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The Complete Guide to Financing Your Study Abroad Experience

Jun 29, 2017 11:30:00 AM / by Regan Charie

Thinking about paying for college can be overwhelming and stressful- including affording study abroad. However, because there are so many benefits of studying abroad, you have to realize you're making an investment in your future by going on this journey. With careful planning and determination, financing your experience abroad is certainly doable, and in many years to come you’ll be thankful that you took the time to research your options. Below are a few tips that will help you plan out your finances before and during study abroad to help you succeed!

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1. Prepare Yourself Early

The earlier you start planning for the study abroad the better off you’ll be! Not only will you have saved more money, but you’ll be mentally prepared to pay for study abroad. Sometimes you get frightened hearing about owing money, but if you find out far enough in advance, the figure seems lower because you’ll have more time to prepare.

2. Get a Part Time Job

It might seem obvious, but it’s a great idea to get a part time job during your time at college. We know you have a busy life and are involved in many clubs and extracurricular activities, but even a few hours a week can be helpful. If you work just five hours each week, then you can make upwards of $200 a month depending on your pay. It may not sound like a lot, but over time it will add up. Set aside money each time you get your paycheck and devote that money strictly toward study abroad purposes. You can use it for your direct payment, but remember that you can use this money for traveling and food outside of your program.

3. Limit Your Spending

Before you leave for study abroad, and while you are there, it is important not to spend crazy amounts of money. Although going out to dinner with your friends a few times per week at home might sound fun, in the long run the costs will add up. This money that you are spending could be used to travel to a foreign city, or to buy you a fantastic meal in your host city.

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4. Organize Your Expenses

Another great way to help you figure out how to pay for study abroad is to organize your expenses. Write down how much you’ll spend on tuition and room/board, but also organize other expenses. There are great tools online that help you figure out how much you’ll be spending each week on food, transportation, and other costs. Using these sites, you can also see how much you’ll be spending in your host nation and dollars as well.

5. Ask Around for Help

It’s important to not be shy when asking around for help. Talk to family members, close friends, and others and see if they are willing to help fund your journey. Create a page on a crowdsourcing site to get started. Be sure to highlight how this experience will help you succeed in life, and remember that even small donations are incredibly helpful. You could use this money to put towards your tuition costs, books and supplies, or trips.

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6. Scholarships

When searching for scholarships, it it important to keep in mind that there are many places to look. Speak to your schools’ study abroad office about their scholarships. Most schools have scholarships available for students who study at their institution. There are also many scholarships online that you can apply for, so do your research and find the ones that you match with best. Finally, each year, study abroad providers like CAPA award thousands of dollars to students all around the country. Be sure to check out CAPA's scholarship page for more information!

7. Financial Aid

Remember that for many programs your need based financial aid will still carry over! Be sure to submit your FAFSA early, and speak to your financial advisor with any questions. Remember that every penny counts, and so whatever you are able to get out of need-based aid is better than nothing

8. It Will Be Worth It! 

Last but not least, it is incredibly important to remember that college is really the only time that you’ll truly be able to study abroad. Although it may cost more than you'd like, just imagine the unique experience that is being offered to you. The people you will meet and the places you visit will be worth every penny.  So, even though you may have a loan to pay back after college, you will have photos and memories from the trip of a lifetime.

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Topics: Shanghai, China, Scholarships & Financing