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Where Should You Study? Pros and Cons of the US, Canada, UK, or Australia

The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia are highly desirable destinations to attend university. Internationally recognized schools, improved job prospects, and high quality of life are some of the main reasons students from all over the world choose these countries to study abroad.

Choosing between these four countries can be tricky. A huge factor is how much you can afford to pay for schooling since some destinations can be particularly pricey. We’ve quickly outlined some of the pros and cons of these attractive countries for international students.

Pros and Cons of Studying in the United States

Studying in the US


  • Home to many of the world’s most prestigious and highly-ranked schools.
  • Opportunity to explore a multitude of subjects and pursue highly specialized areas of study.
  • Financially flexible education paths: International students can attend a community college and transfer to a four-year school afterwards to obtain their bachelor’s degree.


  • Rising tuition fees, which means even pricier international student fees. (Some Americans choose to study in other countries altogether because of the sky high tuition rates at home.)
  • The job market is very competitive, so unless your studies are in high demand areas (i.e. STEM subjects) it is difficult to find sponsorship to remain in the United States after graduation.
  • Most US colleges require SAT or ACT scores for admission.
  • Uncertainty regarding immigration: Recent executive orders placed a temporary ban on immigration from seven (now six) countries. The latest order exempts Green Card and visa holders, however, these individuals were caught up in the roll out of the first executive order, generating anxiety even among those who are authorized to be in the United States.

Tuition Snapshot

Nonresidents attending the University of California Berkeley, one of the top public universities in the United States, pay $21,584.25 per semester (over $40,000 a year) just for tuition. And private universities can put international students out hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Pros and Cons of Studying in Canada

Studying in Canada


  • Straightforward admissions process: Canadian schools are mostly focused on grades and, in the case of international students, proof of English language proficiency. With the exception of some programs, extracurriculars are not considered. Aside from tests to prove English language skills, there is no standardized test necessary for undergraduate admissions.
  • Bilingualism: Canada has two official languages, English and French. International students can apply to universities that teach in either language.
  • There is a lot of support for international students at Canadian universities for settling in, understanding their visa requirements, and getting used to their home.
  • There are scholarship options available for international students.


Tuition Snapshot

Tuition for international students starting at the University of Toronto in the general Arts & Science undergraduate program is $45,690 Canadian a year($34,249 US).

Pros and Cons of Studying in the United Kingdom

Studying in the UK


  • You do not have to write the LSAT to be admitted into law school
  • Travelling across Europe is easier and cheaper while studying in the UK.
  • Four UK schools are in the top 20 of the recent World University Rankings.
  • There is a lot of history that can be discovered by exploring the country’s several landmarks.


  • High cost of living: The UK is one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in.
  • Expensive currency: $100 US will get you about £80
  • Pricey public transportation: Public transportation is typically considered the budget friendly option, but you’ll still find yourself shelling out a pretty penny to use this country’s rail system.

Tuition Snapshot

International students (termed “overseas” students) at Oxford University pay between £15,755 and £23,190 (between $19,532 and $28,749 US) in annual tuition fees and £7,350 ($9,111 US) in annual college fees.

Pros and Cons of Studying in Australia 

Studying in Australia


  • International students can work in Australia on their student visa (subclass 500) with some restrictions.
  • Numerous natural attractions and activities.
  • A vibrant, social, and welcoming culture.
  • Respected and recognized programs in life sciences.


  • High tuition fees: International students will pay a small fortune to attend school down under although it is cheaper than school in the US.
  • Some international students have cited the Australian accent and speech style as challenging to decipher even though they are proficient in English.
  • High cost of living: Australia is one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in.

Tuition Snapshot

International tuition at Australian universities is based on annual course fees. For example, international fees at the University of Melbourne are calculated based on fee bands depending on the subject of the course a student enrols in. Taking a course in the humanities will cost more than taking a course in business economics.

A detailed breakdown of how international student fees are calculated can be found on the University of Melbourne website.

There are a lot of stakes involved in choosing where to go to school. The biggest challenge for most students? Finances. Since there are visa restrictions on how much foreign nationals can work on a student visa (in addition to the time restrictions of being a student), affording rent and food in addition to tuition can be difficult.

Depending on where they’re coming from, culture shock can also be challenging for international students. Fortunately, schools in all of these countries provide support services for foreign students to ensure they have a productive and positive academic experience.


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