Cost of Living Comparison: How Does the City of Light Compare to Other Major Cities?


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Cost of Living Comparison: How Does the City of Light Compare to Other Major Cities?


Read more about the cost of living in Paris

Students today are lucky to have study abroad opportunities all over the world. Whether you want to spend your study abroad surfing the coast of Australia, experiencing British life in London, or learning to appreciate the French art de vivre, the options can be overwhelming — and you can only do one at a time!
The reality for many students is that study abroad can also be an expensive endeavor. Between tuition at a local university, living expenses, and some cash left over for having fun and making the most of your time abroad, it can be surprising how quickly it all adds up.
For this reason, when planning your study abroad, it’s important to take into consideration the cost of living in your desired city, and how it compares to your other options. In this article, we’ll help you compare the cost of living in Paris to a few other popular cities for study abroad.  You may be pleasantly surprised to find out how the City of Light stacks up against more expensive cities like New York, San Francisco, London, Sydney, and Singapore. 

Rent and Cost of Living
Nearly anywhere in the world, your housing is likely to occupy the largest percentage of your living costs, so it’s one of the most important factors to consider when planning out your budget. As many of the world’s major cities have grown, their swelling populations have put a squeeze on local real estate markets, driving local rent prices to astronomical levels. Luckily, in Paris, even with the city’s strict zoning limitations, small area, and growing population, rent prices remain much more affordable than many other major urban centers the world. For example, in Paris you’ll pay 61% less for rent than in San Francisco.
According to data from Numbeo, rent prices in Paris are:
61.49% lower than in San Francisco;
54.03% lower than in New York;
36.98% lower than in London;
30.49% lower than in Sydney;
and 31.79% lower than in Singapore.
These differences could make a significant reduction in your total cost for study abroad if you choose to study in Paris instead of one of these cities — especially when projected over several months. For example, take a look at the following comparison for sharing a three-bedroom apartment in the city center with two other flatmates:
Total Monthly Cost of Apartment
Cost per Person
Cost per Person over 4 Months
San Francisco
New York
Rent prices in Paris will be even lower if you choose to live outside the city center, or if you select a different type of housing like a student residence hall. Domestic and international students in Paris may also be eligible to receive a housing stipend from the French government that can further reduce your accommodation costs.
Read more about accomodation in Paris here
In many other categories, like groceries and other consumer goods, Paris also offers a lower cost of living than other cities. For example, the cost of groceries is 25% lower in Paris than in San Francisco, and going to a restaurant will cost you about 11% less than in New York. For a full breakdown of current costs for common items and categories, check out our article about cost of living in Paris or review the most updated data on Numbeo. 


Australia, the US, the UK, and Singapore all occupy top spots on the list of the countries with the most expensive average tuition for international undergraduate students. The average cost of annual university fees for international students in the US is about €21,852; in Australia, it’s about €21,121; in the UK it’s about €18,739; and in Singapore it’s about €16,609. 
Students in France enjoy extremely affordable public universities, paying as little as €200 per year for undergraduate programs or €300-€600 for specialized Masters programs or PhDs. Private universities in France can charge anywhere from €2,000 to €10,000 per year depending on the school, but this cost remains far less expensive than even many public universities in other countries.
Around the world, one of the most expensive degrees is an MBA. In the US, an MBA at a top private university can cost you around €60,000 per year or more. In Australia, an MBA can cost between €23,000-€40,000. If you want to do your degree at a top British business school like Oxford or Cambridge, expect to shell out around €80,000. Singapore, despite its high cost of living, offers slightly better deals, with MBAs at national universities costing around €26,000-€35,000 — though if you prefer to study at renowned international MBA powerhouse INSEAD in Singapore, you’ll need to part with a whopping €81,000.
MBA programs in France range from €10,000-€45,000, giving you a much wider and lower range of options for getting your business degree.
Read more about Tuition fees at PSB here

Getting the Most for Your Money

Getting the Most for Your Money
Whether you are just doing a semester abroad during undergrad, a full degree, or an advanced postgraduate program, the cost of your time abroad is an important factor to consider when choosing a school and destination. While each country, city, and university offers a completely unique cultural and educational experience, you also have to make sure that you choose a study abroad program and location that fits with your budget.
For this reason, carefully researching the true cost of living of each place you’re interested in is a critical step in your study abroad planning. We hope this article helps you get a feel for how some of these top study abroad cities compare to each other in terms of cost.