Living Expenses in Dubai for International Students

There is a general misunderstanding among the students that the expenses of studying abroad are only your university fee. However, the living expenses in Dubai for international students include many other expenses other than merely the program fee. This article will help you understand various unnoticed international student expenses in Dubai. This complete breakdown of expenses with numerical values will help you plan your study trip to Dubai.

Why Study in Dubai?

Dubai has promoted itself to the center of a high-class education. The government of Emirates and Dubai have invested a lot of money to promote education in Dubai. Today, one can find plenty of remarkable universities and colleges in Dubai. Some reputable universities include the University of Wollongong Dubai, Canadian University Dubai, and The British University in Dubai and American University in Dubai.

The quality of Education nowadays in Dubai is comparable to any developed country in the world. This is the reason that Dubai is attracting loads of foreign students who want to continue their higher education in the UAE.

It is quite easy to get admission in Dubai!

Unfortunately, many students are also unaware of the fact that several UAE universities offer great scholarship opportunities. You may be eligible for 25%, 50% or even 100% scholarship. In some cases, they offer a 50% scholarship for the first year, followed by a 100% fee waiver in the next years.

No IELTS Requirements

Above all, many Dubai universities don’t have an IELTS requirement. You can apply for admission on the basis of the English Proficiency certificate. Non-IELTS admission requirements certainly make the life of many non-native English students a lot easier.

Conversely, in order to take admission to countries such as the US, Canada and Australia, you may have to spend a lot of money on the IELTS exam. Moreover, you have to pass the IELTS with good bands to qualify for admission. But in the case of Dubai, this will not be the case.

The dream study destination, Dubai!

Dubai has changed a lot in the past 50 years. It essentially went from desert to the greatest futuristic cities on the planet. Naturally when you think of Dubai you automatically associated with money. That is because of many reasons, it has the world’s only seven star hotel. Everything in this hotel looks gold like it is made of real gold.

Living expenses in Dubai

Before we get into the actual expenses there’s two things that need should be considered.

  • There is a 0% income tax in Dubai.
  • In Dubai it’s mandatory for your university to cover your healthcare.

This means if you’re offered $3000 a month you get three thousand dollars a month. This is because there is zero income tax legislation in Dubai. Secondly, you can sit back and feel easy since you will be covered for one of the most expensive things in Dubai, the healthcare! Health care treatment is super expensive here in Dubai. So even if you are offered partial health care sponsorship, it will reduce lot of financial burden from your shoulders.

Cost of living in Dubai (excluding rent)

Single person cost, per monthAED 3,500
Single person cost, per yearAED 38,500
University student cost, per monthAED 2,000
Four person family cost, per monthAED 11,000
Four person family cost, per yearAED 133,500

Obviously in Dubai there’s a very wide range of income sources. I’m going to be trying to explain the cost for a younger person someone that’s somewhat on a budget, someone that represents the average in Europe. I’m also not going to go into visas and flights because everywhere around the world is going to be completely different. But I do know that for European it’s particularly easier than for let’s say Americans or South Americans to get into Dubai. In case you’re wondering if you are European you have a free three-month tourist visa to Dubai. This means you can literally go to Dubai for 90 days for free.

Accommodation Expenses

The most expensive part of Dubai is the accommodation. There can be two types of school students accommodation in Dubai:

  • On-campus accommodation
  • Off-campus accommodation

Most of the students desire to have an on-campus accommodation facility. Because it is far cheaper than living in the city. Therefore, if you are applying for admission in Dubai, you should also look for making arrangements for accommodation as early as possible. Dubai is now the dream study country for many students, so, there is a solid chance that all the on-campus accommodation places get filled very quickly.

Before applying to any University in Dubai, you are advised to have a thorough research. There are about 63 universities in Dubai, but only very few of them offer on-campus accommodation facility. Therefore, you should prioritize those universities that have on-campus student accommodation provision.

Those students who can afford and are willing to reside in off-campus accommodation should also contact the university administration office in time. It is because many universities in Dubai have an agreement with local hotels to offer accommodation to international students at cheaper rates. On the other hand, if the university does not have either on-campus or off-campus accommodation, the students can search for private accommodation in the way themselves.

On-campus accommodation expenses in Dubai

There are multiple types of on-campus accommodation facilities in Dubai universities. International students can find single rooms, 2 person shared rooms and 3 person shared rooms. Moreover, there is also a premium and upgraded version of each room type. The rooms are also categorized on the basis of available facilities. There are rooms ranging from type A to type F. Obviously, single rooms are the most expensive whereas shared rooms are comparatively less expensive.

Off-campus/ private accommodation expenses in Dubai

Private communication in Dubai is alarmingly expensive. The rooms are categorized on the basis of add-on facilities, room size and its location. Following table shows a rough idea of private room accommodation cost in Dubai:

At the very least, if you share a flat with someone, accommodation is going to cost you around $750 per month. If you want your own flat that number immediately goes up to around $1400 maybe $2,000 on average.

It’s also important to know that if you do have your own flat in Dubai, they ask for three to four months in advance every time which you pay every three months.

The rent here may be really expensive but in general you get some pretty good views and facilities in each tower. Most towers do come with a gym and a pool on the rooftop or somewhere in between. For example in London, one will pay around $1,000 per month for a pretty ghetto room.

Food Expenses

Food is pretty expensive in Dubai. A lot of common goods are imported so even an avocado can cost you around $4. In Europe you may have to pay 60 cents for an avocado.

Water in Dubai is Costly!

There’s also this bizarre situation with water here, the local water. If you go to a restaurant and ask for water there’s a good chance that they are going to bring you some sort of elegant imported water, which cost a fortune. Local water will cost you a $1. Special water, such as some imported water, will cost you $10. For students, water is just water. They don’t care if it’s from Italy or from Spain or from the mountains of France. They just want water. In my opinion, $1 for water is enough at a restaurant

Restaurant Prices

Restaurant prices are somewhat closer to American prices where, you will spend on average $7 – $10 per meal. If you are a food lover and loves to eat too much, happily that still would cost you around $10. To live and eat comfortably minimum you can say is $300-$500 on average. It’s fairly easy to get carried away and go to the $700-$800 range if you want to eat in a lavish style.

Transport Expenses

Transport in Dubai is surprisingly cheaper than what many students expect it to be. Moreover, buying a car and gas here is extremely cheap. You would be surprised to know that it cost only $20-$25 to fill up a gigantic Range Rover. Many international students will find the 2014 or 2015 model Mitsubishi for around $5000-$5500. There’s such a high turnover with the vehicles in Dubai that the prices ends up going too low.

It is pretty difficult to put expenses related to buying a car in Dubai into numbers. But, surely, you will spend a lot less here than you would in other countries for buying a car.

A short to medium taxi ride will set you back around $10. One can easily take a 20 minutes taxi ride for merely $10. And a simple one-way metro ticket price across Dubai will set you back around $1.5-$2. If you are using public transport as a student in Dubai, you will be spending around $100 per month.

Expenses of extracurricular activities

Post Graduate university studies are indeed tiring and hard. Therefore, after having a hectic study routine, everyone wants to socialize and hang out with friends. And afterwards, this becomes the most beautiful memory of your international study experience. You can just meet up with friends, maybe play some video games.

There are also a ton of different activities to do in Dubai from go-karting to laser tag. There’s a million different things that you can do. And a lot of different ways to spend your money. In general these kinds of activities do tend to be more expensive. For example like skydiving here I think cost you like around $400-$500. Back in Europe, its $90 then again I can’t compare Europe’s economy with Dubai’s economy.

Estimated Student Living Cost In Dubai

Therefore, there are lot of living expenses in Dubai for international students. So taking in all the areas that I covered I would say that on the cheap, Dubai can cost you $1,350. If you want to live comfortably in terms of similar standards of how you are wielding back in the States or in Europe I would say that can cost around $2,200 per month.

But as I said previously the 0% income tax really does make a difference. Let’s have a little comparison between Manhattan in US and Dubai. You will most probably find Manhattan and Dubai similarly expensive. But in Manhattan is easier to get things for cheap. Obviously there is a ton of smaller areas that cost you in Dubai. But the main objective here is talk about the basic backbone of your expenses in another country as a student. Dubai is, by far, the most expensive place that you will ever live in. But you will find the quality of life in Dubai is much, much higher.

Dubai is Crime-Free Study Destination

Crime rate is essentially 0%. For instance, if you leave an iPhone on a bench in the middle of the street and you leave for three hours. There is a solid chance that when you come back two hours later that phone is still there on the bench. Nobody will take it.

A lot of people here parked their motorcycles with the helmet on top of the mirror, not locked or anything. They go shopping and do what they need to do come back an hour later and the helmet is still there. In Europe, on the other hand, if you leave your helmet unattended for more than 15 seconds, there’s a good chance that it’s gone.

How to reduce your expenses in Dubai?

Studying abroad is always a very expensive activity. It becomes even harder when you are studying in an expensive city like Dubai. Although the major part of studying abroad expenses is your University tuition fee. But, there are many inevitable additional expenses as discussed above. Therefore, you must look for some options to cut your expenses in a foreign country. You can also look for various other options to increase your income. Fortunately, the government of Dubai allows students to work with their studies. So, you can look for part-time student jobs in Dubai to meet your expenses.

Apply for financial support and Dubai scholarships

If you are an international student in Dubai and you are facing financial hardships, you should immediately contact the financial aid office of your university. You will find all your faculty members, student advisors and University stop really helpful. They can help you in finding financial aids as well as the correct application procedure. Undoubtedly, Dubai has a very strong economy and the government is spending lot of money to promote International Education.

For this purpose, they keep on announcing various government of UAE scholarships for deserving International students. Moreover, the universities also keep on announcing attractive scholarship opportunities for brilliant students. Hence, there are plenty of scholarship opportunities in Dubai and you should keep an eye on such scholarship opportunities.

Education loan for expats in UAE

There are several study loan options in UAE. Most of these loans are available on low-interest rates and flexible loan repayment plans. Several banks in UAE offer attractive loan schemes that can easily cover your entire program fee. Moreover, the loan can help you to bear your living expenses in Dubai. Some notable Banks which offer loans in UAE include Mashreq Bank, Islamic Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Comm. Bank. Read all the details about education loan for expats in UAE here

Student jobs in Dubai

You can work along with your studies in Dubai. There are loads of job opportunities for students across Dubai. In order to be eligible to work in Dubai, you will be required to get a Dubai student work permit. As soon as you get student work visa, you will easily find a student job in Dubai which will surely help you to meet your study expenses. You can look for a Teaching Assistant job with your university supervisor. Moreover, you can apply for student counselling jobs, part-time biker job, home delivery job or part-time freelance jobs in Dubai.

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