Updated for 2019-2020

Did you know that some study abroad locations can cost you less than remaining at your UC campus for a year? It’s true! Check out these countries where you can save money.


1. Hong Kong

Photo of boat and hong kong skyline

Average savings for a year abroad: $12,580

Save money while taking classes in Hong Kong. Tour the city, its distinct culture from mainland China, favorite local dishes and more in this 3-minute guide to Hong Kong.

  • Investigate the pharmacological effects of Chinese herbs to treat health conditions
  • Work on policies governing cross-border water services
  • Volunteer in a local school and teach English

Bonus: See the Top 5 Reasons to Study Abroad in Hong Kong



2. Taiwan

Photo of Taiwan skyline

Average savings for a year abroad: $11,580

Immerse in the language as you read Chinese news, watch Chinese shows and interact with local students in Taiwan.

  • Work on a team using remote sensing to study the impacts of climate change across forest monitoring sites
  • Grow your Mandarin phonetic and Pinyin spelling skills
  • Learn the meaning behind Buddhist art in south, central and southeast Asia




3. Mexico

Photo of a UC student on a skateboard in front of a university building in Mexico

Average savings for a year abroad: $9,860

Climb a pyramid, trek a volcano, wander a floral paradise and discover magic in ancient Aztec temples.

  • Observe the factors that shape a community’s response to illness
  • Work with those shaping California policies on social justice for migrants
  • Study the evolution of Mexican film as art, industry, entertainment and social testimony



4. Singapore

Photo of ocean and beach in SingaporeAverage savings for a year abroad: $9,260

Experience the ultimate Southeast Asian blend of food, art, culture and language. Singapore is an ultra-modern city set within a tropical landscape.

  • Perform aquatic data analysis while snorkeling through corals, sea fans and sea sponges
  • Discover the forces behind urban transformation through traditional, medieval, garden and ecological city models
  • Study microorganisms in indigenous foods and their effects on food preparation and preservation



5. Korea

Photo of Korea buildings and tram

Average savings for a year abroad: $9,260

Join students from around the world at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. Enjoy trips to Jeju Island, celebrate pop culture and save even more while enjoying delicious street food. Check out the 3-minute Travel Guide: Seoul for more details.

  • Develop a narrative and learn how to storyboard motion films
  • Study the Korean language through speeches and debates, reading Korean novels, and writing articles, business letters, and resumes in Korean
  • Explore your career passions with a summer internship



6. China

Photo of UC students at Beijing temple

Average savings for a year abroad: $9,130

Study abroad in China and you can save money while upgrading your undergraduate experience. Learn more from the 3-minute Travel Guide: Beijing and see the photos from Anna Lai’s study abroad trip to China.

  • Compare modern and classic versions of Chinese fairy tales and their continued cultural impact
  • Learn the business tools that support making good corporate financial decisions
  • Examine transnational relations between North and South Korea from a new vantage point



7. Sweden

Photo of Swedish university building

Average savings for a year abroad: $8,480

The Scandinavian town of Lund offers a medieval architecture and modern coffee houses. Lund is also one of the most affordable study abroad options in Europe.

  • Progress from basic to advanced Swedish language skills by immersing in Swedish life in Lund
  • Evaluate the quality and chemical properties of pharmaceuticals and international legal regulations on the industry
  • Design your own independent research project!



8. Japan

Photo of Osaka castle

Average savings for a year abroad: $8,290

Acquire modern language skills as you live and study among the temples, shrines and markets of Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka and other Japanese cities.

  • Get up to a year of Japanese language training over a summer
  • Join an experienced lab team conducting biochemical research
  • Intern at the U.S. embassy for a first-hand view of current international politics and immigration laws



9. Canada

Photo of Canada skyline

Average savings for a year abroad: $6,960

Two different universities on opposite sides of Canada offer a variety of study abroad opportunities while saving you loads of money.

  • Learn the science behind natural disasters and how we can predict and minimize their impact
  • Join a coastal research facility
  • Get field experience in topics such as aquaculture, climate change and fish physiology



10. Barbados

Photo of Barbados beach

Average savings for a year abroad: $6,660

Get an authentic Caribbean experience and insights through field courses, lab work and independent research on the sunny island of Barbados.

  • Share your pre-health skills with the local community working at a clinic or hospital
  • Examine the blending of indigenous, African, French, Creole and Spanish words and how they shaped the Caribbean lexicon
  • Review findings from cognitive research on the role of technology and experiment with new media in classrooms



11. Italy

Photo of the city of Florence

Average savings for a year abroad: $5,610

With the choice of four locations, you can save money as you hone your Italian language skills. Check out the recent student reports (with photos) on studying abroad in Rome and Bologna.

  • Take Italian language courses while designing architectural solutions with an Italian architecture firm
  • Study the art, persona and political stance of Michelangelo in Renaissance Italy
  • Compare the different aspects of management consulting and review the industry, its players and their services



12. Norway

Photo of houses on river in Norway

Average savings for a year abroad: $5,550

At the University of Oslo, there is a range of academic options as you discover the uniquely Norwegian places and ways of life that make this an amazing study abroad experience.

  • Explore the stars, planets and galaxies and the electromagnetic radiation they generate
  • Learn about music-related body movements in performers and analyze music-related motion
  • Study the fundamentals of health economics and efficiency of health care providers



13. Netherlands

Photo of bike and river in Netherlands

Average savings for a year abroad: $4,280

Study abroad in student-friendly cities like Utrecht, The Hague, Maastricht or Wageningen. Discover a different interactive education style focused on teamwork and group projects.

  • Study foodborne disease and spoilage agents for the food industry
  • Explore how modern world governments are encouraging public entrepreneurship
  • Investigate the socioeconomic and political transformations that have led to conflict



14. France

Photo of Lyon buildings and river

Average savings for a year abroad: $4,250

Study abroad at a French university in either Paris, Bordeaux or Lyon and you can:

  • Discover how jazz has been reinvented by musicians in France
  • Write news articles for an online French newspaper
  • Learn the logic, methods and tools of web marketing
  • Analyze the Internet’s influence in international advertising



15. Germany

Photo of Berlin, Germany

Average savings for a year abroad: $2,530

Get a critical outside perspective of the U.S. while studying abroad in Germany.

  • Debate the technical, legal and social aspects related to autonomous vehicles
  • Learn to program a micro-controller
  • Compare theories of the US Civil War and current conflicts in Asia



16. UK-Scotland

Photo of buildings and river in Scotland

Average savings for a year abroad: $1,690

Study abroad in Scotland and find yourself doing any number of interesting things. What’s more, there are a ton of free things to do in Edinburgh that can help you save money. See Samantha Ku’s story and photos about studying abroad in St Andrews for more details.

  • Draft press releases and speeches for members of Scottish Parliament
  • Complete a year of physics over an 8-week summer
  • Review the latest psychological research related to autism spectrum disorders



17. Ireland

Photo of UC student in Irish countryside

Average savings for a year abroad: $890

Not only can you live in green and beautiful Ireland, but you can save a ton while you do it!

  • Study Irish literature and poetry
  • Analyze international business environments through market analysis and case studies
  • Study the status, roles, and representation of women in medieval Irish and Welsh societies



18. Israel

Photo of Jerusalem buildings
Average savings for a year abroad: $690

In Israel, you can pursue a study path or passion that leads to a career. Most of all, you can pursue your interests while gaining a unique perspective of the modern Middle East.

  • Learn how to develop a business plan for your own startup
  • Design new products that support a sustainable way of life
  • Research the impact of pesticide exposure on farm workers
  • Study modern dance and art
  • Immerse in Arabic language study



19. Spain

photo of two UC students in Barcelona, Spain

Average savings for a year abroad: $250

From Barcelona to Madrid, Granada and even lesser-known gems like Córdoba, choose from a variety of city locations when you study abroad in Spain.

  • Participate in strategic business management, human resources, and marketing through computer game simulations
  • Discover the nutritional science and cultural traditions behind the success of the Mediterranean diet
  • Achieve Spanish language fluency with Castilian and Catalan flavors


Savings compare UC undergraduate rates (currently $34,330 per year) with the average cost of year-long study abroad programs. Undergraduate rates are for California residents living on campus. Median costs for year-length options based on 2016-17 UCEAP and UC budgets with automatic program scholarships applied.

Source: UCEAP Research, July 2018