Affording Study Abroad Part Two


October 29, 2021

The Box

“The box” is what you’re used to, and conventional thinking applies. It’s useful at times. But when it comes to affording study abroad, you also need to think outside it. Here are a few guidelines and suggestions as you rapidly approach Study Abroad Financing Expert Level:

  • JUST THE FACTS. Work with your home school financial aid office and understand how they work with provider-program study abroad financials. Every school is different and you’ll want to make your knowledge base as specific as possible.
  • WHEREVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE. Some places are less expensive than others – it’s a fact. Familiarize yourself with your host city/country with some careful online research and figure out what you might expect in terms of financial obligations. A small town is going to be less expensive than a big city, in general. Living on campus and avoiding commuting expenses is another consideration. But then again a city may offer subsidized cultural programs you may not find in a smaller town. Weigh it all out and don’t forget about the possibility of student discounts.
  • READ THE FINE PRINT. Really look at what’s included and what’s NOT included. Does housing include a meal plan? If not, where are the cheapest places to eat/what kinds of foods do you like to prepare? All these preferences can factor in and make a big difference in variable spending.
  • TAKE SOME TIME AHEAD. Since study abroad takes a while to plan for, use the time wisely and keep your study abroad experience at the forefront of your mind. If your family asks you, what would you like for a birthday or holiday gift, why not ask for funds toward your program? If your family doesn’t like giving money (some don’t), why not ask for a useful item to help you along on your journey, such as an internal frame backpack (one less thing to have to buy in your supply list)? Think creatively. Even a small amount of dollars saved on a new journal can add up.
  • HOST A FUNDRAISER. Invite contributors committed to international experience and those you know who support your dream! Give solid rationales for what the experience means to you. Donate any excess funds to others seeking to expand their lives! Remember, in part one we noted that this is an investment – a deeply personal one – in your future! Contributors often jump at the opportunity to see someone achieve their dreams.
  • GAINFUL EMPLOY. A side job is often a good way to put additional funds away. Working is generally not permitted while abroad, although there are occasional exceptions (speak to your program advisor about this). As much as you can afford to save is that much more you’ll have to spend at a later date.
  • BE YOU. Market your special talents. Are you a writer? Can you photograph a wedding tenderly and beautifully? If you use a product and tell all your friends on social media, will your friends buy that product? Maximize your unique contributions to bring in some extra cash.
  • DO YOU REALLY NEED THAT? Maybe all your stuff is threatening to overtake your bedroom. You know what? Someone might be looking for just that thing. Sell on resale sites online and squirrel away the funds. You’ll be lighter, freer, and that much more peripatetic!
  • Most importantly ….

    This is extremely difficult to do, but can be done with a little planning and practice. Start now. Watch how your spending goes. Once you’re abroad you’ll be a pro at deciding whether a $6 coffee is worth it … or if you’d rather have that used book for your lit class, and pick a special flower on the walk back to campus instead.
  • Enroll in adequate credits overseas, commit to saving as much money as you can for your next adventure, and check out: AFFORDING STUDY ABROAD PART ONE.