Studying abroad will enrich your life in countless ways, but how can you afford it? Don't let the cost of studying abroad deter you...there are plenty of resources available. Financial aid is available for most programs and if you are willing to put in a little effort, there are numerous study abroad scholarships to be found. There are many factors that determine the price of a program, so read on for important money saving tips.
1. Plan Ahead
Study abroad scholarships often have application deadlines between January and March, and only award money once a year. This means you most likely have to apply for scholarships 9-12 months before you intend to study abroad. Plan ahead, and apply early for your best chance at receiving scholarships.
2. Location, Location, Location!
Choosing the right location can mean the difference between an affordable program and a program that is, well, down right expensive! Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand have a high cost of living and strong currency, meaning programs in these destinations can get pricey. Destinations in Latin America, South America, and Asia have better exchange rates and lower costs of living, which means that programs here can be very affordable. Additionally, scholarships tend to prefer programs outside of Western Europe, so choose a program in Latin America or Asia and not only will it be more affordable, but you're more likely to be awarded scholarships.
3. Compare Costs
There are a lot of programs to choose from, and frequently program providers host study abroad programs at the same international university. A little research will yield a lot of different prices, even to the same location. This means that it is important to consider what you are receiving for the price that you are paying. How many credits are you receiving? What exactly is included? What level of support will you be given? You'll be surprised at the differences so take the time to compare costs between programs, and choose a program that meets your personal, academic, and financial needs.
4. Avoid Misconceptions
Do you think study abroad is a luxury, or that short-term programs are cheaper? Don't be misled by these common misconceptions. Short-term programs don't necessarily mean savings because they often take place during summer or during breaks when financial aid isn't typically distributed. If you plan on taking a summer or short-term program, check with your financial aid counselor to see what type of financial aid will be available to you. Finally, study abroad isn't a luxury meant only for privileged students. Even students who receive the Pell Grant (a definition of financial need) study abroad and receive financial aid and scholarships to do so.
Plan ahead, apply for scholarships, choose the right location, and with a little research, study abroad can be an affordable reality for you.