Surrounded by more famous neighbors, Guyana is often forgotten in South America itineraries and, as such, is little known to tourists. This makes it an incredible place to study abroad: staying long-term means you will get to immerse yourself in this little-known hub of Caribbean culture in a way few tourists can. If you love adventure, untouched nature, and stunning wildlife, studying abroad in Guyana may be the perfect choice for you.
As a general rule, Guyana is quite expensive to travel in but cheap to live in. As a long-term visitor, your costs will likely be low, as long as you are happy to live and study like a local.
To start with tuition fees, these vary depending on the institution: international students at the University of Guyana (the largest in the country) pay $4,720 a year.
You will most likely need to arrange your own student accommodation (see Housing), so you will be able to save money on food by shopping for ingredients in local markets and cooking for yourself. That said, here is a breakdown of basic food prices (all prices in US$):
- Meal (rice, chicken, and vegetables) in a small eatery: $2-5
- Meal in a mid-range restaurant: $15-20
- Local beer: $1-2
- Local rum (some of the world’s best!): $1-5
Your biggest expenses will probably stem from tourism, as you may want to travel around the country (or continent) during your time studying in Guyana. You can, however, make some savings by packing a hammock and sticking to public transport. Typically a trip will cost you $200-$400 depending on the destination, how long you plan to stay, and what activities you want to do.
You will need a student visa to study in Guyana. The main thing to note is that your chosen institution has to provide a letter of acceptance directly to the Ministry of Home Affairs before your arrival. Make sure you remain in touch with your institution to keep track of this; they will probably also be happy to help you through the other aspects of the Visa process.
On your end, the first thing you will need to do is to identify your local consulate; the government of Guyana has a website to help you locate the one nearest to you. All applicants will need to submit a completed application form to their consulate and pay a Visa fee of $140. This covers a three-year student Visa; if your course is longer, you will have to renew your Visa after three years and pay another $140.
Other specifics may vary depending on where you live: it is a good idea to contact your local consulate at the start of the process and ask them to clearly outline all requirements.
Most universities offer secure and comfortable student accommodation, with either individual or shared rooms, which include all utilities. Student housing is usually self-catered, meaning you will have to shop and cook your own meals, and facilities are communal.
Places in student accommodation are limited, but priority is given to students who do not live close to campus -- as a foreign student, that’s you. Prices vary, but are generally affordable: monthly rent for foreign students at the University of Guyana is $120 for a single bedroom.
If you prefer to live alone, or if you are not able to get student accommodation on your chosen program, there are a few options. There are Airbnb options in the capital city of Georgetown, and you may be able to negotiate a good monthly deal with the landlord for a long-term stay. Alternatively, you can arrange (more expensive) short-term accommodation while you apartment hunt for something cheaper and more permanent: use local newspapers or ask around. Your university will also probably be happy to help you in your search.
You could also look for other international students or long-term visitors online, either before you go or while you are there, who would be happy to share an apartment with you.
Unlike most of South America, Guyana’s official language is English -- although locals speak an English-based creole. This is due to Guyana’s British colonial past, which is also why it is culturally considered a Caribbean country rather than a South American one. It is part of what is known as ‘The Guianas’, along with French Guiana, Suriname, and part of Venezuela: if you get a chance, these are also worth a visit.
As a student, you will probably be based in Georgetown. Like the rest of the country, it is not inherently touristy: don’t expect world-class museums or iconic landmarks. However, the charm of Georgetown is in its easy, laid-back day-to-day life, where you can enjoy seaside evening walks, beautiful colonial architecture, and great Caribbean food.
Outside of Georgetown, Guyana is one of the world’s most exciting -- and least traveled -- natural wonders. Approximately 95% of the country’s landmass is largely unpopulated except for small villages, meaning vast expanses of lush tropical rainforest as well as marshes, mountains, and savannah. Highlights include Kaieteur Falls, the world’s largest single drop waterfall, and the canopy walkway over Iwokrama Forest, one of only four remaining pristine tropical rainforests in the world.