How Students Finance Study Abroad

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According to Forbes, the average cost of studying abroad was $17,785 per semester in 2014. Depending on where you go to school – whether in-state or out-of-state, private or public – studying abroad could actually save you money. For instance, if you went to Tulane University where the cost per semester is $31,555 (that’s right, per semester) you would be saving money. But we know that’s not the case. Statistically most students go to in-state, public schools where the price tag is right around $9,410 per year. That’s almost four times more expensive than studying abroad! For those who are curious, the average cost of private schools is $32,405 and $23,893 per year for out-of-state respectively.

To ask how students finance study abroad is like asking how students pay for college. There are thousands of articles, books, and videos on the subject. It is constantly being debated and talked about in the news right there with healthcare and gas prices. The good news is that if you do decide to study abroad there are scholarships and grants that are set aside specifically for you that would otherwise not be available. Here is a look at the four biggest ways students finance studying abroad:

Self-financing

71 percent of college students have jobs, with most working about 15 hours a week. Most likely you are either in the service industry (server/bartender), have an internship, or hold some kind of work study. There are obviously many other jobs undergrads hold, but those are the three main ones. It may seem like a drop in the bucket to the $17,785 price tag of a semester, but every little bit helps. Here is a little secret: You don’t have to stop working when you are abroad. Most students either don’t realize they have the option to work, or simply don’t want to, but it is certainly an option.

20 Jobs for College Students

  1. Resident Advisor (RA)
  2. Bartender
  3. Seasonal work
  4. Campus tour guide
  5. Nanny
  6. Event worker
  7. Receptionist
  8. Server
  9. Athletic assistant
  10. Delivery driver
  1. Data entry
  2. Fitness instructor
  3. Freelance writer / blogger
  4. Caretaker
  5. Library aid
  6. Teaching assistant (TA)
  7. IT support
  8. Lab assistant
  9. Research assistant
  10. Tutor

Jobs I had in college

Parental support

Not too long ago I had a conversation with a friend about exchanging Christmas gifts with his parents while in college, and how it really didn’t make sense. “No matter what I buy them, I am buying it with their money,” he’d say. “The same goes for birthdays.” This is true for 77 percent of families, so don’t feel like you’re alone. Don’t fret about asking your parents to help out. Once you decide to study abroad your parents will be just as excited as you are. This a good thing.

Scholarships and grants

Only 23 percent of students are aware of the scholarships and grants available specifically for students that want to study abroad. If you apply and you’re not a complete neanderthal, you will probably receive some kind of aid. Think of it this way, if only 23 percent of students are aware that these scholarships exist you have automatically eliminated 77 percent of your competition. It is one of those scenarios where simply showing up is enough. Hurry up and make a decision soon, though. The number of students studying abroad is gradually increasing.

How Your Peers Are Financing Study Abroad

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Financial aid

Why are you in school right now? Why are you paying all this money for tuition and going into debt? I’ll tell you why -it is an investment in your future, and more importantly, yourself. You are buying resources, experiences, and guidance. When I see a majority of students graduate without getting the experience of a semester abroad it makes me cringe. If you need additional financial aid to study abroad, by all means, take it. But don’t take my word for it. Ask around, and find others who have studied abroad. What was their experience like? If you find anyone who wasn’t happy with their experience or regretted going please ping me, I would love an introduction.

It doesn’t matter how you decide to finance your time abroad as long as you decide to actually go. I had a friend who would give plasma to pay the dues for his fraternity. The point is that many students have come before you who have had less money in the bank, been more in debt, and still not regretted going. It’s not a question of “how can I afford it?” It is a question of “how can I afford not to?”

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Study Abroad 201 paints a picture of the entire process. This is more than just another how-to-guide.

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