One of the greatest opportunities a college student can receive is the chance to study abroad. Students who attend school in a foreign country expand their world view, gain valuable skills, and learn a lot about themselves in the process. Travel isn’t cheap, however, and financing a lengthy overseas trip can be a daunting task. If you’re thinking about studying abroad, keep these five tips in mind when planning your finances.
Find Out What Tuition Covers
Different colleges offer different overseas study packages. While some packages include the cost of housing, orientation, security briefings, and travel excursions, others take a more “bare bones” approach. Find out what expenses your university’s overseas tuition policy covers. Most colleges have study abroad office staff who can easily answer these questions.
Make Sure Credits Are Transferable
Most of the time, the credits you earn at an overseas school fit right in with the requirements of your degree program. However, this isn’t always the case. Before planning your travels, make sure your chosen school offers the classes you need to graduate. If not, you could end up spending extra money — and an extra semester or two — at your alma mater to make up for it.
Investigate Financial Aid and Scholarship Options
Money is available for students who want to study abroad, but you have to know where to look and how to go about getting it.
- Thanks to a mandate by the Higher Education Act, federal aid can be applied toward overseas study costs. Fill out a FAFSA form to find out if you qualify.
- Institutional grants and private scholarships can sometimes be applied toward your overseas learning journey. Check with your school’s financial aid department to find out the particulars.
Ensure Your Access to Cash
Once you’ve settled into your home away from home, there will be times you need some spending money. Here are two ways you can take control of your access to cash while abroad:
- Find a job. This can be tricky in a foreign country, but if you manage to snag a paid for overseas students, you’ll appreciate the work experience as well as the cash flow.
- Use an online service like Trans-Fast for quick and easy international cash transfers. Trans-Fast offers free accounts and low transfer fees. You’ll appreciate this service when you’re pinched for money and need cash right away.
Learn to Live Frugally
When it comes to financing your international adventures, much of the power rests in your hands. Train yourself to live frugally and you’ll reap the financial benefits.
- Instead of eating out, buy food at a grocery store.
- Inquire about student discounts every time you’re faced with travel fees, including hotel and transportation costs.
- Check out student-friendly discount travel websites like HostelWorld.com and Europe’s Weekend Student Adventures to experience the world “on a shoestring.”
Exciting. Unforgettable. Life-changing. Students who study abroad often describe their experience this way. Don’t let finances hold you back; learn the facts, pool your resources, and go see the world. You’ll be glad you did.