Studying abroad is a great opportunity to continue on track and earn credits, but at the same time broaden your experiences and understanding of the world around you. Depending on your industry, studying abroad can be a great way to distinguish yourself and gain meaningful professional experience. Many students who plan to study abroad can combine their class work with an internship in their field, and improve their fluency in a second (or even, third!) language.
However, many students considering studying abroad may ask themselves if it is affordable. If you are one of these students, there are some important tips that will help you keep costs low for study abroad:
Location. Location. Location. The cost of living in your study abroad destination will ultimately depend on where you study abroad. If you are trying to keep costs low for study abroad, you’ll want to consider a destination that is more economical. Think about your related expenses that you’ll need to cover such as living costs, food, transportation, entertainment, shopping, fitness, laundry and other extracurricular activities. All of these costs will depend on your location. To compare costs, think about not only the country you decide to go to, but also the town or city you choose. If you are dying to study in the United Kingdom, perhaps London might just be too expensive – but what about Manchester or Newcastle? You can still study abroad in the country of your choice, but be sure to investigate the associated costs. Major industrialized cities tend to be much more expensive than neighboring, smaller towns. If a big city is what you want, consider living just outside the city and commuting in, or perhaps consider a big city in a less industrialized country.
Exchange Rates Matter. If you were never finance savvy, here’s your chance to give it a second shot! Exchange rates are the fluctuations of currencies compared to other currency. If you’re a US citizen, more than likely your monetary worth is in US dollars. If the U.S. dollar appreciates (or gains value) compared to your host country’s currency, your dollars can buy even more. If the U.S. dollar depreciates (or looses value) compared to your host country’s currency, you will need more dollars to buy the same amount of goods or services. Over the past year, the U.S. dollar has declined significantly against the Euro and British pound. This means that you need more US dollars to pay for the same goods/services than you would have needed before. So, if you plan to study abroad, it is important to consider this important factor into your decision making. Choose a country where the dollar remains relatively strong and/or stable.
Think Timing. Timing will also impact your wallet! Depending on your study abroad destination, there is a high and low tourist season. Prices from airfare to domestic travel typically fluctuate seasonally. Do the research and plan ahead by trying to coordinate your study abroad trip on an off season period so that prices will be low and in some cases you’ll be able to bargain for better rates. Spring, Fall, or Summer semester gives you the flexibility to choose the best timing to keep costs low for study abroad. Beware, before making arrangements be sure to find out why it’s low season. If you are studying in Costa Rica during the low season, for example, it generally corresponds with the rainy season. Make sure that you are aware of seasonal weather changes so that you are prepared! Also, in some cases, because summer semester is a shorter length of time, rates for a study abroad program are also lower.
We hope that you have found our tips on how to keep costs low for study abroad helpful. We want to hear from you, what have you done to keep costs low when you went overseas?