After you’ve decided that studying abroad in college is right for you, and after you choose a time of year to study abroad, the question arises: “How am I going to pay for it all?” While some programs offer participants a monthly stipend, not all have this luxury. Even if your study abroad program does provide a stipend, it’s still essential to sock away money before taking off on the plane that will take you to your destination.
Get a Summer Job…and a Campus Job
Working the summer before you go is an excellent way to earn some money for your travels. Take on extra hours if you have the time; another fifty dollars for a shift can go a long way toward day-to-day expenses.
At school, if you are not already on work-study, find a way to earn some extra money. Maybe a professor or staff member needs a babysitter on Wednesday evenings, or the club hockey team needs an extra ref for the game on Saturday.
Set Aside a Few Dollars Each Week
If you do not have a savings account already, get one. A checking account with a debit card is vital: you will be able to withdraw money from ATMs overseas (though there is almost always a nominal fee attached). Take what you can spare from your paychecks and set it aside so that you’re not tempted to access it until you go abroad..
Be sure to save your change: roll quarters, nickels, dimes, and even pennies and add them to your bank deposit any time you go. The whole idea of “a drop in the bucket” is true, especially because overseas, that one drop may end up paying for your groceries or contributing to an all-important train ticket.
Take Advantage of Being a Student
An International Student ID Card (ISIC) is a useful investment, as it identifies you as a student and is the key to receiving discounts on transportation, museums, and so forth. See STA Travel’s website for more details.
Many universities overseas will issue all students, including international students only studying there for a semester, a university ID card; this will also allow for discounts. For example, many places in Europe will issue a discount for anyone with a student ID from a university in the European Union.
Other Useful Financial Information for Studying Abroad
Many colleges and universities state that a student’s financial aid package extends to the semester or year abroad, especially if the program is directly through or approved by the university. They do not usually cover expenses such as plane tickets, though it is possible for students to apply for scholarships. Check with your school to see if it offers any kind of study abroad scholarship, and look at outside sources such as Scholarships.com or Fastweb.com to find additional funding that may defray any additional costs.
If you want to study abroad, start saving now and you’ll be able to live overseas without worrying too much about finances, and you’ll probably even be able to afford to travel.