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. Thailand

Bhumibol Bridge in Bangkok, Thailand

Average savings for a year abroad: $9,141

Just above the equator, this independent southeast Asian country offers a tropical climate, spectacular landscapes, and welcoming people. When you study abroad in Thailand, you’ll join students from around the world in various themed studies at Thammasat University.

  • Learn how fair economic competition, sustainable development, and equitable economics translate into the global economy
  • Visit the Thai-Burma border communities to confront public health challenges faced by migrant populations
  • Immerse into Thai society with a language and etiquette class then venture into the provinces outside Bangkok



2. Hong Kong

Hong Kong skyline with boat

Average savings for a year abroad: $8,986

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



3. Taiwan

Taiwan skyline

Average savings for a year abroad: $8,683

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




4. Singapore

Ocean and beach in Singapore

Average savings for a year abroad: $7,042

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. China

UC students at Beijing temple

Average savings for a year abroad: $5,818

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



6. Mexico

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

Average savings for a year abroad: $5,110

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



7. Sweden

Swedish university building

Average savings for a year abroad: $4,628

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. Canada

Canadian skyline

Average savings for a year abroad: $3,071

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



9. Netherlands

Bike and river in Netherlands

Average savings for a year abroad: $2,713

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



10. Barbados

Barbados beach

Average savings for a year abroad: $2,125

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. Ghana

Kwame Nkrumah Park in Accra, Ghana.

Average savings for a year abroad: $1,820

Visit one of Africa’s rising economies and the first independent state–the ideal place for global and development studies, public health and social services, or environmental sustainability studies.

  • Join students from around the world on community projects in rural villages
  • Participate in field work, community health fairs, and service learning projects with West African foundations
  • Take popular courses for international students in Twi language, African dance, and tribal drumming



12. France

Lyon buildings and river

Average savings for a year abroad: $1,789

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



13. Norway

Houses on river in Norway

Average savings for a year abroad: $1,603

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



Savings compare UC Berkeley undergraduate rates (currently $34,295 per year) with the average cost of year-long study abroad programs. Undergraduate rates are for California residents living off campus. Median costs for year-length options based on 2018-19 UC Berkeley budgets.

Source: UCEAP Research, July 2019