Study abroad financial considerations

Think about the costs of studying abroad before you apply. It is usually more expensive than being at Leeds, but costs can vary widely and will differ depending on your personal lifestyle and the cost of living in your host country.


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Please read the following information carefully, which will give you an idea of the associated costs of a study abroad year (but may not be an exhaustive list). 

Tuition fees and student finance

Tuition fees while studying abroad 

Your tuition fees to the University of Leeds will be substantially reduced for a study abroad year. You won't need to pay any tuition fees to the university you are selected to study abroad.

Details of the reduced tuition fees for a study abroad year can be found on the Tuition fees for study abroad and work placements page

Student finance

You will be able to access your Student Maintenance Loan as normal to help you finance your study abroad year. Find out more on the Applying for your student loan and Tuition fee and maintenance loan eligibility and amounts pages.

Ad hoc institutional costs

Host universities may charge a variety of standard, compulsory ad hoc fees for services such as orientation events, student activities, administration, use of campus gym facilities or use of IT facilities. These charges will vary depending on your host university and, whether you are interested in these or not, you will be responsible for all non-tuition charges that your host university makes.

Such fees are particularly common in North America, and can run up to a couple of hundred dollars in some cases. Check the feedback on Minerva and ask returning students about any fees they had to pay to their host university.

Visas and financial evidence

Currently, you don't need a visa to study in Europe if you hold a passport of an EU member state. To study in Europe as a UK citizen, or anywhere else, it is very likely you will need a student visa. 

Students going to some countries will also have to show evidence that they can support themselves financially while abroad. You should research these costs before you apply to study abroad.

If you are selected to study in the USA, Japan and Hong Kong you will be asked to provide financial evidence at the point of formal application to the host university (as early as February in some cases), while others may have until the summer to prepare for this. Not being able to provide financial evidence when formally registering with your host university may jeopardise your study placement.

Read more in Visas for study abroad.


All students taking a year abroad as part of their degree will be covered by the University of Leeds’ travel insurance policy at no charge. However, some countries and universities also have their own mandatory health insurance policies which you will be asked to purchase. 

Some universities can accept the University of Leeds’ travel insurance policy as evidence that you are duly covered while abroad and decide to waive this costs. However, this is not guarantee and it's something that you will need to check with the host university after being selected for the programme. This is important particularly (but not only) for students thinking of studying in North America.  

Make sure that you factor these costs in your research before you apply. 

Travel expenses

Factor into your budgeting the costs of:

  • return travel to your study abroad destination.
  • any visits home during the holidays.
  • travel and trips you may want to make while you are abroad.
  • any daily travel expenses.
  • emergency funds in case you suddenly need to return home during the year (e.g. credit card or savings).

We recommend you don’t book flights until you have had formal confirmation of your acceptance from your host university, and, where applicable, you have obtained your visa. This may unfortunately mean you won’t be able to take advantage of cheaper advanced flight bookings.

Read "Help with travel, medical and insurance costs" in Tuition fees and loans.

Immunisations and Medicals 

Some universities require students to provide evidence of having certain immunisations before they can register and begin classes. This is particularly common in North America, but the list of required immunisations will vary by university. While most immunisations should be available on request from your GP (if you haven't already had them), some may not be available on the NHS and may carry a charge.

Some countries will require students to have immunisations or a medical before they will issue a student visa. Medicals may be as simple as having a form signed by your GP to say you are in good health, or they may involve more complicated tests such as a chest x-ray for tuberculosis screening. Not all procedures will be covered by the NHS, and even having a form signed may incur a charge, so it's a good idea to find out early what will be required of you. Where we are aware of medicals and screenings for visa applications, we mention them in our visa guidelines.

Read more in Visas for study abroad.

Living and accommodation

You will need to consider your accommodation and living costs abroad, which will vary a lot depending on where you go. Use the resources in the Start your journey page  to research accommodation options as well as costs of living. More information on different housing options on our Accommodation page.

Websites such as, can help you get a feel for which countries have a higher cost of living, but you cannot rely on them for up to date or accurate costs.

The LeedsUniAbroad blog covers many topics, including budgeting tips and cost of living information.

Study costs

You may have to buy books or pay an additional fee for lab or studio-based modules. Previous study abroad students (particularly in the USA and Canada, but also students studying in English rather than the host language of their country) have reported that they were expected to buy their own textbooks/course readings and could not borrow them from the library.

Books may be sold on at the end of the year, but this can still represent a significant expenditure at the start of your time abroad. You may be able to "rent" your course books from book rental companies at some universities in the USA.

If you will be taking lab-based or art classes, don't forget to budget for equipment and materials, including specific materials that may be required by the tutor.

Feedback forms from previous study abroad students in our Minerva organisation may give you an idea of the costs students have had to cover for study material.

Language courses

If your host university teaches in another language, you may want to take a pre-sessional language course over the summer to prepare yourself - this is an ideal way to strengthen your language skills and prepare yourself for attending lectures. Some language courses are offered at a reduced rate for exchange students, but almost all will come with a tuition fee that you must pay, as well as accommodation and living expenses.

Read more about Language courses.

Paid student work whilst studying abroad

Many students do paid work while they are studying abroad, but don’t depend on this as a source of funding. If you need a visa to study in your host country, you must check the visa conditions to see if you are allowed to work. You should check whether your visa will allow you to work while abroad on the embassy's website of the country you are interested in applying for.

See Visas for study abroad page for direct links to embassies' websites.

Study abroad Scholarships

Research scholarships awarded by Leeds as well as by external organisations to find further ways to finance your study abroad year. View our Study abroad scholarships page for more information. 

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As well as understanding the costs associated with a study abroad year, it is important to think about funding sources and budgeting. Download the Leeds Budgeting Abroad Tool (Excel) to help you project the costs of your year abroad. The Budgeting Tool is also available in the Study Abroad Office organisation on Minerva.


Remember to inform your bank about your travels in good time before leaving the UK to avoid your bank account being suspended for suspicious activity. It is important that you write down any important numbers too so that you are able to get in touch with your bank in case of emergencies while you are abroad.

Opening a bank account abroad

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office country-specific travel advice is a good first point of call to investigate if you are eligible to open a bank account as it depends on country-specific laws and visa requirements. Opening a local bank account may be the best way to get good rates while you are abroad, remember to discuss this with your bank.

Guide to financing your life abroad

Download the Go Overseas Ultimate Student Guide to Financing your Life Abroad (PDF) for information on things to consider before you go abroad such as opening a bank account abroad, avoiding scams and living abroad on a budget. The guide also offers recommendations on pre-paid currency cards.