The number one obstacle for study abroad is being able to afford it. Many students think it’s impossible, and don’t even try. I recently presented on How to Pay for Study Abroad at a CollegeWeekLive event on How to Pay for College. If you are a student or a parent of a student wanting to learn more about how you can afford Study Abroad, please read on and watch this presentation! It’s more affordable than you think!
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Before you go:
- Do your research and apply for scholarships!
There are many scholarships available for study abroad, here are a few places to look:
- Institute for International Education: StudyAbroadFunding.org
- FEA Scholarships: FundforEducationAbroad.com
Remember, apply early. Many deadlines are in the Fall of the prior academic year. Ask your school and your program abroad about specific scholarships, these may only be a few hundred dollars, but are worth applying for!
- Talk to your financial aid and study abroad advisor about what current aid will apply to your study abroad.
Most federal financial aid will apply for approved for-credit study abroad programs. Aid and grants from your state or home institution may or may not apply. Many schools charge “home-school tuition” which means you pay the same whether you study on campus or abroad. You need to talk to your financial aid and study abroad advisor ASAP!
- Consider location.
Be mindful of where you’re choosing to study abroad. If you want a more affordable semester, choose a country with a lower cost of living than the United States. Europe is expensive, there’s no way around that.
While you’re away:
- Stay with a Homestay, you’ll be well fed.
You’ll have the choice to stay in an apartment or with a host family. Although it may be scary, staying with a host family will not only help you improve your language skills and local cultural knowledge, but it will also provide you with good, local meals and laundry service. It may be a little more expensive up front, but you’ll save over the semester!
- Explore locally, and take advantage of free cultural events
Many students choose to travel every weekend on their semester abroad. I never know how they afford to do this. I think they may be missing out on some of the local treasures as well. If you want to study abroad on a “shoestring” then stay local on the weekends and ask your on-site director for suggestions on free cultural events like museums, parks and festivals.
Study abroad is a life-changing experience and well worth the money. It’s an investment in your life-long education and preparedness for an increasingly globalized world.