Cheapest Cities For International Students Whilst At University In The UK

Are you an international student looking for an affordable yet enriching experience while studying in the United Kingdom?

Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, I’ll take you on a virtual tour of the top five cities in the UK where you can pursue your education without breaking the bank.

Each of these cities offers a unique blend of affordability, cultural diversity, and a vibrant student life that will make your academic journey unforgettable.

Cheapest cities for international students whilst at university in the UK

Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff University: Your Gateway to Affordable Education

Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, boasts a warm and welcoming atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for international students. One of its standout features is the prestigious Cardiff University. Here, you can access world-class education without the hefty price tag.

The Cardiff Advantage

  • Affordable Tuition Fees: Cardiff University offers competitive tuition fees that won’t burden your wallet.
  • Cost of Living: The cost of living in Cardiff is considerably lower than in many other UK cities.
  • Vibrant Student Life: Cardiff’s thriving student community provides a variety of entertainment options, from bars and clubs to restaurants.

Sheffield, England

University of Sheffield: A Green Haven for Budget-Conscious Students

Sheffield, situated in the heart of northern England, is renowned for its industrial heritage and its exceptional affordability. The University of Sheffield is a prominent institution that welcomes international students with open arms.

The Sheffield Experience

  • Economical Living: Sheffield offers an affordable standard of living, leaving you with more resources for your education.
  • Green Spaces: The city is brimming with lush parks and green areas, providing a refreshing environment.
  • Welcoming Community: Sheffield is known for its friendly residents who create a home away from home.

Manchester, England

University of Manchester: Where Culture Meets Affordability

Manchester, a bustling city in northern England, combines cultural richness with reasonable living expenses. The University of Manchester is just one of the academic institutions that make this city a prime destination for international students.

The Manchester Magic

  • Pocket-Friendly Living Costs: Manchester offers a cost of living that won’t empty your wallet.
  • Musical Heritage: Explore the vibrant music scene that Manchester is famous for.
  • Friendly Locals: The welcoming Mancunians will make you feel right at home.

Birmingham, England

University of Birmingham: A Multicultural Hub

Located in the heart of central England, Birmingham offers an exciting blend of cultures and affordable living. The University of Birmingham opens its doors to students from around the world, making it a hotspot for international education.

The Birmingham Experience

  • Budget-Friendly Lifestyle: Birmingham’s living costs are kind to your finances.
  • Multicultural Atmosphere: Immerse yourself in a city that celebrates diversity.
  • Friendly Faces: The residents of Birmingham will embrace you with warmth and friendliness.

Nottingham, England

University of Nottingham: A Mix of History and Modernity

Nottingham, a city in central England with a rich medieval history, provides an ideal setting for international students. The University of Nottingham stands as a testament to the city’s commitment to education.

The Nottingham Charm

  • Affordable Living: Nottingham offers a cost of living that suits a student’s budget.
  • Vibrant Student Life: Dive into a lively student community that ensures you’re never bored.
  • Sherwood Forest: Discover the legendary Sherwood Forest and other historical landmarks.

What is the low living cost for international students in the UK?

Studying abroad is a dream for many, and the United Kingdom has been a popular destination for international students for decades.

However, the cost of living can be a significant concern. In this section, I’ll explore how international students can achieve the lowest living cost in the UK, without compromising the quality of their experience.

1. Affordable Accommodation

One of the most significant expenses for international students in the UK is accommodation.

To keep costs down, consider the following options:

  • Shared Housing: Sharing a house or flat with other students can significantly reduce your monthly rent.
  • University Accommodation: Many universities offer affordable housing options for international students.
  • Private Rentals: Look for budget-friendly private rentals in areas away from the city center.

2. Cost-Effective Food Choices

Maintaining a budget-friendly diet is crucial. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Cook at Home: Preparing your meals can save a substantial amount of money.
  • Discount Stores: Shop at discount grocery stores or markets to find affordable ingredients.
  • Meal Plans: Some universities offer meal plans that can be more cost-effective than dining out.

3. Budgeting for Household Bills

Don’t overlook household bills; they can add up quickly:

  • Shared Bills: If you’re in shared accommodation, divide bills like electricity and internet among your housemates.
  • Energy Conservation: Be mindful of energy usage to lower your utility bills.
  • Student Discounts: Check if you are eligible for any student discounts on bills.

4. Economical Transportation

Getting around the UK doesn’t have to break the bank:

  • Public Transport: Utilize public transportation systems or get a student discount card.
  • Biking/Walking: Consider walking or biking for short distances to save on transport costs.
  • Car Sharing: Share rides with fellow students to reduce fuel expenses.

5. Part-Time Work

International students in the UK can work part-time during their studies. This can help cover living expenses:

  • On-Campus Jobs: Check if your university offers on-campus job opportunities.
  • Off-Campus Work: Explore off-campus part-time job options that fit your schedule.

6. Take Advantage of Student Discounts

The UK offers various student discounts on transportation, entertainment, and more. Make sure to have your student ID with you and explore available discounts to save money.

7. Plan Your Budget Wisely

Create a detailed budget plan to track your expenses and ensure you’re not overspending. There are budgeting apps available that can help you manage your finances effectively.

8. Seek Financial Aid and Scholarships

Investigate scholarships, grants, and financial aid programs that might be available to international students. These can significantly ease your financial burden.

9. Minimize Extra Expenses

Avoid unnecessary spending on things like excessive shopping or dining out frequently. Being mindful of your spending habits can save you a lot of money in the long run.

10. Build a Support Network

Connect with other international students and local communities to share cost-saving tips and experiences. Building a support network can be invaluable during your time in the UK.

What is the least expensive city in UK?

When it comes to finding the least expensive city in the UK, many options may come to mind.

However, the city that consistently stands out as one of the most budget-friendly destinations is Londonderry, located in Northern Ireland.

In this section, I will look into the factors that make Londonderry the least expensive city in the UK.

From cost of living and housing to the vibrant cultural scene and historical charm, I will explore why this city is a hidden gem for budget-conscious individuals.

1. Cost of Living in Londonderry

Londonderry boasts a remarkably low cost of living, making it an ideal destination for those looking to stretch their budgets. From affordable groceries to reasonably priced dining options, residents and visitors alike can enjoy the city’s offerings without breaking the bank. The cost of living in Londonderry is significantly lower than in many other UK cities, making it an attractive choice for those seeking affordability.

2. Affordable Housing

One of the standout features of Londonderry is its affordable housing market. The city offers a range of housing options at prices that are often significantly lower than the UK average. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, Londonderry provides affordable solutions for individuals and families alike. This affordability extends to both urban and suburban areas, allowing for a wide range of housing choices.

3. Job Opportunities

Londonderry may be an affordable city, but it doesn’t compromise on job opportunities. The city is home to a growing job market with a diverse range of industries. Whether you’re looking for employment in technology, healthcare, education, or manufacturing, Londonderry offers various options for job seekers. The combination of affordable living and ample job opportunities makes it a desirable place to work and live.

4. Quality Education

For families considering a move to Londonderry, the city’s education system is another compelling reason to choose this destination. With a selection of excellent schools, colleges, and universities, residents can access quality education without the hefty price tag that often accompanies it in other parts of the UK.

5. Cultural Richness

Londonderry is not just about affordability; it’s also a city steeped in culture and history. From the city walls to the Guildhall, there is no shortage of historical sites to explore. The city’s cultural scene is vibrant and diverse, with numerous museums, theaters, and galleries. Many of these attractions offer free or low-cost admission, ensuring that culture is accessible to all.

6. Scenic Beauty

Nestled along the banks of the River Foyle and surrounded by stunning landscapes, Londonderry offers scenic beauty that is second to none. The city’s natural surroundings are not only breathtaking but also free to explore. From leisurely walks to hiking trails, the great outdoors is at your doorstep.

7. Thriving Community

Londonderry is known for its friendly and close-knit community. The warmth of its residents and their willingness to welcome newcomers make it an attractive place to settle down. The sense of community is priceless, and it doesn’t come with a hefty price tag.

8. Low Crime Rate

Safety is a top priority for anyone considering a new place to call home. Londonderry boasts a lower crime rate compared to many other UK cities, providing peace of mind for residents and their families.

9. Affordable Transportation

Getting around Londonderry is not only convenient but also cost-effective. The city offers affordable public transportation, making daily commutes and exploring the city a breeze without straining your wallet.

Which is the No 1 cheapest university in UK?

In the realm of higher education, the cost of tuition can be a significant barrier for many international students.

However, nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of the United Kingdom, the University of Cumbria stands out as a beacon of affordability.

With undergraduate tuition fees starting at a mere £9,250 per year for international students, this institution has garnered the attention of budget-conscious scholars worldwide.

In this section, I will look into the key aspects of the University of Cumbria and explore why it’s often hailed as the cheapest university in the UK.

The University of Cumbria: An Introduction

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty details, let’s take a moment to understand the University of Cumbria and what it offers to international students.

Nestled in the heart of one of the most stunning regions of the United Kingdom, the University of Cumbria is a relatively young institution.

Formed in 2007 through the amalgamation of several institutions, it has quickly gained a reputation for its commitment to quality education at an affordable cost.

The university has multiple campuses, each offering a unique educational experience, from the urban vibrancy of Carlisle to the tranquility of Ambleside.

Affordable Tuition Fees: A Game-Changer

The Cost Advantage

One of the most compelling reasons to consider the University of Cumbria is its highly competitive tuition fees. The annual tuition for international students starts at just £9,250. This is significantly lower than the fees charged by many other UK universities, making it an attractive destination for students seeking quality education without breaking the bank.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

To further ease the financial burden on international students, the University of Cumbria offers a range of scholarships and financial aid programs. These resources are designed to support students in their academic journey and ensure that financial constraints do not hinder their pursuit of knowledge.

Quality Education: The Core Commitment

Accreditation and Rankings

It’s important to note that affordability does not come at the expense of quality education. The University of Cumbria is accredited by various educational bodies, ensuring that its programs meet rigorous academic standards. Despite its affordability, the university maintains a respectable position in national and international university rankings.

Expert Faculty

The university boasts a dedicated and experienced faculty who are committed to providing students with a world-class education. Small class sizes allow for personalized attention, fostering an environment where students can thrive academically.

Diverse Programs

A Range of Courses

The University of Cumbria offers a wide array of undergraduate programs in diverse fields, from business and engineering to arts and humanities. This diversity ensures that students can find a course that aligns with their interests and career aspirations.

Industry-Relevant Curriculum

The curriculum is designed to be industry-relevant, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared to enter the job market. This commitment to practical knowledge enhances the employability of students.

A Supportive Community

Welcoming Environment

International students often seek universities that provide a welcoming and inclusive environment. The University of Cumbria is known for its warm and friendly atmosphere, making it easier for students to adapt to a new culture and surroundings.

Student Services

The university offers a range of student services, including academic advising, career counseling, and wellness support. These services are in place to ensure that students have access to the guidance they need throughout their academic journey.

Studying in the UK: Practical Considerations

Visa Requirements

To study in the UK, international students must meet certain visa requirements. The University of Cumbria assists students in navigating the visa application process, making it more straightforward for them to begin their academic journey.

Cost of Living

In addition to tuition, students must consider the cost of living. The cost of living in Cumbria is generally more affordable than in larger cities, further contributing to the university’s reputation for affordability.

Cheapest cities for international students whilst at university in the UK


When choosing a city to pursue your studies in the UK, it’s essential to consider various factors, including tuition fees, living costs, accommodation, and the quality of student life.

The cities listed above excel in these aspects, offering an affordable and fulfilling academic experience.

So, whether you’re drawn to the historical charm of Nottingham, the multicultural tapestry of Birmingham, the cultural vibrancy of Manchester, the green haven of Sheffield, or the welcoming atmosphere of Cardiff, you can be confident that you’re making a smart choice as an international student on a budget.

Make the most of your academic journey in the UK by selecting one of these cities as your educational destination.

Affordable education, a vibrant student life, and enriching cultural experiences await you in these top-notch, budget-friendly cities.


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Hello, I'm Emeka by name, an article writer with a passion for words and storytelling. I have a knack for crafting engaging and informative content that captivates readers and delivers valuable insights. Whether it's exploring the latest trends, sharing knowledge, or diving into creative narratives, I'm here to bring words to life. Join me on a journey through the world of ideas and stories as we explore the power of written expression.

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