Cost of Living UAE

Student Cost of Living in the UAE

One of the biggest causes for hesitation when students consider the option of studying abroad is budgetary.

“How much money do I need to have saved before I take this step?”

The reality is, studying abroad is one of the greatest experiences a student can have, but it doesn’t come free of charge. Oftentimes, those looking to study in the UAE face the same worries as students in other destinations at higher costs in Europe and other western destinations.

The UAE is considered a crossroads between eastern and western culture, and this affords students an unmatched opportunity to learn and grow in a unique environment. However, it also means the cost of living is sometimes higher here than in other Middle Eastern locations.

The good news? Local universities encourage students through their may scholarship opportunities [link to UAE Under/Graduate Scholarships article], and the reminder that although the UAE is often seen as a beacon of luxury, it is possible to live on a budget with a little planning.

Here are some realistic figures to help give students an idea of what they should prepare for should they choose to venture to the UAE for their studies:

1 Semester of Study Abroad:

On average, undergraduate students should expect to spend between 19,000AED and 35,000AED per semester, without any scholarships. Meanwhile, students entering into a graduate degree in the UAE should expect a slightly higher semesterly cost of between 27,500AED and 37,500AED, without any scholarships.

General Cost of Living

Studying abroad is not just about the time in the classroom: students should be prepared to experience the culture, history, and beauty of the UAE off-campus, as well. An average cost of living is outlined below (it should be noted that this is based on prices for goods and services in Dubai – other major cities like Abu Dhabi may very slightly vary):

Housing (if not provided by the university)

Monthly rent in furnish apartment (45m^2)


Monthly Utilities (per two people)


Monthly internet (8Mbps)



Taxi (5km)


Metro Trip (1 zone, standard fare)


Monthly Blue Nol (public transport) card

from 70 AED

3-month Blue Nol (public transport) card

From 165 AED


Cinema Ticket


1 Beer in Pub


House Wine


Combo Meal in Fast Food Restaurant


Cappuccino at neighborhood cafe