How Much Should I Be Saving for Study Abroad?

Studying abroad facilitates educational and career growth. The experience builds trust and understanding between different cultures, and it can enhance personal growth. Study abroad programs provide flexibility for learners to create experiences that fit their interests and budget. Learners interested in studying abroad can explore several money-saving options. Read below to learn how to save for college and how to afford studying abroad.


FAQ


  • How much will it cost to study abroad?

    Cost depends on many factors, including the program type and length, and students’ living, dining, and transportation arrangements. Study abroad costs typically range from $5,000-$15,000 per semester.


  • Where can I study abroad for free?

    Many universities in Northern and Western Europe offer free tuition for undergraduate study abroad programs. Conditions may apply.


  • Can I study abroad with bad grades?

    Study abroad programs usually require a minimum 2.5 GPA. However, program managers may also consider academic history, extracurricular activities, employment status, and recommendation letters.


  • Is it expensive to study abroad?

    Studying abroad can cost less than a semester of college. Costs depend on students’ location, living arrangements, and other personal preferences.


What Costs Should You Consider?



Personal preferences significantly influence decisions regarding how to save for study abroad. When creating a savings plan and a long-term trip budget, consider the factors included in your specific study abroad plan.


  • Location Costs

    Location significantly influences the cost of study abroad. In general, choosing to study abroad in Asia typically costs less than Europe. GoAbroad.com notes that most international study programs are based in metropolitan areas. Students can plan trips to explore nearby areas.


  • Travel Document Costs

    Before getting too far down your study abroad to-do list, verify that you possess all required travel documents. First-time adult U.S. passport applicants must pay $145 in application and acceptance fees. Processing can take up to 12 weeks. Some countries, like the United Kingdom, do not require travel visas for U.S. citizens. A base application charge for a student visa for Australia, for example, costs about $475.


  • Travel Costs

    Traveling is often the most expensive aspect of study abroad experiences. To save money, you can create flight alerts, book about three months in advance, and cash in airline miles. Also consider the logistics of getting around during your stay. For daily activities and errands, you can often walk or bike to your destinations. If not, include rideshare, bus, or train transportation expenses in your monthly budget planning.


  • Medical Costs

    The cost of treating an injury or illness while abroad can easily reach thousands of dollars. And in an emergency, you cannot negotiate prices or services. This is why most study abroad programs require enrollees to participate in a health insurance plan. Many companies cater to students, such as Cultural Insurance Services International.


  • Communication Costs

    Learners should also consider how to stay connected while abroad. All students need reliable internet access. Check if your study abroad campus offers free Wi-Fi. Some travel packages provide free Wi-Fi, but if not, you can explore other options.

    Many coffee shops, restaurants, and government buildings provide free public internet access. For more convenient access, Friendly Planet suggests getting a short-term international plan through your phone carrier. An unlocked smartphone can also serve as a backup or even primary Wi-Fi connection.

    For longer trips, students may want to purchase a local SIM card. This option usually costs less than an international plan. Learners can also consider renting a mobile hotspot or buying a local burner phone. These devices can also easily support multiple simultaneous users. If you want to set up Wi-Fi at home, keep in mind that some foreign internet service providers require a bank account that is based in that country.

    If you plan to study abroad for less than a month, you do not need to open a bank account. However, if you intend to receive a regular paycheck while overseas, opening a bank account in the host country can simplify your life. Opening a local bank account provides more security and lowers costs since you do not incur fees to access your money though local branches and ATMs.


  • Costs of Experience

    Studying abroad is an academic experience that can also lead to many fun opportunities. Students who learn, live, and work overseas can forge new friendships and build career connections.

    To save money for different experiences while studying abroad, consider planning self-guided tours. Classmates and friends can connect you to free and fun social and cultural experiences. As a guide for entertainment spending abroad, a fun night out should not exceed more than 10% of your monthly budget.


  • Covid-Related Costs

    In late 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommended that higher education institutions postpone or cancel international student travel programs. Prospective students should check for updated guidance and confirm that their school, program, and host country offer study abroad opportunities during the pandemic.

    Amid the pandemic, students should prepare for added cost and complexity to all international travel. For example, individuals authorized to enter England must quarantine for 10 days at a government-approved hotel at their own expense. The cost is about $2,400.


How to Save Money

Students can save for studying abroad by reducing current spending and researching deals. Start by taking a close, realistic look at your financial picture and habits. Practice resisting impulse purchases by paying with cash instead of swiping a card. Also, look for easy expenses to eliminate, such as gym memberships and frequent takeout meals.

Once you confirm your travel destination and date, book flights early, which can save money. Consider paying with credit card points or airline miles, and check if airlines offer student deals.

Next, consider creating a crowdfunding account. Through the crowdfunding initiative, explain to family and friends the purpose of studying abroad, and what you plan to study and do overseas.

Finally, you can look to federal financial aid and scholarships to help fund the costs of studying abroad. Students can sometimes apply financial aid for on-campus studies toward study abroad programs.

Scholarships for international academic study can be student specific or based on gender, ethnicity, or religion. Organizations can also award scholarships based on academic achievement or subject. Learners can research destination-based scholarships, which countries may use as incentives to attract students.

How Much Should You Be Saving?



The opportunity to study abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, making it worth the time and effort to plan and save. But with so many aspects to consider, there is not really a one-size-fits-all answer to how much it costs to study abroad.


Education First


If you study abroad through your university, you can expect to pay normal tuition plus living expenses. However, according to Education First, studying abroad through an organization could cost about $10,000 for a semester or $15,000 for a year. In contrast, a short-term plan might only cost $600 in program fees, but you must add costs for a flight, food, and daily living expenses.

GoAbroad.com


Another organization offers a different take. According to GoAbroad.com, students should expect to spend a minimum of $6,000 to study abroad for a semester. Studying in Asia, Europe, and Australia costs on average $8,890, $15,800, and $22,600 per semester, respectively.


However, you can take several steps to establish some savings benchmarks. Start planning early. Accept that plans may need to change based on circumstances or preferences.

Many countries permit students studying abroad to work during their stay. In some instances, you may need a work visa. But as with all things study abroad, the details depend on the location. In France, for example, all foreign students have the right to work and must receive the government-mandated gross minimum wage of about $11.80 per hour.

Finally, to make some extra money before returning, consider selling extra clothes, household items, or travel gear you do not need back home.

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