Top 10 Places You Can Study English for Less Than $5,000 A Year

It’s well known that one of the many benefits of studying abroad is the chance to learn a new language. However, that doesn’t always mean you want to study in a foreign language, especially if it’s very different from your own or has a lot of technical terms. English is the most common second language in the world, and many foreign universities are adding more courses taught in English to attract more international students. We’ve looked at a number of places where you can study English abroad, but if you’re on a tight budget, this article will show you where you can get a degree for US$5,000 or less.

Even if you save money on fees, you’ll still need to budget for things like student visa/university application fees, health insurance, housing, food, and so on. However, saving money on fees should make your time as a student cheaper.


Even though Icelandic is the main language taught at universities in the Land of Ice and Fire, inexpensive English-taught courses are available, though they are mostly for graduate students. The tuition at Iceland’s four public universities is free, so all you have to pay is an annual registration fee of ISK 75,000 (about US$700). If you are willing to start in the spring semester, the registration fee at the University of Iceland drops to ISK 55,000 (about $500). Students from outside the EU/EEA will also have to pay an application fee. At the University of Iceland, this fee is ISK 8,000, which is about US$70.

The problem is that Iceland is a very expensive place to live. The University of Iceland recommends that students set aside at least ISK 119,300 (about US$1,100) per month. This means that you’ll need at least US$13,200 a year to cover your living costs. The QS World University Rankings 2018 do not include any Icelandic universities.


Malaysia could be a good place to study English if you want to go somewhere warmer. At private universities, all classes are taught in English, and most graduate degrees at public universities are also taught in English (they are less common at undergraduate level). Malaysia has a great mix of low tuition fees and low living costs. In 2016 and 2017, the QS Best Student Cities index ranked Kuala Lumpur as the most affordable city for students. says that most students in Kuala Lumpur pay less than US$3,000 for tuition, and you only need about US$5,000 to live there.

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Universiti Malaya is the best university in Malaysia (joint 114th)

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia offers a high-quality education at a low cost. For example, King Saud University has no tuition fees and is often at the top of the QS University Rankings for the Arab Region. The strict interpretation of Islam in the country might take some getting used to, since alcohol is not allowed and there are strict rules about how men and women should behave. There are a lot of courses that are taught in English, especially at the master’s level and in engineering, science, and medicine. Many people there speak English, but it will help you get used to living there if you learn some basic Arabic. In the latest QS Best Student Cities index, Riyadh, the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia, was ranked as the third most affordable city for students. But the cost of living is high, and you can’t work while you’re in school.

The King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals is the best university in Saudi Arabia (joint 173rd)


Germany is a popular place for our readers to visit, and all students can study for free at public universities in all states except Baden-Württemberg, where non-EU students have to pay again. But if you’re not from the EU, your tuition fees in Baden-Württemberg will be €3,000 (about US$3,500) per year, which is much less than anywhere else. There’s a chance that other states will also start charging again in the future, so take advantage of studying here for free while you still can.

Some master’s degrees have tuition fees in other parts of the country, and all students do have to pay a mandatory semester fee to cover administrative costs. This fee is usually less than €300 (about US$350). Even though a lot of Germans speak English, it’s still a good idea to learn some basic German, especially if you want to work during or after your studies. This will make it easier for you to find a job. If you want to study in Germany in English, you may have to be flexible about the program you choose for your bachelor’s degree, since English-taught courses are much more common at the master’s level. On the website, you can use a search tool to find programs that are taught in English.

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Technical University of Munich is the best university in Germany (64th)


If you want to study English abroad, Taiwan is another good choice. There are about 120 courses taught in English there. There is no average number for tuition fees because they vary from university to university. For example, most courses at the country’s best university, National Taiwan University, cost between 100,920 and 124,200 TWD (about $3,300 and $4,100). The university says that you’ll need up to 226,000 TWD (about $7,450) per year to cover living costs. Here, you can look for programs to study in Taiwan that teach English.

National Taiwan University is the best university in Taiwan (joint 76th)


If you want to study in France but don’t speak French, there’s good news: there are about 1,200 courses taught in English, most of them at the master’s level, and tuition costs are low. Bachelor’s degrees cost €184 ($215) per year, master’s degrees cost €256 ($300), and PhDs cost €391 ($460) per year. French universities tend to charge extra administrative fees that make the price go up, but the final price will still be much lower than in other places to study.

Highest-ranked university in France: Ecole normale supérieure, Paris (43rd)


India is a fascinating place to study because of its many different cultures. Its official languages are Hindi and English, but all universities teach in English. Tuition costs vary, but are much lower than in many other places to study. Private schools charge more than public universities, though. Some courses can cost up to US$7,700, but you can get a degree for as little as US$3,200.

Even better, the cost of living in India is so low that you can live well on as little as US$5,000 per year. But it’s important to remember that you can’t work in India while you study, so this isn’t a good way to make extra money.

Indian Institute of Technology Delhi is the top university in India (172nd)


There are more and more courses taught in English in Norway, especially at the master’s level. This makes it a great place to study English. All students at public universities in Norway don’t have to pay tuition. Instead, you’ll only have to pay your university’s student welfare organization fee, which ranges from 300 to 600 NOK (about US$38 to $75) each semester. The University of Oslo suggests a budget of at least US$17,300 per year to cover living costs in Norway. Students can work in Norway while they are in school, but students from outside the EU will need a work permit. You might also be able to get a scholarship.

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University of Oslo is the best university in Norway (joint 142nd)


How about going to school in warm and sunny Greece, the place where education began? As in other places to study, there are a lot more English-taught courses at the postgraduate level in Greece. The International Hellenic University is the only public postgraduate university where all programs are taught in English. Here, you can find out about other Greek universities that offer postgraduate courses taught in English.

Students from the EU or EEA will not have to pay tuition fees at public Greek universities. If you are not one of these lucky people, the fees for non-EU students are still reasonable, costing about €1,500 (US$1,750). Greece also has some of the lowest living costs in Europe. Unfortunately, this is because of the country’s recent economic problems. Students will need about US$8,400 per year to live there.

The National Technical University of Athens is the best university in Greece (401-410)


This beautiful central European country is the last place on our list of cheap places to study English. It has a lot to offer international students, like prestigious universities, a high quality of life, and exciting student cities. At the bachelor’s level, most courses are taught in German. At the master’s level, however, there is a much wider range of English-taught courses. has a search tool that can help you find programs (simply use the define filter tool to show only English-taught courses).

Even though many people here, especially young people, speak English, you should still try to learn German. If you’re from the EU or EEA, you can get a free bachelor’s or master’s degree as long as you finish it in the required time (plus two semesters of leeway). After this, you’ll have to pay €363 (about $425) per semester for tuition. Non-EU students pay €1,453 (about US$1,700) per year in tuition fees. All students must also pay a membership fee to the student union, which is about €18 (about US$21) per semester.

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