Cost of Living in Dubai 2024

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Did you know Dubai is a popular destination for Indians seeking affordable healthcare and tourism opportunities? 

But did you also know that the cost of living and studying in Dubai is quite affordable compared to countries like the UK and the USA? Yes, you heard that right! Moreover, graduates enjoy a high return on investment, as their salaries are among the highest in the world.

Did you know that according to reports, a substantial number of Indian students – approximately 1.6 lakh – go to the UAE every year for higher education? As per the Indian Express, Dubai is a major destination for Indian students pursuing education in the UAE.

So, if you’re considering studying abroad or looking for a new place to call home, Dubai may be the perfect option. Let’s look at what makes it an attractive destination for students and residents. 

Here are the blog highlights:

ParametersCosts
Average Cost Of LivingINR 93K
Average Rent In City CentreINR 60K to 170K
Average Transportation Cost Monthly PassINR 6,800
Average Utilities Cost INR 17K
Average Tuition FeeINR 8L to 16L
Top Universities– Dubai University 
– Al Ghurair University
– Zayed University
Scholarships-Zayed University Undergraduate Scholarship
-SPJ Global Postgraduate scholarship
-Master Research Teaching Scholarship offered by Khalifa University (MRTS)
Average Net Salary (After tax)INR 40L
Top Professions-Data Scientist
-Business Developer
-Civil Engineer
Top Affordable places to live in Dubai– International City
– Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC)
– Dubai South
-Bur Dubai
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Why Choose Dubai?

Dubai can be a fantastic destination for international students, offering a unique blend of academic excellence, cultural immersion, and exciting experiences. 

Here are some of the best features of choosing Dubai for your studies:

  • Top-Ranked Universities: Dubai boasts several branch campuses of prestigious international universities and some of the best local universities. These universities allow you to earn a well-respected degree while abroad, and they often maintain the same high standards as their home campuses.
  • Cosmopolitan Hub: Dubai is a melting pot of cultures with a large expat community. This provides a welcoming environment for international students, and you’ll have the opportunity to meet people worldwide.
  • Lucrative Career Prospects: The United Arab Emirates has a booming economy, and Dubai is a major business centre. This translates to ample job opportunities for graduates, particularly in business, finance, tourism, and engineering. Studying in Dubai can give you a head start in your career.
  • Safe and Secure: Dubai is renowned for its safety and low crime rate. This allows you to focus on your studies and enjoy your time in the city without worry.
  • Luxurious Lifestyle: Dubai offers a lifestyle beyond academics. From world-class shopping malls and stunning beaches to exciting desert adventures and historical landmarks, there’s something for everyone. Explore the city’s many attractions and create lifelong memories.
  • Part-time Work Opportunities: International students in Dubai can take on part-time jobs, which can help with living expenses and provide valuable work experience to enhance their resumes.

Also Read: 

Cost of Living in Dubai for International Students

Dubai, synonymous with luxury and innovation, also boasts a well-developed infrastructure, making daily life convenient. Understanding the cost of living in a foreign country is very important, especially for international students on a tight budget. Let’s delve into the average costs associated with essential aspects of living in Dubai:

  • Transportation: Navigate the city efficiently with a monthly pass averaging around AED 300 (INR  6800). Taxis are readily available, but consider these for occasional use as the cost per kilometre is approximately AED 5 (INR 115).
  • Basic Utilities: The average cost of basic utilities like electricity, water, and garbage collection can vary depending on your consumption and residence size. However, a general estimate suggests a monthly budget of around AED 766 (USD 210) for these necessities.
  • Mobile Phone Plans: Stay connected with friends and family back home with a mobile phone monthly plan. Depending on data allowance and call minutes, these typically range from AED 100 (USD 27) to AED 300 (USD 82).
  • Internet Plans: Dubai offers high-speed internet connectivity. Monthly plans can range from AED 200 (UINR ) to AED 500 (USD 136), depending on your desired data speed and provider.
  • Food Costs: The cost of food can vary significantly depending on your preferences. Eating out regularly can be expensive, with an average meal costing around AED 50 (INR 1150). However, grocery shopping and home-cooked meals can be more budget-friendly.
  • Healthcare Costs: Healthcare in Dubai can be expensive. While public health facilities exist, many residents opt for private health insurance, which costs AED 500 (INR 11,500) monthly, depending on coverage.
  • Rent: Dubai’s rental market caters to diverse budgets. As expected, prime locations like Downtown Dubai and Dubai Marina command premium rents, averaging AED 7,900 to 15,000 (INR 1.8L to 3.4L) monthly for a one-bedroom apartment. More affordable options exist in Deira and Bur Dubai, where similar accommodations are available for AED 6,000 (INR 13K) per month.

Student Accommodation:

While on-campus housing options might be limited in Dubai, some universities do offer dorms with rents ranging from AED 3,000 (INR 68K) to AED 5,000 (INR 1.1L) per month, depending on the room type and amenities provided.

Living Affordably in Dubai:

Remember, Dubai caters to various lifestyles. The cost of living in Dubai can be managed by choosing a more affordable neighbourhood, using public transportation, and adopting a budget-conscious approach to dining and entertainment.

Below is a table of monthly costs of living in Dubai that can help you plan your finances better. 

ParametersCosts
Average Transportation Cost (Monthly Pass)INR 6,800 (AED 300)
Average Basic Utility CostINR 17,000 (AED 766)
Mobile Phone Monthly Plan CostsINR 5,000 (AED 221)
Internet Plan CostsINR 8,000 (AED 352)
Average Food CostINR 34K (AED 1500)
Healthcare costsINR 10K (AED 458)
Average Rent In Dubai City CentreINR 1.8L (AED 7900)
Average On-Campus RentINR 68K (AED 3000)
Sourced By: Numbeo
Note: The costs mentioned in the table are approximate and may vary by location and currency exchange rates.

If you need further guidance and information on the cost of living in Dubai, download our app to get all your queries answered.

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Cost of Living in Dubai 2024

Top 3 Universities In Dubai

Dubai is home to some of the top local universities and some international branches, ranking 6 among the top 1000. In recent years, more than 164,000 Indian students have been enrolled in Dubai universities, and this number is increasing yearly.

International students’ annual tuition fees at Dubai Universities are INR 8L and INR 40L

The universities in Dubai offer a wide range of courses in various fields, including:

  • Business
  • Hospitality & Tourism
  • Finance
  • Engineering
  • Management

Here is a table of the top 3 universities in Dubai, along with their average tuition fees:

Top UniversitiesAverage Tuition Fees for UGAverage Tuition Fees for PG
Zayed UniversityAED 37500-120,000 (INR 8L-27L)AED 45,000-125,000 (INR 10L-28L)
Middlesex UniversityAED 60,000- 120,000 (INR 13L-27LAED 72,000-180,000 (INR 16L-40L)
Al Ghurarir UniversityAED 35,000-50,000 (INR 8L-11L)AED 40,000-80,000 (INR 9L-18L)
Note: The fees mentioned in the table are approximate and may vary by course.

Top 10 Courses To Study In Dubai

In recent years, Dubai has witnessed a significant surge in Indian student enrollment, with over 164,000 students opting to pursue higher education in the emirate. This trend can be attributed, in part, to Dubai’s reputation for offering cost-competitive educational opportunities compared to traditional destinations like the United States and the United Kingdom.

Dubai’s universities have strategically aligned their course offerings with the emirate’s dynamic economy. Programs in Business and Architecture are particularly popular choices for Indian students. 

Dubai’s status as a global centre for commerce makes it an ideal location to study Business, and its reputation for innovation and architectural marvels extends to its academic offerings.
This focus on industry-relevant fields makes Dubai attractive for students seeking qualifications directly applicable to the job market.

Here is a list of the top 10 courses to study in Dubai, along with their tuition fees:

Popular Courses in DubaiAverage Annual Fees in INR (approx.)
BusinessINR 2 to 20L
ArchitectureINR 1 to 8L
DesignINR 1 to 10L
Tourism and Hospitality ManagementINR 1 to 5L
Information TechnologyINR 2 to 8L
Computer ScienceINR 3 to 10L
AviationINR 2 to 10L
Logistics and Supply Chain ManagementINR 2 to 5L
Entrepreneurship and InnovationINR 3 to 8L
Data Science and Business AnalyticsINR 5 to 10L

Scholarships to Reduce Cost of Living in Dubai

International students pursuing higher education in Dubai can apply for various scholarships designed to mitigate the financial burden associated with living expenses. Various entities offer these scholarships, including the Dubai government, prestigious universities within the emirate, and private organisations committed to educational advancement. Some scholarship awards include tuition fees, accommodation, and other essential living expenses.

Given the competitive nature of scholarship opportunities, it is highly recommended that international students submit their applications well before deadlines and ensure the inclusion of all necessary documentation. Selection criteria for scholarships vary, with some prioritising academic excellence while others may emphasise financial need, nationality, or a combination of factors.

By actively pursuing scholarships, international students can significantly reduce their financial obligations, allowing them to dedicate their focus to academic pursuits and personal development throughout their educational journey in Dubai.

Here is the list of available scholarships for International students in Dubai:

ScholarshipsBenefitsType
1. Outstanding Academic Excellence Scholarships by the Univeristy of Wollongong (UG)The scholarship offers $10,000, paid in two $5,000 instalments after semesters 1 and 2.Merit-based
2. BITS Pilani Merit in BITSATOff of 75, 50 or 25 % as per your BITSAT score.Merit-based
3. Master Research Teaching Scholarship offered by Khalifa University (MRTS)-Full coverage of tuition fees-Medical insurance-A monthly stipend of 4000 AED-Flight cost assistanceMerit-based
4. Zayed University Undergraduate ScholarshipIt covers 50% of scholarships for students who have scored above 90% in their final school exam.Merit-based
5.  SPJ Global Postgraduate scholarshipIt covers 100% of tuition fees for students who meet 4 out of 6 criteria and have a CGPA of 3.5 and above.Merit-based

How to Reduce the Cost of Living in Dubai? 

While Dubai offers a world-class educational experience, the cost of living can pose a challenge for Indian students. However, these costs can be mitigated through strategic planning and mindful financial management.

Here are some recommendations to lessen the cost of living in Dubai:

  • Prioritise Self-Prepared Meals: Cooking meals at home rather than relying on frequent restaurant dining can lead to significant cost savings.
  • Embrace Bulk Purchases and Value Seekers: Purchasing groceries in bulk quantities, whenever practical, and taking advantage of promotional offers can contribute to reduced grocery expenditures.
  • Utilise Public Transportation Infrastructure: Leveraging Dubai’s efficient public transportation network offers a cost-effective alternative to taxis or private vehicle rentals.
  • Capitalise on Student Discounts: Explore and utilise student discount programs for entertainment and travel opportunities to maximise affordability.
  • Consider Shared Accommodations: Sharing living arrangements with other students presents a viable option to minimise rental expenses.
  • Explore Part-time Work Opportunities: Securing part-time employment, subject to regulations, can provide a means to generate additional income.
  • Maximise University Resources: To optimise value, use your university’s complementary resources, such as libraries and sports facilities.
  • Exercise Financial Prudence: Avoid unnecessary expenditures on non-essential items such as luxury clothing or electronics.

By following these recommendations, Indian students can effectively navigate the cost of living in Dubai, ensuring a financially responsible and enriching educational experience.

Cost of living in Dubai vs. India

Moving to Dubai from India can significantly change culture, lifestyle, and cost of living. Dubai has a reputation for being an expensive country but has one of the highest salaries in the world. At the same time, India is known for its relatively affordable living costs. 

This difference is primarily due to various factors, such as currency exchange rates, average salaries, and the cost of goods and services

Understanding these variations can help you plan your finances better and make an informed decision before moving to Dubai.

Here is a table that compares the monthly cost of living in Dubai and India.

ParametersCosts of living in Dubai Costs of living in India
Average Cost Of Living (without rent)INR 93K (AED 4100)INR 28K
Average Transportation Cost (Monthly Pass)INR 6,800 (AED 300)INR 1000K
Average Basic Utility CostINR 17,000 (AED 766)INR 3500
Mobile Phone Monthly Plan CostsINR 5,000 (AED 221)INR 315
Internet Plan CostsINR 8,000 (AED 352)INR 700
Average Food CostINR 34K (AED 1500)INR 3000-5000
Healthcare costsINR 10K (AED 458)INR 500-1000
Average Rent In Dubai City CentreINR 1.8L (AED 7900)INR 17K
Average Tuition FeesINR 4 to 12L (AED)  (AED 35K to 1.7L)INR 1L to 8L

Summing Up 

Dubai’s dynamic academic environment and thriving student life present a compelling proposition for international students seeking a world-class education. While strategic financial planning is essential to navigating the cost of living in Dubai, it offers many benefits for those seeking an exceptional educational experience.

LeapScholar Dubai is dedicated to empowering international students throughout their educational journey. We provide comprehensive guidance and support services, encompassing everything from navigating the application process to securing visas.

And if you’re considering other options like the UK, USA and Australia, we’ve got you covered, too. Schedule a free consultation with our experts today for personalised guidance and advice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. What are the top universities in Dubai where Indian students can pursue higher education?

    A. Some of the top universities in Dubai where Indian students can pursue higher education are:
    – University of Dubai
    -Zayed University
    -Middlesex University
    -Al Ghurarir University

  • Q. How can Indian students cut down the cost of living in Dubai?

    A.  Indian students in Dubai can reduce their living expenses by opting for shared apartments and student residences rather than renting a private apartment. They can also take advantage of discounts on transportation and groceries and cook meals at home instead of eating out. Additionally, they can apply for scholarships and part-time jobs to support their finances. Finally, creating and sticking to a budget is essential to ensure they spend their money wisely.

  • Q. Do the Dubai Universities offer scholarships to International students?

    A. Yes, the Dubai Universities offer scholarships to international students. Some popular scholarships are the SPJ Global Postgraduate Scholarship, Outstanding Academic Excellence Scholarships by the Univeristy of Wollongong (UG)and BITS Pilani Merit in BITSAT. These scholarships are designed to support outstanding students worldwide in pursuing their academic goals in Dubai. Each scholarship has its eligibility criteria and application process, so students should check the websites for more information.

  • Q. What are some of the most popular courses in Dubai?

    A. Dubai offers a wide range of courses across various fields, with some of the most popular ones being 
    Business
    -Engineering
    -Architecture
    -Hospitality
    -Medicine
    The universities and colleges in Dubai provide excellent academic facilities and research opportunities to enhance the learning experience.

  • Q. Is Dubai expensive for Indian students?

    A. The cost of living in Dubai may be higher than in India, but it is relatively affordable compared to other popular study destinations like the UK and the USA. Tuition fees and living expenses may vary depending on the course, location, and lifestyle. However, various scholarships and financial aid options are available for international students, including Indian students, to reduce the financial burden. Dubai also offers one of the highest and most competitive salaries globally.

  • Q. What is the average cost of living in Dubai for Indian students?

    A: The average cost of living in Dubai for Indian students may vary depending on lifestyle and location. According to data sourced by Numbeo, the average cost of living in Dubai, including transportation, basic utilities, food, and healthcare, is around INR 93K per month. However, the costs may vary based on individual preferences and choices.

  • Q. What is the cost of living in Dubai for a single person?

    A. The cost of living in Dubai for a single person may range from INR 93,000 to INR 2.5 lakhs per month, depending on the lifestyle, location, and accommodation choices. The expenses include rent, transportation, food, utilities, and entertainment. However, it is important to note that the costs may vary based on individual preferences and choices.

  • Q. Is living in Dubai cheaper than India?

    A. The cost of living in Dubai may be higher than in India, but it is relatively affordable compared to other popular study and work destinations. The living expenses, including food, accommodation, transportation, and healthcare, may be higher in Dubai than in India. However, Dubai’s salaries and employment opportunities are also comparatively higher, making it a lucrative destination for many.

  • Q. How much is the rent in Dubai per month?

    A. The average rent in Dubai per month varies depending on the location. If you are looking for a place in the city centre, it can range from INR 60K to 170K. On-campus rent is more affordable at around INR 68K per month. It’s always best to research the specific area you’re interested in to understand the rental costs better.

  • Q. Is Dubai a good option for Indian students to study?

    A. Yes, Dubai is a great option for Indian students to study. The cost of living and studying in Dubai is relatively affordable compared to countries like the UK and the USA. Dubai also has several top-ranked universities, both local and international, offering a high standard of education. Dubai’s cosmopolitan environment, safe and secure atmosphere, and lucrative career prospects make it an attractive destination for international students.

  • Q. What is the average annual salary in Dubai?

    A. Dubai’s average annual salary is around INR 50L-60L. Dubai’s booming economy and major business centre status translate to ample job opportunities for graduates, particularly in business, finance, tourism, and engineering. Graduates can enjoy a high return on investment as their salaries are among the highest in the world.


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Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

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