Studying abroad is undoubtedly an experience one will never forget. Especially as a college student, studying abroad can shape and influence their future. The idea of going to school in a beautiful, far-away country does sound magical, however, the thought of the included expenses can turn away many interested students.
Yes, studying abroad can be expensive, but there are certainly a large number of ways to finance your study abroad trip. So, if you’re looking for ways to afford to travel the world on a college student’s budget, here’s how you can pull it off.
Apply for scholarships and financial aid
There are plenty of scholarships and awards that you can get to support your study abroad trip. Many program providers offer merit-based scholarships, as does the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Also, if you are receiving financial aid at your school, there is a good chance that you’re eligible for international scholarships! Some programs also offer need-based scholarships, which can be similar to academic financial aid or, in some cases, can be similar to a work-study program. The key is looking into scholarships and financial aid early!
Choose a more affordable destination
You can save your wallet from having a huge dent in it if you aren’t too picky about where you want to study abroad. Countries in Western Europe tend to be on the more expensive side, as their exchange rates are not the best. For example, you’ll want to avoid England and Switzerland for their exchange rates, as well as their costs of living as it’s comparably high to the United States. If you choose to travel to a country with a better exchange rate, your money will certainly go further. Some more affordable countries include Peru, China, and Mexico!
Choose a cheaper study abroad program
There are several different program options, so as you start looking through them, consider the ones that are on the cheaper side. Avoid spending too much time looking at the programs with an expensive price tag and keep the cheaper options in mind. If you’re really interested in some low-cost study abroad programs, here a few you can look into. The Center for Study Abroad specializes in high quality, low-cost programs around the world. The Foundation for International Education has programs in places that are usually more expensive, however, they offer them with much more reasonable prices! The USAC (Universities Study Abroad Consortium) works with many American universities to offer affordable programs.
Fundraise, fundraise, fundraise!
Funding your study abroad trip isn’t always easy, but it’s something that needs to be done. But the great thing is… you can fundraise! You can create an online funding campaign – oftentimes, friends and family are happy to help you take advantage of the study abroad opportunity. Also, you can run for a cause! Take part in a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon, heck, even a marathon! Run for a cause and have people support you for each kilometer, mile, etc. Lastly, you can host a fundraising party. Tap into your supportive community – invite your friends, parents, family, coworkers, etc. You can theme your party around the place you will be studying, for entertainment and learning purposes! Discuss your plans and ideas and what you hope to gain from studying abroad. More times than not, your support system will happily support you financially.
Create a study abroad budget – and stick to it
It’s no secret that traveling is expensive, especially as a college student studying abroad. There are more costs than just your tuition and plane ticket. So, you need to create a budget! Decide before you go how much you’ll be spending on food, entertainment, shopping, souvenirs, etc. Once you’ve created your budget, the additional costs of studying abroad won’t seem so drastic, as you’ve already planned for them! Now, the hardest part of budgeting may be actually sticking to it. Remember, in order to travel smart, you need to budget smart. Don’t allow your incredible study abroad experience be burdened by financial worries!
Get a side hustle!
There are plenty of ways to make money part-time with a side hustle. Whether it be working on a schedule in a clothing store or delivering food (or people!) through apps like Uber or DoorDash. If you have a talent or a hobby you love doing, take advantage of that! Offer up your talents and services and you may find yourself bringing in the bucks. People love to support a side hustle! The great thing about a side hustle is, typically, you can create your own hours, therefore managing your own income.
By Gracie Dougherty