Wonderful Romania – the best tight-budget alternative for studying in Europe.

You decided that Romania is your choice for studying abroad. You have not yet chosen a university, and a university city respectively, but you know what to generally expect. If you don’t know, you can check our article on Studying in Romania.
Let’s take the 5 most popular cities where you may attend University in Romania: Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Timisoara and Constanta.

Bucharest

Bucharest’s city center

Bucharest is the capital city of Romania and home to around 2 million people, and a good percentage of them are foreigners or students from other cities in Romania. You make think this would be the most expensive city to live in here, but you will be surprised. You will soon find out who wins this title.
There are many University choices in Bucharest, but here are 3 popular examples:

The University of Bucharest (UniBuc) is a state university and one of the most renowned higher education institutions in Romania. It was founded in 1864 and is the second modern university in Romania, after the University of Iasi. Many alumni of the University have become important voices and personalities: professors and researchers at other universities in the world, members of the Romanian Academy, writers, politicians, diplomats, and even Presidents.
The University of Bucharest offers numerous study programs, at all levels: 22 part-time programs, over 75 full-time programs, 12 programs in the form of distance learning, over 120 master’s programs, over 50 doctoral programs, postdoctoral programs, professional retraining and advanced training programs.

Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies (ASE – Academia de Studii Economice) is a public higher education institution in Bucharest, Romania, and was founded in 1913. It is the most important higher education institution with an economic profile in Romania. The ASE headquarters is located in the Palace of the Commercial Academy, located in the Roman Square.
ASE ranks 1st nationally in the fields of Economics and Econometrics, Business and Management, and Administration and Social Policies in the QS World University Rankings 2017. In the field of Economics and Econometrics ASE is in the top 301-350 in the world.

Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy was named after the doctor Carol Davila, who fundamentally contributed to the organization of medical education in Romania. Its Faculty of Pharmacy is the place where insulin was first isolated by Nicolae Paulescu in 1921, leading to a controversy in the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Due to the diversity of fields of academic training, the teaching activity takes place in 19 distinct locations with 286 laboratories for undergraduate studies, 187 laboratories for research and master’s activities, and the educational process takes place in amphitheaters with 7900 seats, 1941 places in classrooms and 4409 places in seminar rooms.

Costs of living while studying in Bucharest

First and foremost, rent. Depending on your preferences, you can either live in a private dormitory or rent an apartment.
For the private dorm we have chosen as an example WESTGATE STUDIOS, a popular choice among many students who wish have a modern room with access to all kinds of facilities, while also experiencing the student life and student community that is brewed in there. The costs here vary between 180 euros (for a shared studio) up to 400 euros (for a whole suite). Even though the prices for dormitories may seem expensive, you should take into consideration the unique student experience you will have here, as well as the many libraries, study rooms, cafes and gyms in the building.

Renting an apartment is a much more complex process. You can find apartments for rent through agencies, as well as by contacting home owners online. You can either rent the whole apartment or share it with other students. Most 1-bedroom apartments are around 20 to 30 square meters and their prices start at 200 euros, depending on their location. 2-bedroom apartments (most common type) also vary in size – ranging from 30 to 70 square meters and they are priced accordingly, starting from 300 euros to even 1000 euros. 3-bedroom apartments are very popular among students who choose to share the house because the rent is split in three and you may end up paying the same amount as you would pay for 1-bedroom apartment, and you still have your own bedroom anyway and more fun. Their prices vary a lot, depending on the area. Most start from 350 euros, if you are lucky, and can go up to 1500 euros.

Utilities (around the same price regardless of city)

It is very important to know that utilities are not included in these prices. Moreover, utilities are not a fixed monthly cost, as they can fluctuate between cold months and hot ones. The term “utilities” incorporates various types of bills and memberships, which are not all paid at the same provider. This may give you a headache at first, but thanks to the online innovations you can easily pay everything from your smartphone. The average costs are:

Electricity – for a 2-bedroom apartment a monthly bill will be around 25 euros

Internet – Internet is extremely cheap in Romania. We are talking insanely cheap – a 1Gb monthly subscription of fiber optic internet with unlimited data for your home is around 10 euros.

TV – also, shockingly cheap – a monthly subscription is around 5 to 10 euros, depending on how many tv programs you want to have


Phone plan – again, depending on your needs, the average cost will vary between 3 euros up to 15 euros for unlimited data


Water bill – this is tough to address because the differences between locations may influence the price, but do expect a 20 to 30 euros bill on hot months, and prices up to 100 euros on cold months if your apartment does not have gas powered heating and you rely on the city’s heating system.

Natural Gas Heating – depending on how much you cook or choose to heat the apartment, the costs are between 10 euros and 100 euros.


Subway card – a monthly pass is 15 euros, but as a student you have 50% discount.


Bus card – a monthly pass for every line is 10 euros, but as a student you also have 50% discount.

Let’s do some quick math! On average, for a month of living in Bucharest as a student, you will need to pay for rent, utilities and transportation anywhere between:

If you choose to live alone: 650 to 750 euros
If you live in a shared house: around 300 euros

Before moving to the rent prices in the other cities, let’s have a look at other monthly necessities;

Food

Food in Romania is generally inexpensive. There are plenty of international supermarkets and hypermarkets, such as Kaufland, Lidl, Carrefour and Auchan. Moreover, there are many farmer’s markets that have fresh local produce. An average price for your monthly groceries will approximately 150 to 200 euros, if you cook at home and do not rely solely on take out.


A meal at the restaurant is still very affordable, and you can expect to pay from 5 euros to 20 euro in a fancy place.

The most popular dish? SHAWORMA! With its Turkish roots and Romanian touch, Shaworma in Romania covers every nutritional aspects: veggies, meat, sauces, fries, all wrapped around beautifully in a soft pita bread.


One more trick: pastry shops are absolutely everywhere and extremely delicious! Pretzels, donuts, croissants and even sandwiches are almost free: for only 25 eurocents you get your stomach full.

Entertainment

There are numerous fun places to go to and visit in all of Romania, but that is the story for another future article. Night life in Romania is wild. Bucharest is especially known for its clubs, parties, concerts, and night scene, where you may spend from nothing to infinite.


The other regions of Romania also have a lot of music and art festivals besides the clubs, and due to the country’s geographical location you can either explore the mountains or have a relaxing day at the beach.

You should expect to pay around 2 euros for a beer, 1 to 2 euros for a coffee, and in most clubs around 5 euros for a long drink.

Constanta

Constanta is one of the oldest certified cities on the Romanian territory. The first documentary attestation dates from 657 BC. when a Greek colony called Tomis was formed on the site of the present peninsula (and just below the waters of today, next to the Casino. The town became a city again after the construction of the Cernavoda-Constanta railway and the port, in 1865, for the export of Romanian grains. After the War of Independence (1877-1878), when Dobrogea became part of Romania, Constanta, the main port of the state, grew continuously, holding this role until today. Therefore, Constanta is now one of the biggest attractions of Romania during the summer season, as a sea-side resort at the Black Sea and the third biggest European port.

The Maritime University of Constanta is an accredited state higher education institution, with an educational offer oriented to the field of navy and navigation, corroborating related fields such as economic engineering, environmental engineering and electronic engineering. This university attracts a lot of young and brave future sailors. A decent percentage of its students are foreigners from different countries across the globe.

Ovidius University of Constanta is a state university in Constanta, Romania and was founded in 1990, becoming the largest European university on the Black Sea coast. Ovidius University is the successor of the first institution of higher education in Constanta, founded in 1961: The Pedagogical Institute of Constanta. In 1990 it became a multidisciplinary university, with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs, recognized by national and international accreditation institutions with a high degree of trust.

Rent in Constanta varies between 200 euros up to 1000 euros, depending on location, size and comfort.


The most expensive apartments are those located in the proximity of the campus or the beach.

Timisoara

Timisoara is an important industrial, commercial, medical, cultural and university center in Romania. The name of the locality comes from that of the Timis River, combined with the Hungarian noun vár, “fortress”, meaning the Timis Fortress. Located on the Bega river, the city is considered the capital of the historic Banat region.

Timisoara has a rich offer in terms of tourism and leisure activities, being constantly at the top of destinations chosen by foreign tourists and also among the most visited cities in Romania. The American publication U.S. News included the city in a top 5 of European city-break destinations, along with Manchester, Turin, Geneva and Valletta, and the German weekly Stern considers it “a copy of Vienna, with great facades from the Austrian Empire”.

The West University of Timisoara (UVT) is the main higher education institution and research center in western Romania and is classified by the Ministry of Education as a university of education and scientific research. It comprises 11 faculties, as well as a teacher training program. The faculties that operate within UVT offer nationally accredited study programs at bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level in the following fields: Arts and Design, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Law, Economics and Business Administration, Physical education and sport, Physics, Languages, History and Theology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Music and Theater; Sociology and Psychology, Political Science, Philosophy and Communication Sciences.

Rent in Timisoara is roughly the same as the other cities, ranging between 200 to 1000 euros.

Iasi

Palace of Culture, Iasi

Iasi was the capital of Moldavia between 1564-1859, one of the two capitals of the United Principalities between 1859 and 1862, and the capital of the Kingdom of Romania between 1916 and 1918 (during the First World War, when Bucharest was under German occupation).


The population of Iasi has a constant growth from year to year due to economic and financial opportunities. According to Eurostat, the Iasi metropolitan area is the second largest in Romania after Bucharest.


Another advantage of living here is the closeness to Romania’s neighboring countries, Ukraine and The Republic of Moldova.

Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi (UAIC), is a state university in Iasi and one of the most prestigious higher education institutions in Romania. Founded in 1860, it is located in one of the historic districts of the city, Copou, and comprising 15 faculties and numerous research centers. The university’s tradition of making great achievements in education and science has gained recognition both nationally and internationally.

In 2011, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University was classified by the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sport and the Association of European Universities in the first category of universities of advanced research and education.

Rent in Iasi varies between 200 euros and 1000 euros per month.

Cluj-Napoca

With a history of over two millennia, the city is nicknamed “The Heart of Transylvania” or “The Treasure City”. Cluj is located in the north of the Transylvanian Depression, between the Apuseni Mountains and the Transylvanian Plain, on the valley of the Somesul Mic River. Due to the local geography, the city is highly developed.

Cluj is one of the most important academic, cultural, industrial and business centers in Romania. It hosts the headquarters of important national companies, such as Transilvania Bank, the pharmaceutical manufacturer Terapia, the cosmetics manufacturer Farmec, and Ursus Brewery. The academic environment includes the largest university in the country, Babes-Bolyai University, but also the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca and Sapientia University, the largest university with teaching in Hungarian in Romania.

Babes-Bolyai University (UBB) is one of the most prestigious state higher education institutions in Romania. UBB has the longest academic tradition among Romanian universities, founded in 1581. It is also the largest university in the country, with approximately 45,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students, and an academic community of almost 50,000 people. Babes-Bolyai occupies the first position in the Metaranking of Romanian Universities from 2016 to 2019, combining all major university classifications, such as QS, THE, ARWU. The university offers study programs in Romanian, Hungarian, German, English and French, as well as some programs in Italian, Chinese, Japanese. The university was named in honor of two prominent scientists from Transylvania, the microbiologist Victor Babes and the Hungarian mathematician Janos Bolyai. UBB is a member of the Universitaria consortium, which brings together the 5 elite universities of Romania.

Time for the big surprise! Due to the rising in foreign investments, corporations and IT start-ups, rent prices have sky rocketed. A 11 square meter studio is available starting from 200 euros per month, which is ridiculously expensive for Romania’s standards. A 2-bedroom apartment ranges between 350 euros and 1000 euros, while 3 or more-bedroom apartments are exponentially higher in price.

ADVICE! Do not start looking for rent in Cluj-Napoca during the summer season! Cluj is home to international popular festivals, such as Untold and Electric Castle. In the last few years, people rented an apartment for a 3-nights stay with one year in advance and with more than 1000 euro in total.

Conclusion

While the utilities and groceries prices are pretty much the same everywhere in Romania, the rent and the environment are the key factors when choosing a university city. Where would you like to stay in Romania? The northern mountainous region, the sea-side, or in the hustle and bustle of the capital city, Bucharest?

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