The Best Country to Study Abroad: Tackling the dilemma of the big four (US, UK, Australia, Canada)

    Updated on: 04 Sep 2023

    The enthusiasm for studying abroad is ever-present in many students across all parts of the world, but it has increasingly become a trend that gains more and more popularity as the years go by. The percentage of international student applicants grows higher each year, and as does the competition. And, the task of figuring out which country to take into consideration remains as daunting as ever. It is the most crucial question when pursuing higher education overseas. It is not something to be decided on a whim, as this choice will be the foundation of your career and will determine your future. Many factors need to be taken into account and should be supplemented with a strong thought process, along with thorough, rigorous research, before coming to a decision.

    We have done some of the groundwork for you and covered some points to help you make an informed choice in deciding whether to go to the United States or The UK or Australia or Canada to study. 

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    Top Universities

    United States of America: The US claims 177 spots in the QS World University Rankings 2022 list, with MIT taking the top spot for the tenth consecutive year. About half of the top 10 universities are American, and US universities make up around a quarter of the top 100 universities list. 

    United Kingdom: While, the UK universities claim 90 spots on the world ranking list, four of which are in the top 10 list, with the University of Oxford ranking the second-best in the world. 

    Canada: 28 spots are claimed by Canadian universities. The University of Toronto ranks 26th with a score of 85.3. 

    Australia: Australian universities take up 38 spots on the world ranking list, with The Australian National University coming in at 27th rank with an 84 scoring. 

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    Tuition and Cost of Living  

    Keep in mind that the cost of study or tuition fees and cost of living depends highly on the location, the university, and the course. Furthermore, you can also apply for financial aid., according to the university policies. 

    • United States of America: American universities are world-renowned for their high-quality education, and the price tag for it is also equally high. The US universities have a tuition fee of about $20,000 to $80,000/ year, and the cost of living is also relatively high at $10000 to $18000 per year.
    • United Kingdom: Studying in the UK is also very expensive, especially with its higher currency value. The tuition fees are around £10,000 to £30,000, and the cost of living is approx. £10,000 to £20,000. 
    • Canada: Canadian universities offer more affordable education and a cheaper cost of living than all the others. The average tuition fee is around $10,000 to $25,000/year (Canadian dollars), and the cost of living is estimated at around $7000 to $15,000/ year (Canadian dollars).
    • Australia: Australian universities charge higher tuition fees as compared to Canadian ones, but it is more affordable compared to American universities. The average costs of fees in Australia are​​ around $16,000 to $38,000/year, and the cost of living is approximated at $18,000 to $27,000/year (Australian dollars).
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    Admission Requirements 

    • United States of America: In order to be eligible for admittance in an undergraduate course in the USA, you are required to have 12 years of schooling and provide TOEFL scores, along with SAT or ACT scores, and GRE or GMAT scores, according to course relevance.
    • United Kingdom: Applications for admission in UK universities require 12 years of schooling, the language exam scores of TOEFL or IELTS, along with GRE or GMAT scores. 
    • Canada: A student applying for an undergraduate course in Canada must have completed 12 years of school education and are required to provide language exam scores of TOEFL or IELTS. Canadian universities do not generally ask for SAT, but you may have to give GMAT, GRE, or MCAT, depending on university and course requirements. 
    • Australia: To secure admission in an undergraduate course in an Australian university, you are required to have 12 years of schooling and provide TOEFL or IELTS scores. It is not mandatory to take the GRE or ACT; it is only required by some universities, making the application process for Australian universities simple and easy. 

    Conditions for Working

    • United States of America: US has one of the toughest work permit policies, meaning international students are only allowed to work on-campus if they have an F1 visa. It is illegal to work off-campus and are allowed to do so only if the university grants a waiver due to severe economic problems.
    • United Kingdom: Working as an international student in the UK requires a National Insurance Number, which also gives some of the state benefits like healthcare and State Pension. Tier 5 is a temporary one that allows you to do a short-term job, while you can work full-time with a tier 2, which requires an employer sponsoring your work visa. If you want to start a business or company, you will need to get a Start-up and Innovator Visa, which requires an approved sponsor to endorse your idea.
    • Canada and Australia: In both countries, students can work up to 20 hours a week in part-time jobs while the semesters are going on. And, are allowed to work at full-time jobs during the spring breaks or semester breaks. It is not compulsory to work in the field of study, although it is preferred.
      1. Canada is one of the most immigration-friendly countries in the world, providing the best employability opportunities to international students, with a relatively easy process of permanently settling in the country. Depending on the length of the program, international students can stay for up to three years to look for jobs. And, once you attain your work permit, you are eligible to apply for the Social Insurance Number and get started. 
      2. While for Australia, which also has more friendly work policies, students are allowed to look for permanent employment up to 18 months, once the program is over.

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    We hope this helps you figure out your study abroad plan. You can head over to University Living for any further help or queries regarding student life or university-related things, such as booking the perfect accommodation, finding a guarantor, arranging airport transfers, etc. It is a global student housing marketplace offering student housing services across various countries. It also provides other services, which aid international students in seamlessly transitioning to their university life. 

    First published date: 21 Oct 2021

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About author

Vishakha Bhagia
Interest in Finance with a flair for writing, Vishakha has written on education loans and the study abroad field for the last two years with articles published in Times of India, Outlook India, The Hindu, and many more publications.

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