“Financing Study Abroad the Smart Way”
by Julia Dunn via “ULoop”
Do you flip for France? Are you sold on the idea of an Australian outback adventure? Want to float down the Italian canals reading ancient literature, but have no clue how you’ll afford it?
If you’re a wanderlust soul with a wallet restriction who’s interested in earning university credits while experiencing a foreign country, don’t push a study abroad opportunity out of your prospects because you think you won’t be able to swing it financially. There are resources and tricks available to you as a college student that you may not even know about, many of which will guide you through financing study abroad!
Universities know that college students can’t afford to pay for an entire study abroad trip on their own, on top of tuition and the student fees they pay just to attend college; thus, they offer certain types of financial aid to students looking to travel in their undergraduate careers. Beyond that, the elements of a study abroad trip can be modified in a cost-efficient way to suit your budget if financial aid alone doesn’t cover all of what you need money-wise.
According to a survey conducted by Knox College Associate Professor of Modern Languages Robin Ragan, cost is the number one reason students hesitate to pursue a trip abroad.
Robin concluded that “A lot of times [not being able to afford it] is an assumption that students make up front, but they don’t really have numbers at their side to prove they can’t afford it … Our challenge is getting to students who assume they can’t study abroad because of the cost before they even attend the info sessions.”
It doesn’t hurt to gather some information and learn about what’s out there; if you don’t, you could be missing out on an insanely awesome trip. Here’s how to make study abroad fit in your wallet.
1. Contact your university’s study abroad program for details on financial aid packages and how to apply for them.
The best way to obtain accurate information about study abroad and financial aid at your school is to directly contact the department, either through phone, email, or literally walking through their door to pick up a study abroad financing pamphlet. The staff at your university’s study abroad department has worked with tons of students to create an affordable study abroad plan that works for them—they want to help you go abroad just as badly as you want to go yourself!
See if your school offers study-abroad information sessions or events that you can attend for more information on financial aid loans and other “free money” opportunities. These may be useful to you when designing a financial plan-of-attack.
2. Be strategic when choosing a study abroad location.
The cost of living is different country to country. It’s going to wind up being more expensive to study abroad in Spain than it would be in Senegal, and study abroad financial advisers can help you compare the cost of living in certain countries with others. Investigate various housing options and their costs, along with that of transportation and other logistical elements that can add unexpected costs to your travel bill if you don’t address them before you leave for your trip.
Make sure you have lodging, food, and a means of getting around town factored into your budget, and put in the effort to research cost-efficient options for these matters.
Don’t know where to go? Click here to explore possible study abroad programs and locations organized in Uloop’s Study Abroad search.
3. Shorten your trip to 2-4 weeks.
When college students envision a study abroad trip, most think of spending months and months on end (even an entire semester or quarter) traversing hidden cities of Peru or exploring the Great Barrier Reef for an entire season. If money is an issue for you,consider only going abroad for a couple of weeks.
You’ll receive virtually the same immersive experience as someone going abroad for a longer time period, but you won’t have to pay for all that extra time. Plan out what you’ll do each day to maximize your time abroad, and you’ll be able to do most everything you want to do in just a few weeks! . . . .