37,000.

Housing (£515 outside London/ £750 London)

For housing, this is where it can get tricky! Normally, it is cheaper to find your own private accomodation than staying at the University Halls of Residence, even if they are closer to campus and you save on transport. The average rent in the UK in Student Hall’s would be around £515, however in London, it is around £700. For private housing, in the UK it is also £500 and for London £750. This price is without bills, but you would usually spend around £40 when divided by your flatmates. 

Check below the average price for renting a room in different cities across the UK:


Average Room Renting Price














                                                      💡 Movido’s Tip💡

Check our Checklist for Accomodation! Just to make your life easier, we have designed a checklist which you can download for free, that includes advice on how to find the best accomodation, what documents you need, where to find flatmates, and more!

Mobile Phone & Wifi (£30)

Mobile Phone

In the UK, there are deals that start as cheap as £7 per month. There are different packages with different mobile providers to fit your needs. With Movido’s starter pack, you can compare get a GiffGaff sim card and you can top it off with the plan that suits you best!


In the case where you choose to live in the University’s student halls of residence, it is most likely that your bill will include WiFi. If not, there are various deals on the market that start a little over £20.

Entertainment (£200)

Studying abroad has a lot more to offer than just what you learn in university, it is also about socializing and the people you meet! What you spend on entertainment will – obviously – depend on the lifestyle you carry. But to give you an idea of some of the prices you will find, it is possible to have a nice meal out at a restaurant for less than £20 and when it comes to going out for drinks, a normal bar can be quite expensive to a student’s budget. Therefore, I suggest you find a wetherspoons close to you – it’s the Uk’s biggest pub chain that sells the cheapest pints.

When it comes to the cinema, the ticket prices are around £10, and to most museums they have free entry. However, the ones that don’t usually have student discounts.

                                                        💡 Movido’s Tip💡

Take the best use of the student deals available to you such as Unidays. Most restaurant chains have discounts exclusive for students so it is worth checking. Also, night clubs also do student nights that have special deals on drinks, so keep an eye out for them!

Transport (£45)

Transport can be one of the biggest expenses for a student. If you’re living close to your University, remember that you will save on transport. And even so, check with your University first if they have a shuttle bus, I know mine did!


To travel in London, there is an option to buy the Oyster Card (London’s transport card that gives you access to the tube and buses) for a student deal where you get 30% off the monthly price. There are different prices for monthly passes because they vary on where you travel. London is divided by zones (1 being the most central) and for the tube, the price goes higher the most central you travel to. Check the fares here.

Movido’s Tip: Associate your Oyster Card with the RailCard and pay as you go!

Be careful, because buying a monthly pass does not compensate unless you travel everyday, so you’ll be better off just paying as you go and associating the Railcard to your oyster. The RailCard is a discount card made for travelling within the UK by train. This card gives you a 1 / 3 discount off rail journeys and it only costs £30 for people aged between 16-25. In addition, you can link this railcard to your oyster and it will give you a discount of 34‰ on journeys on the tube and bus in London. You can order your railcard here and to link both cards you just go to a tube station and ask for someone to help you.


For the tube, there are different charges for each zone you travel into, and the prices start at £1.50. You can check here for the prices of a journey you wish to make to calculate how much you would spend.


By bus, each journey costs £1.55 but gives you unlimited journeys made within the hour where you bought the first journey. Additionally, when you reach £4.65 the rest of the journeys are free for 24 hours.


Another easy and healthy way to travel around the city is by bike. London has a big link of bikes that you can rent that covers the whole city. There are loads of bike docks and pretty much everywhere you want to go to. Remember that London doesn’t have any hills and there are plenty of cycle roads that help you travel safely. To rent a bike, the price is £2 for 24h and the first half an hour of each journey is free. After 30 minutes, it adds £2. But if you enjoy it, you can buy a one year subscription with a student discount that costs £67.50. Go here for more information!

Cost of Living in the uk for international students
Santander's bikes.

Food (£60)

Cooking at home will save you some money if you choose to not go out. I would say food and other stuff you will need for your house (Such as Laundry Detergent) would cost you £60 per month. As any other country, in the UK there are cheaper supermarkets for you to go to. The most affordable ones are Tesco, Lidl, Asda and Sainsbury’s. The most expensive ones are Waitrose and Marks And Spencer.

Cost of Living in the uk for international students

Health & Wellbeing (£30)

Soon enough you will be able to choose a gym that best suits you using Movido. Until that feature isn’t available on our website, there is a chain of gyms called “The Gym” and “Pure Gym” that have student deals. For this, you would be looking at spending under £30 per month.


When it comes to banking, sometimes if you don’t make the best choice you will end up paying a lot of fees. My tip is that you consider opening an account with online banking such as:

  • Revolut
  • Transferwise
  • Bunq

These banks don’t bother you with paperwork and most of them allow you to have a multi-currency account, which means you can get your parent’s allowance in dollars and exchange them to pounds to use it in the UK (for example!).

Remember to follow Movido on Instagram and Facebook where we give tips on best moving to the UK or France.

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