How to help your students prepare for the cost of living overseas

Contributed by our friends at Study Abroad Apartments.



As far as cost of living is concerned, Europe is still divided into Western and Eastern Europe. The price of living in London is not going to be comparable to that of Prague. So how much money a student will need really depends on where they are going to live. Here, our friends at Study Abroad Apartments aim to give you an idea about daily life in European cities, something useful for you and your students to be aware of. As a general rule: avoid the most touristy areas, where the prices triple.


London is the most expensive city in Europe, but it is still cheaper than New York (Study Abroad Apartment’s most expensive destination). The advantage of living in London is that there are lots of students, who can take advantage of student discounts. The biggest expenses are rent, transport and partying. For transport, students can get 30% off Oyster card fares if you prove that you are a student at one of London’s universities. Like in every big city, it’s always good to ask the locals where to find cheap eats. Food shopping is more reasonable if students buy in bulk and avoid smaller supermarkets. Lunch out in can cost around over 15 pounds per meal. Drinks are 8-12 pounds per mojito and 6 pounds per beer, but lots of universities have their own bars offering super cheap drinks deals. Lots of clubs have a cover charge, but students can seek free entrance and guest lists on various Facebook groups. London is very affordable for shopping and sport. One can find free tennis courts all over the place and low-cost gyms are a big thing!


Paris is not too different from London in terms of rental prices, but French cuisine will cost around 16 euros per basic lunch. It’s worth noting that a coffee in some fancy restaurants can cost up to 5 euros for a small espresso. Students can get CAF state help for their rent. The public transport system is lower in price to that of London. France has two main sale seasons, outside of which it is quite pricey to go shopping. Drinks and beers will be the same price as in London, but in euros. Food shopping is also better in big supermarkets like Carrefour or Casino. Activities can also be pricey, but the French state organizes lots of free activities and free entrances to museums for students; it’s just important to do some research.

Milan & Florence

Milan has very expensive clothes, but cheap and high quality coffee. A monthly transport ticket costs around 35 euros, so not a huge expense. A basic lunch generally costs around 15 euros. Beer will be around 5 euros and other drinks about 8-9 euros. Food shopping expenses are not too shocking. Generally speaking, activities in the city center can cost a lot, and more local events less.

Florence is cheaper than Milan; one can enjoy a decent lunch with wine for around 10 euros. Cappuccinos cost around 2 euros, beer might be slightly cheaper and a mixed drink is around 8 euros. Transportation and activities expenses are similar to Milan.

Madrid & Barcelona

Capital cities are often by far the most expensive place to live in a country. Madrid is a bright exception, as it is cheaper than Barcelona. You can find lots of good value spots to eat and drink in both cities. Students should always keep their eyes peeled for happy hours; where drink prices can half! A decent meal costs around 6-8 euros. Weekly shopping is normally about 40 euros and transport for three months just 100 euros. All Spanish clothing brands like Zara or Bershka are cheaper in Spain, so students can pick up some great outfits! Spain has amazing weather conditions, which means you can do lots of sporting activities outside for free.

Check out this table for a summary of European lifestyle prices.



While the SAA site offers a clear idea of what to expect regarding the price of study abroad accommodation, many students forget to consider the bills such as utilities, mobile or the Internet. Some of the listings have bills included, others not, so it’s always worth checking.

Below are the average cost of monthly bills in six major European cities:

  • The monthly price of utilities refers an apartment of 85m², which can generally accommodate three to four inhabitants.
  • All prices are in local currencies. Visit an online currency converter to calculate local exchanges
  • Thirdly, in regards to mobile call rates, one can now call to and from all countries of European Union at the same price. The new EU laws forbid the former high roaming rates and dictate that all providers have to charge the same price per minutes from all EU member states. Thus, when students travel around Europe, they don’t need to worry about bumped up fees.
  • Those interested in finding out more details on average cost of living in these cities such as restaurants, public transport, leisure and so forth, it’s worth checking out NUMBEO, the world’s largest database of living conditions and prices.

Want the chance to learn about a new culture and live in the heart of a thriving European city? Study Abroad Apartments offers some great options for students planning to live abroad. Just get in touch with them if your students need help finding somewhere to stay!

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