The study abroad program that I chose provided housing. I stayed in a dorm, it had a meal plan, it took me on excursions, and provided an internship. I even had a stipend. My semester abroad was the same amount that I paid for tuition at my undergrad school in Pennsylvania. It was as if I stayed on campus. For other comparable programs, housing or a meal plan was not included. Even if housing was included the excursions were not included.
For me, studying in India was around the same cost of studying at my home campus.
The worst thing you can do is not apply for scholarships. Some scholarships that you can consider are the Benjamin Gilman Scholarship. The Gilman scholarship is for Pell grant recipients. It usually prefers underrepresented applicants. There is also a preference for students who have non-traditional study abroad majors, and those who study in underrepresented locations. For a list of where to find other scholarships, be sure to check out my post “International Affairs Scholarships For Women Of Color.”
-see if your school also offers study aboard scholarships.
-look for local and national scholarships via search engines.
If you are applying with a program provider, take note of any scholarships that they may have.
As soon as you enter college or figure out you want to study abroad, you should set up appointments to talk to your advisors, the study abroad office, and the financial aid office. They most likely will help you come up with a strategy and plan to succeed. This will let you know not only how much you may need to save, or what scholarships you should put on your radar, but also what classes you need to take so that you can study abroad.
If you choose London, for example, you may be paying a lot more than if you study in India. This is because the cost of living is less expensive.
The further away you go, the more expensive the flight ticket usually is. The closer to home, it is usually less expensive. But also, remember, even if your plane ticket is more expensive, the location in which you are studying abroad might offset the plane cost because the cost of living is cheaper.
Birthday money. Christmas money. Holiday money. Refund check money from financial aid. Save it. If you work a summer job or job during the school year, try to save a portion of your check. Even if it’s $10-$20, that money can add up over time.
Ask for things that will help you study abroad, like a suitcase or money that can go towards this experience.
If study abroad is your goal, you might have to give up some things in order to make it happen. For example, if you like to go out to eat with your friends, you might not be able to that as often. There may be a period where you skip social events that require money.
It’s already hard enough to balance school. Some of you may already have jobs. But if you are already working and that’s not enough, see if you can squeeze in another side hustle for a few hours a week. Walk dogs, babysit, become a personal grocery shopper. The money for this side hustle can go directly to paying for any study abroad expenses.
Items that are collecting dust in your closet or gently used clothes, sell. You can sell these items online. If online isn’t your style, see if you can sell your things on campus.
I know some people may look down upon this. They may question why are you asking for money so you can travel.
However, if you are determined to study overseas, you will not leave a single stone unturned. Exhaust all of your options.