Consumer Price Plus Rent Index: 57.34
The QS World University Rankings 2014/15 positioned the University of Barcelona and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona as the 166th and 173rd best colleges worldwide, respectively, and as the top two such schools in Spain. This partly accounts for Barcelona’s 2013 ranking as QS’ joint-24th-best world city for students, but so too does a surprisingly low cost of living. Accommodation rental prices, for example, are less than a third of those in New York City, and even food shopping in the Spanish city should leave international students well over 30 percent better off than when buying groceries in the Big Apple. This will leave plenty of euros with which to enjoy hearty Catalan cuisine and the delights of Barcelona’s celebrated arts scene.
Consumer Price Plus Rent Index: 56.48
An abundance of good nightlife is just one of the guarantees of a semester or two spent studying in Dresden. The German city boasts more than a dozen budget-conscious student nightsots, and the eminently affordable cost of living means learners can really indulge themselves. As of mid-2014, rental prices on accommodation are over 70 percent cheaper than they are in New York City; and as an added benefit, students are not even charged for undergraduate tuition at the 11 higher education establishments located here. The majority of Dresden’s learners are enrolled at Technische Universität Dresden, which is ideal for learners interested in pursuing careers at high-tech organizations like Infineon Dresden and Motorola, two of the city’s industry big-leaguers.
Consumer Price Plus Rent Index: 48.68
Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisboa and the University of Lisbon are all possibilities for U.S. students considering academic time in Portugal’s capital. Such choice, however, shouldn’t be the sole reason to relocate to Lisbon, for the “city of seven hills” boasts a temperate climate, awe-inspiring architecture and a markedly affordable cost of living. Indeed, even if students disregard the exceptionally low cost of leased accommodation in Lisbon, they can still expect to pay over a third less for essentials like food, utilities and transport than they would in New York City.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Consumer Price Plus Rent Index: 46.93
Buenos Aires’ low cost-of-living score can be partly attributed to its distinctly affordable rental accommodation. Numbeo’s mid-2014 rent index reveals that the Argentine capital revels in rental rates that are some 78 percent cheaper than those in New York City. Indeed, the average monthly outlay for a three-bedroom city-center apartment is a little over $1,000. That’s not too much more than $300 each, should international students travel as a trio. While there, learners can attend classes at any of the numerous higher education institutions in the city, the most highly regarded of which is the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Students here could add to the university’s already impressive list of alumni, which features three science-based Nobel Prize recipients.
Mexico City, Mexico
Consumer Price Plus Rent Index: 40.40
A typical night out for international students in Mexico City could involve forking out less than $2 for half a liter of local beer and under $4 for an imported bottle. That McDonald’s combo meal to round off the evening, meanwhile, should cost less than $6. These are just a few student-friendly examples of why the cost of living in Mexico’s capital is so attractive, though it should be noted that low rental rates on accommodation also play a large part. Fortunately, saving money doesn’t have to mean scrimping on schooling, as the city has several well-regarded higher education institutions – the most significant of which is the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Consumer Price Plus Rent Index: 39.65
Lima is home to the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos; it’s among the world’s oldest universities still in operation. The school is also well regarded, although the city’s Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú is now the country’s highest-rated college, according to QS’ World University Rankings 2014/15 list. Still, regardless of which school international students choose, they’ll no doubt enjoy an astonishingly affordable cost of living: accommodation rental rates, for example, are close to 80 percent lower than those in New York City. And this is good news for students eager to explore one of South America’s most absorbing cities – perhaps by taking in one of the excellent museums or its religious heritage by day before indulging in exceptional local cuisine or dancing away at a bustling club come nightfall.