Studying abroad doesn't have to be expensive! There are various ways in which you can make this experience as affordable as it is enjoyable.
Before You Go Abroad
Consider the program duration
Short-term or summer programs are almost always cheaper on the whole than semester programs, but semester programs may provide more value per dollar spent, since you usually earn two to three times as much credit for a semester program as a summer program.
Compare exchange rates
Compare the exchange rates of currencies in several countries to get the best deal on the dollar. You may find that you get more for your money in some countries than in others.
Think about program type
Exchange programs are usually cheaper than affiliate programs (CIEE, AIFS, etc) if you are an in-state student. However, if you are an out-of-state student, you may find that affiliate programs are not necessarily more expensive.
Look into financial aid and scholarships that may be available to you
The key to getting your hands on financial aid or scholarship money is to start early and plan ahead. There is information on this website to help you find additional funds. Visit the Financial Aid and Scholarships page to get more information about all of these options.
Look carefully at your lifestyle and budget right now
Are there ways you could save money? Do you currently have a job that would allow you to save additional money towards a study abroad experience? If you don't have a job currently, would you consider getting one? Many students are able to save substantial funds toward their study abroad experience just by working part-time and budgeting carefully.
Consider the program location
Program costs can vary widely by program location. For example, many large cities in Europe have high costs of living, while cities of comparable size in Latin America or Africa usually have much lower costs of living. Consider a program in a non-traditional location - you will usually save money! Also, you may find that a program in a small town or city, regardless of the country, provides better value than a program in a large city.
While You Are Abroad
Live like a local
Observe how people in your host country or city live, where they eat, where they shop, etc. If you live like a local rather than as a tourist, you are likely to save money.
Use student discounts
Ask other students and the International Office at your host institution what kinds of discounts are out there for students. For example, many museums in Europe have one day per week when students have to pay only the student rate rather than full price. By keeping your ear to the ground and looking for students discounts wherever they may be, you can save substantial money over the course of your semester. You can also buy an ISIC card, which has lots of discounts for students.
Personal travel (during the course of a study abroad program or before/after the program starts/ends) can cost students a lot. If you are trying to save money, you might want to consider limiting your personal travel to the country in which you are studying (or a couple of nearby cities) rather than traveling to large numbers of neighboring countries. Many students reach the end of their study abroad program and realize that, while they have seen most of the European continent, they have not fully explored their own host city and country. You can save a lot of money by spending your "personal travel" money getting to know the area where you are staying.
Budget your funds carefully
If you are studying abroad on limited funds, make a weekly or monthly budget and stick to it! Here is a list that may help you plan your expenses while abroad.
Office of International Affairs | International Cultural Center | Texas Tech University
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