Studying abroad doesn’t mean spending all your cash. Sure, it’d be awesome to spend a semester in Tokyo, washing down your cornflakes with only the finest sake, and it’d be fabulous to study in Moscow, subsisting on the rarest of Beluga caviar. But if the world’s first and third most expensive cities for expats, respectively, fall outside your price range, don’t fret. Studying abroad on a budget doesn’t mean trading your kidneys for a plane ticket on Craigslist; it means making an informed decision about destinations that are within your budget. While rural towns and smaller cities are, generally speaking, less pricey than major metropolises, you don’t necessarily have to forgo the experience of a big city. In fact, there are plenty of other, oft-overlooked major cities around the globe that won’t break the bank. These decidedly less pricey cities are economic and cultural centers in their own right–and they boast excellent study abroad programs, to boot.
According to Mercer Consulting’s annual cost-of-living report, these 10 major cities rank at the very bottom. The most recent results from 2009 put Johannesburg at dead last of a total 143 world cities ranked. But the biggest surprise is perhaps Glasgow–a bustling economic center and a one-time European City of Culture–which is very inexpensive compared to other major cities in the U.K.
1. Johannesburg, South Africa (143)
2. Monterrey, Mexico (142)
3. Auckland, New Zealand (138)
4. Mexico City, Mexico (137)
5. Quito, Ecuador (136)
6. Tunis, Tunisia (134)
7. San Jose, Costa Rica (132)
8. Montevideo, Uruguay (131)
9. Glasgow, United Kingdom (129)
10. Santiago, Chile (128)
For the full list from 2008, click here.