San Francisco in the United States is the most expensive city for overseas students in terms of living costs, amounting to $37,428 for tuition fees and living costs for the first semester, new research has found.

The least expensive is Bangalore in India at $2,922, according to the index from furnished apartment search engine Nestpick which compares costs across 80 cities worldwide for the first semester (about six months). The fees alone are $23,775 in San Francisco but just $218 in Bangalore while food in the US city is over $1,000 but $255 in the Indian city.

The research also contains useful information such as the fact that in Buenos Aires there is free undergraduate studies for both Argentines and international students, with a total first semester cost of $5,869.

The second most expensive city overall is Dubai in the United Arab Emirates with visa fees of $1,613 contributing to the overall cost of $29,701 of which $12,220 is fees. In third place is Austin in the US at $29,654 of which $21,698 is tuition fees, followed by Toronto in Canada at $28,965.

Indeed North America proves to be the most expensive continent for overseas students with Seattle in fifth place at $28,446, Vancouver in sixth at $26,694, and New York in seventh at $25,287. London is next at $24,536 and then Manchester at $22,712. Hong Kong comes in at tenth with costs of $19,409 but of this just $57 is for visa fees.

Transport costs are high in Toronto, Seattle, New York, London, Los Angeles, Sydney, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Auckland, Dublin, Frankfurt and cologne, all over $100 compared with just $19 in Bangalore, $9,50 in Hanoi and $7 in Cairo.

The second least expensive city is Cairo with overall first six months costs of $3,263, followed by Bucharest in Romania at $4,656, then Johannesburg at $4,808 and Bremen in Germany at $4,865.

Germany is one of the cheapest countries with costs of $5,111 in Dresden, $5,329 in Leipzig, $5,445 in Hannover, $5,906 in Braunschweig, $6,028 in Cologne and $6,299 in Berlin. The cheaper overall costs in Germany are due to fees for international students being almost zero. France also has very low tuition fees for overseas students.

According to Ömer Kücükdere, managing director of Nestpick, the initial costs involved with relocation can vary widely depending on location and the index has been designed to be an indicator of the cost of relocating to some of the world’s most in-demand cities in order to study, and therefore a useful tool for the increasing numbers of students looking to move abroad.

The data outlines the potential costs that prospective students would incur in their first semester whilst attending university abroad, focusing on international students. The first semester living costs have been calculated by determining the average living costs for six months in each respective city, in addition the university tuition fee for one semester, as well as each respective country’s student visa price.

‘Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity for prospective students, and something that is increasingly considered an integral part of education. Relocating means not only experiencing a new city and culture, but also the chance to gain independence, connect with other international students and in many cases, even learn a new language,’ Kücükdere explained.

‘However, students should be aware of all the financial implications of moving to a new city in terms of living costs and potential tuition fees, as these can vary enormously between different universities and cities. We hope that this data will not only help prospective students to budget and plan for their semester abroad, but also encourage and inspire them to consider new and exciting locations,’ he added.