You’re the type of girl who’s gonna need more than a quick spring break trip to satisfy that itch for adventure. You want to see far off lands, learn a new language, be immersed in a different culture, and, of course, sample all of the exotic food you can. Solution? Spend a semester abroad! Studying abroad is a great way to experience a new way of life while earning credits and building your resume. And with these 5 tips, you can do it all on your student budget.
1. Plan Early
Start planning the trip at least one year in advance. This will give you plenty of time to figure out finances, where you want to go, and what study abroad program you want to use for your travels. Most schools have a study abroad coordinator who can walk you through the process step by step. If your school does not, contact the program directly to find out what you will need, and then contact student services for help. Find a program here.
2. Make a Budget
You’ll need enough money to pay for the program, housing, visa and passport fees, and to get you through six months of living without an income. Some travel abroad programs offer all-inclusive packages and others give discounts to certain schools and their students. Figure out which option would be best for you and then find a way to make it happen. If you’re not already, start working part time and save the majority of the money. Also, look into the many scholarships set aside for those studying in foreign countries. Many times, your financial aid package can be applied to your trip, so be sure to talk to a school official and explore this option also.
3. Pick Your Classes Carefully
The whole point of living and studying overseas is to experience another culture. However, it’ll hardly seem worth it if the credits don’t transfer and you end up having to repeat the whole year. Read the class descriptions carefully, and check with your adviser to make sure that every class you take will count toward your degree.
4. Don’t Forget Your Student ID
Many countries offer major discounts to those with a valid student ID — like the ISE Card or the StuCard. Transportation, food, museums, plays, movies, and so much more can be discounted by as much as 50% with an ID.
5. Live Like The Locals
The budget you so carefully planned won’t last long if you splurge every day. Cut costs by living among locals and eating the local cuisine — it’s often cheaper than the imported Western foods. And, instead of spending tons of money on typical, more overpriced souvenirs, aim for free or inexpensive gifts like post cards, photos, and local maps and brochures. If you plan on traveling to other locations while abroad, remember to avoid the pricey hotels and tourist traps. Think about staying in a hostel and ask around for the best places and things to see.
Still in high school? No problem, you can still study abroad! Check this out!