Plan your budget - Section contents

Planning your budget early and accurately can really improve your overseas study experience.

There are a variety of costs that come with studying overseas, however they might not be as expensive as you think.

The University of Melbourne covers some of the costs on your behalf, including:

  • subject fees for Exchange and University of Melbourne Overseas Subject (UMOS) students (you will continue paying tuition fees to the University of Melbourne rather than the host institution)
  • travel insurance, covering one week before the first day of orientation up until one week after your final day of assessment per semester.

You will need to budget for:

  • passport and visa fees
  • flights and in-country transport costs
  • accommodation (on or off-campus)
  • health insurance
  • daily living expenses
  • spending money
  • subject tuition fees (Fee-paying students only).

To meet the above costs, past Exchange students have suggested the following estimates:

  • $10,000 to $13,000 (AUD) - for Semester Exchange
  • $15,000 to $19,000 (AUD) - for Year-long Exchange.

Costs vary depending on your host destination. Visit your host institution website for guides on the cost of living at your chosen destination.


Exchange programs

While on Exchange you will remain enrolled at the University of Melbourne, which means you will continue paying tuition fees to the University of Melbourne under your existing payment arrangement rather than the host institution. These fees can be put on your existing HELP loan.

Fee-paying programs

If you are a Fee-paying student, you are required to pay tuition fees to your selected host institution rather than the University of Melbourne. This means the cost of subject tuition can vary drastically. It is worth investigating the tuition fees of various institutions and subjects before deciding to undertake a Fee-paying program.

The University offers free travel insurance when you travel overseas for approved University program. Note that this policy covers one week before the first day of orientation up until one week after your final day of assessment per semester.

To register for travel insurance, please follow the Get ready section of our step-by-step guide.

While buying health insurance isn't always compulsory, some institutions will require their Exchange or Fee-paying students to do so.

To find out more about health insurance, please follow the Get ready section of our step-by-step guide.

You are responsible for having an up-to-date passport before you travel, and applying for and funding your own visas (including any travel to another city for an interview if necessary). Sometimes this can run to several hundreds of dollars. You are also required to meet any other passport requirements of the host country, which can include having a valid passport six months beyond your return date.

You should contact the appropriate consular offices of your desired host destination to determine whether a student visa will be required prior to departure and approximate processing costs. If you are required to apply for a visa while still in Melbourne, you will need to first wait until you receive acceptance documents from the host institution before you can apply. But it's good to check early anyway to prepare your budget.

Many host institutions and destinations will require proof of funds, usually in the form of a bank statement in your name or your sponsor's name, before visa documents can be issued.

You are responsible for securing and funding your flights to and from your overseas study destination, as well as the travel costs involved once you have arrived. This will form a major part of your expenses, so it pays to shop around, including booking ahead whenever possible.

Costs for accommodation will vary depending on whether you live on or off campus and what type of housing option you accept.

For Exchange students, your host institution will make every effort to help you find accommodation. This can range from traditional colleges to city apartments or even homestays with local families. Your host institution website will usually have pretty comprehensive housing information that you can read up on before leaving on your Exchange, including detailed cost breakdowns of weekly tariffs and one-off fees. It's worth discussing your options with your host institution.

For Fee-paying students, you are responsible for finding your own accommodation or seeking assistance from your host institution.

There are a few other living expenses you need to account for during your overseas study, such as food (if it's not covered by your accommodation) and daily transport.

You will need to factor in the sorts of items you will need for the climate and lifestyle of your host destination, including entertainment and socialising, transport, clothes, etc. Think about how much you ordinarily spend on these things at home, and consider that you'll be likely to spend just as much – or perhaps even more – while you are away.

You may choose to travel on weekends and non-study periods during your overseas study. There will also be plenty of exciting opportunities along the way. Read up on our student testimonials or chat to returned students in our Global Society to get a better idea of how much spending money to prepare.

The Global Society

Become a member of The Global Society so that you can use their flight layby system. This will allow you to book flights before being accepted by your host institution! You can also access student travel discounts and budgeting advice from those who have studied overseas before you. Membership is free - simply sign up using your university email address on the Global Society website.