Can I afford to study abroad?

College Experience

Our counselors answered:

Can I afford to study abroad?

Dawn Smith

Can I afford to study abroad?

Financially speaking, the costs can vary greatly depending on your home school, where you study abroad, and the type of program in which you enroll. Just like a pricey college education, you may find that an expensive program is worth the bill.

The cost of studying abroad will largely depend on where you go. Places with a lower cost of living and spots that are less popular tourist destinations are obviously going to be cheaper. Sites in some regions of Central and South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Western Asia often have low room and board costs. Tuition is also typically cheaper in locations that are less-commonly traveled. On the other hand, many regions of Western Europe, Australia, and East Asia are as expensive as—and occasionally more expensive than—schools in the US. The cost of living in England, for instance, is greater than in most of the world.

Robin Smith

Can I afford to study abroad?

Just as it does at home, your food budget abroad will vary depending on your eating habits. Some programs will have cheap dining hall options available and some won’t. Often, home-stay arrangements include meals, which is a cheaper than eating out. Grocery shopping will typically be the cheapest way to go. Aside from saving money, cooking your own food can enrich your cultural experiences as you learn to make local dishes with available ingredients.

Laura Smith

Can I afford to study abroad?

Never hesitate to ask for a student rate for housing, entertainment, or transportation. Trains and buses are a pretty cheap way to get around, and a lot of places around the world have decent railroad networks. Sometimes you can purchase a pass, such as Eurorail, for a one-time fee that will afford you unlimited travel for a set amount of time within a certain region.

If you happen to be in Europe, there are a bunch of budget airlines (including Ryanair and easyJet) that offer great deals for travel. Hostels can be a cheap and fun housing option, and there are many websites that coordinate hostel stays around the world, some specifically for students and at discounted rates. And for the adventurous, couchsurfing.com offers a free alternative: a network of thousands of people around the world willing to host strangers in their homes. It sounds kind of sketchy, but it works for a lot of people.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Can I afford to study abroad?

While it seems like the cost of studying abroad might be overwhelming, it often is no more than the cost of attending a student's own college locally. The costs of the study abroad programs are widely publicized on the Internet, so a student can plan for those costs way ahead of time. Many colleges have affiliate programs overseas, and the student will pay tuition to his or her college rather than directly to that program. The most expensive part of studying abroad is likely to be out-of-pocket expenses and the cost of travel to and from the particular country. Students should talk to parents of the sponsoring school to understand those costs beforehand. Also, the student should be aware that the costs of attending in some countries (e.g., Western Europe) far exceeds to the costs in more remote locations.

Tyler Burton
President Burton College Tours

Take your aid package with you

Most colleges allow you to take your financial aid package with you on your semester or year abroad. Begin at the study abroad office on campus and follow up with the financial aid office to ensure that your aid will accompany you over seas. Beware of hidden costs. Are there extra program tickets? How will you cover your room and board if there is no formal dorm program? How will your aid interface with your living expenses. Some programs may not qualify. Be sure to investigate in advance and you will have a wonderful experience. Remember to consider the exchange rate of the country that you will be visiting. How much will the average ham sandwich cost you for lunch in your chosen country?

Helen Cella

Can I afford to study abroad?

It usually doesn't cost anymore than attending the college

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Can I afford to study abroad?

If you are receiving financial aid -- you can, in most instances, carry that over to your semester or year abroad. It is critical that you coordinate your efforts with the financial aid office and the study abroad program. In some respects -- I think that college students today need to ask themselves, "can I afford NOT to study abroad?" In other words -- because we live in an ever-shrinking world where cultural literacy and an a global perspective are paramount to becoming productive and successful people -- going abroad for a semester, a year, a summer or even just jan term should be considered an essential part of becoming a knowledgeable 21st century citizen.

Nicholas Umphrey

$tudying abroad?

In most cases, the cost of attending a college abroad for a semester is similar to your host college. The difference is the travel expense. In other words, because your college and the international college have an agreement, tuition is often the same or similar for that semester of year.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Study Abroad

Start at your school's study abroad office. Many colleges and universities encourage study abroad and if you make the arrangements through your school, there is a good chance that your financial aid package will be able to be utilized. Be proactive and research the opportunities early in your Sophomore year so that you are in time for deadlines. A few schools even offer grants to help cover the travel costs but you have to be there early to apply!

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

Studying abroad

Most institutions make studying abroad possible through partial scholarships, but usually the student will need to add something to the opportunity. If you prepare early by deciding where and when you want to study abroad, you can prepare for the trip by saving the difference from the schools assistance and your personal contribution. Remember family and friends are usually more than willing to assist you with making your educational experience as fulfilling as possible. Every $5 really counts.