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Cost of Living in UAE

Cost of living in UAE for International Students

by Anup chowdhury

Cost of living in UAE – Working towards making the educational system of UAE world-class, the UAE government has allowed several top foreign universities to set up their campuses in the country. Some of these reputed institutions include SP Jain School of Global Management, Emirates Aviation College, Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS), Dubai Medical College, University of Dubai (UD), American University in Dubai (AUD), and University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD). The quality education offered by these institutions is attracting international students towards UAE. However, students must plan their stay in this country carefully as the cost of living in UAE is quite high. Living costs vary depending upon different factors such as rent, food, entertainment, transportation and other miscellaneous expenses (visas and residence permits).

To give you a fair idea about the cost of living in UAE, we have listed the average tuition fees paid by students as well as the living cost and accommodation cost incurred while studying in the educational institutions of UAE. Most of these premier institutes of UAE are based in Dubai. So, we have focused the article on the cost of living in Dubai for international students.

Tuition fees for an undergraduate program in Dubai range between 37500 to 70000 AED per year and the living expenses range between 2600 to 3900 AED per year. Tuition fees for a postgraduate program in Dubai range between 55000 to 75000 AED per year and the living expenses range between 2600 to 3900 AED per year.

Cost of living in UAE – Accommodation Prices in Dubai

Accommodation is divided into two parts: on-campus and off-campus accommodation. The most popular option is on-campus accommodation as it is less costly than living in the city. Students need to plan their living arrangement as early as possible because accommodation places quickly get filled up in top universities of Dubai. There are 63 plus universities and institutes of higher education in Dubai, and only a few of them offer student accommodation. For those who can afford it, the universities also tie-up with local hotels to offer rooms at cheaper rates. If the university does not provide residential facilities, then the students can look for private accommodation in Dubai.

On-campus Accommodation Cost in Dubai Universities

Types of On-campus Accommodation Costs  (AED)
Type A – Single 27,500
Type B – Shared x2 16,000
Type C – Shared x 2 (premium) 19,000
Type D – Shared x3 12,500
Type E – Shared x3 (upgraded) 13,500
Type F – Shared x3 (premium) 14,500

Private accommodation – Private accommodation is an unavoidable reality for many students studying in Dubai who do not manage to find on-campus accommodation. The accommodation costs shown below is given by the Canadian University, Dubai. This will give the aspirants who wish to study in Dubai some idea about the private accommodation costs.

Private Accommodation Cost in Dubai

Private Apartments Costs (AED)
Modest, 1 bedroom 70,000 – 85,000
Modest, 2 bedrooms 85,000 – 100,000
Good quality, 1 bedroom 100,000 – 120,000
Good quality, 2 bedrooms 120,000 – 140,000
Good quality, 3 bedrooms 140,000 – 190,000

Cost of living in UAE – Food Prices in Dubai

The average cost of daily necessities and services (source: University of Wollongong in Dubai) in Dubai are shown in the table below:

Loaf of bread AED 5
Water (1.5 litres) AED 1.50
Can of soft drink AED 1.50
Dozen eggs AED 10
Milk (1 litre) AED 7
Rice (1 kg) AED 10

Cost of living in UAE – Transport Prices in Dubai

Food, entertainment, transport and other such miscellaneous items contribute to the overall cost of living in UAE/Dubai.

Taxi (5 km trip) AED 10.50
Metro trip (1 zone, standard fare) AED 2.50
Car Hire (per week) AED 600
Petrol (per litre) AED 1.72

Cost of living in UAE – Dubai prices compared to other cities*

One major factor that adds expense for students and expats in Dubai, is the cost of converting cash to AED from their home currency.

Comparing cost of living One bedroom flat in city centre (monthly rent) Lunch for two (Three courses, mid-range restaurant) Transportation (monthly pass)
Dubai 7,324 AED 150 AED 250 AED
London, UK 7,847 AED 255 AED 607 AED
New York City, USA 10,938 AED 275 AED 430 AED
Berlin, Germany 3,023 AED 164 AED 331 AED
Sydney, Australia 7,187 AED 222 AED 444 AED

Source* TransferWise

Dubai is a great destination for international students, whether they are considering a permanent move after studies, or just looking to finish studies and exploring the city.

Also read – Cost of Living in Australia for International Students

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