Expenses You Occur While Studying Abroad

Expenses You Will Incur While Studying Abroad -1

Set Costs


Guess what, you have to pay rent whether you’re in a different country or not. The amount will depend on where you decide to go. Just like where you live in now, urban is more expensive than rural.

When I went to Buenos Aires I lived in two different places. For the first two months I lived with a host family with two other students and for the last four months I lived in an apartment with two different students. In both cases, the housing was set up through my host school.

If you stick with us and listen to the podcasts, we will discuss hostels, Airbnbs, and host families — so you can bounce around a lot more.


If you are a student in the U.S. and you’re not going to Canada or Mexico you will be flying.* Your price will depend mostly on where you go and when you book your flight. Here is a list of roundtrip prices I looked up five minutes ago to give you a ballpark idea.

Chicago to London — $981
Los Angeles to Sydney — $1,210
New York to Buenos Aires — $1,010

I know most schools aren’t located in these cities so if you need a connecting flight add on an additional $500.

You should try and shoot for $1,500 dollar range for your flight. Mine was about $2,000 and I went from Madison to Buenos Aires. I connected in Dallas.

If you are at least six months out from your departure date try and start using a credit card that gives you miles. Put as much as you can on this; your tuition and rent, gas, food… everything. Just pay the entire bill on time every month. You won’t get interest and your credit score will increase.

A few months ago I took a ski trip with my friends and the flight was free. It’s legit.

*You would still be probably fly if you were going to Canada or Mexico.


Just like with housing you have to pay it either way. For those of you who are at private or out-of-state schools you can actually save money. If you are at an in-state public school (which is most of you) your tuition should be close to what you’re paying now.

Discretionary Costs


“You don’t need a sliver fork to eat good food.” — Paul Pruddhome

You could consider me a bit of a foodie. I love watching shows like ‘I’ll have what Phil’s Having’ on PBS or one of the many Netflix documentaries on the subject.

As far cost goes you should expect to spend a little bit more than you would at home.


Because when you are abroad you meet new people and are usually in a vibrant culture that you’ll want to take advantage of. This means going out more. You can still go grocery shopping, but there is no substitute for getting to know a group of people over a few bottles of wine and great tasting food.

In some situations, you’ll save money. For example, when I first lived with my host family they would take care of breakfast every morning. Other times you will spend more, like when you’re staying in a hostel and they don’t have a kitchen. Though a lot of hostels provide breakfast which usually consists of toast or cereal, but don’t expect an omelette station.

Food is one of the many ancillary benefits of studying abroad. Probably my favorite.

Tune into the podcasts to hear our guests favorite meals from around the world.


Planes, trains, and automobiles.

Out of all the expenditures on your trip this will be the most discretionary. Most people study abroad through programs and have most of their trips bought and paid for. Even on top of that, students usually venture somewhere new most weekends.

I studied abroad independently and was able to plan all of the excursions on my own schedule. Here were some of my activities — the links are where I stayed:

Whitewater rafting and zip lining
Skiing in Patagonia
Iguzau Falls (one of the most mesmerizing experiences of my life)
Surfing in Brazil (where I had one of the best meals I had in my life)

I know I just said ‘my life’ twice in a row, but that is how important and memorable these experiences were for me. If anywhere, this is where I urge you to splurge a little.

However going for the excursions and memories is not the main point of this blog. There are many other travel websites that you can reference for the fun stuff. You can just as easily go on mini adventures without spending a lot in and around the city you’re staying in.


Souvenirs are completely discretionary. I regret not bringing back more from my trip than I did… especially after seeing Gabe from The Office’s set up. I wish I would have brought back something comparable.

Gifts are another knick knack that are nice to bring home. We have discussed the irony of buying things for you parents while in college, but no matter what they say, they’ll be grateful. Siblings, too.

Books should be similar to what you are paying now, and insurance is actually cheaper.

Please leave a response

* Denotes Required Field

Published: March 28, 2018