Choosing a foreign destination for your higher education can become quite a time-consuming and expensive decision.
I came to Australia in July 2018. In my first 2 years itself, I had spent upwards of about $130,000 in tuition and living expenses, largely financed by education loans taken in India, that came with a standard interest rate, repayable after 7 years.
This figure is by no means the average in Australia. Most of my friends spent $100,000 or less in the same period.
My expenses, however, are of this magnitude since I chose to study at the University of Melbourne – the 2nd best University in Australia (and 33rd in the world) based on the QS World University Rankings 2023.
Whether you’re financed by your parents, or a bank, that’s still a huge sum of money.
Higher Education in Australia
Would I have made the same decision again? Definitely. Not because I splurge my way through life (I’m a self-proclaimed minimalist, owning as few things as possible), but because I knew it was worth it.
And now, almost 4 years later, working as a Digital Marketing Specialist (full-time) and being a Marketing Lecturer at the University of Melbourne (part-time), I have the luxury of reflecting on the experience.
Ultimately, wherever you choose to study, there’s still plenty to figure out (financially) before moving to a foreign destination.
In this article, I’m going to look at arguably one of the most crucial things that would be on any incoming students’ mind - the cost of living, with a close focus on studying and living in Melbourne, Australia’s most liveable city, as noted by 2022 Global Liveability Index.
Before I get to that, I’m going to briefly analyse the macroeconomic context; specifically how that’s going to impact the cost of living for international students commencing their higher education in the 2022-23 period.
Cost of Living Crisis 2022
2020 and 2021 went by in a flash. With several nations in lockdown, and people out of jobs, Governments in most countries had no choice but to extend payments and subsidies to keep the economy afloat.
Now that the pandemic has come to an end, the harsh macroeconomic realities are beginning to settle in.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showed inflation grew 5.1% in the 12 months to March 2022. To cope with the rising cost of living, 867,000 Australians now work two jobs.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) went on to predict that inflation will hit 6% by year’s end, before easing to 3% by mid-2024 in response to rising rates and as higher energy costs.
Against such a harsh economic backdrop, its important to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into, where your money will go, and how you can save money.
Cost Of Living in Melbourne for International Students
There are many elements that contribute towards the cost of higher education. Let’s look at the most you could spend in your first year here. As mentioned above, I spent a lot of money in the first year of Masters.
I didn’t exactly cut back when I it came to accommodation either, accounting for the huge difference between how much I spent ($68,000+) vs cheaper alternatives to studying and living in Melbourne, Australia ($45,000 to $57,000).