How Much Does It Cost To Do An Exchange in Europe For A Semester?

how much is exchange

Have you ever wondered how much does cost to study abroad in Europe for a semester?

Now that I’m finally nestled back home in Singapore, I can complete my final tabulation of my exchange expenses.

I understand that travel expenses and living expenses are both very subjective. Many study abroad students are always perplexed as to how much to budget for Europe, or wondering if they should go to Europe as it is expensive since everything is 1.5 times more than Singapore, in €.

So with my experience doing an exchange in Europe from January to June 2015, I hope that my expenditure can provide some insight to those on the way to their very own exchange!

All $ is stated in SGD.

How much money did I spend in total doing an exchange in Europe for 6 months?


The figure may not surprise you, as there are many travellers out there who’ve successfully travelled with little. For me, though, it comes as an astonishment.

Well, I did set out on this exchange wanting (or rather, having) to travel on a budget. Sailing to the European soil for the first time meant being ambitious and excited about my travel plans across Europe.

I did not spent lavishly most of the time I was abroad, except for special occasions (like when WL and I were celebrating our anniversary in Greece) and rich experiences (such as experiencing the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, or visiting Mount Titlis in summer and realizing that there’s still snow!).

I have diligently kept track of every single expense, from transport tickets to tipping, shopping & tours. This figure thus also includes my shopping, which was done mainly in 2 locations- Amsterdam, during the great winter sale (end Jan) and in the UK.

A sample of my expense excel sheet is shown below.

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 11.40.59 pm

My expenses revolved around travelling and local experiences. How you want to budget your spending rests very much on your priorities, be it travel, local experience, food, social, shopping, etc. In my case, that was the order of importance.

Below shows the breakdown of my expenditure:

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 11.40.25 pm

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Within this $14,000,

I spent S$5,600 on living expenses.

Rouen Neoma Business School France

This includes:

  1. 6-month Visa in France: $159.40
  2. Personal (NTUC) Insurance: $375
  3. Flights:
    Singapore to Paris by Malaysia Airlines – $486
    Budapest to Singapore by Qatar – $721
  4. Accommodation per month: $310.80*
  5. Living Expenses (97 days): $3497**

*There was a $102 subsidy because France has a housing subsidy called CAF!
**Living expenses encompass daily essentials such as grocery, utensil, bedding, cookery, sanitation, household.

When we first entered our dorm, it was bare. I remember having to sleep on the cold hard bed frame the first night because we were brought to our rooms when the sky had already set. Even with the heater on, it takes time to acclimatise to the January Europe weather. I went to bed with a pile of bedsheets as my pillow and huddling my jacket to sleep.

On top of buying our own bedding, my dorm didn’t provide kitchen utensils. No fork, no spoon, much less a pan or pot to cook. All of these had to be bought, but thankfully we met a fellow neighbour who kept all the previous students’ homeware. It’s thus important to make friends, and connect with your earlier batch who went to the same school as you! They will be able to offer invaluable and extremely useful tips (like how you can get pass your host school’s system. ;))

So… How much money do I need to travel Europe?

While I can’t give you a precise budget for travelling around Europe because everyone has a different style of travelling and level of comfort, I can share how I’d travelled and the amount I’d spent. This would hopefully give you a better indication on how much to budget for your own exchange!

Throughout the 84 days spent travelling, I took 10 trips out of my town in Rouen, and visited 16 countries.

Read: Europe Trip; 6 Months, 16 Countries, 55 Cities, 11 Languages

Of the 16 countries, 10 of them were spent on my own dime, which I’d tabulated to amount to a

Total expenditure of $6991.

How Much Money Spent Travelling Europe For 6 Months?
Touring Venice, Italy with my family.

This amount is contingent on how much you travel. Some immerse wholly in cultural exchange in their host country and school and hardly spend much travelling out.

My travelling style is that I would scrimp on food, accommodation and transport, preferring to prepare my own meals and walk. I walked around Santorini instead of hiring an ATV, and managed to spend only 53€ a day in Santorini.

ghent food ball local best recommendation

I would spend, instead on experiences and places. I love hunting for local food, like the food markets in London, coolest Ghent food recommendations from a local and going on an Amsterdam food tour!

Want to know how to save while travelling?

Read: How To Save on Accommodation and Transport While Travelling

Want to know how to save while travelling as a student?

Read: 10 Student Travel Tips I Wish I'd Known Earlier

Curious how I funded for my exchange single-handedly?

Read: How to Fund for Exchange?
Camden Town, London, UK
Camden Town, London, UK

Now that you’ve got an inside view of how much a typical exchange student spent, I hope it’ll help in planning for your next study abroad/ Europe trip!

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4 Replies to “How Much Does It Cost To Do An Exchange in Europe For A Semester?”

  1. OMG. U IS SO DETAILED, with all the spreadsheets. I IS IN AWE. I must learn from Your Greatness.

    1. Awww. That means a lot to me. Thank you! 🙂

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