Common Study Abroad Expenses

Your first step in estimating expenses is to determine what is included in the Program’s Package.  The school/organization will give you a price that you have to pay to them, and what is provided through that package varies from program to program.  Usually, it will include tuition, housing, a certain number of “culture trips” (may be extra!), transportation between hotel and school morning and afternoon (for short programs), VISA (may be extra!), and the assistance of a program advisor.

Some things to verify include:

  • Transportation Fees – does this include flights, trips to and from the school and hotel, trips to internships, extra trips offered during the program, etc.
  • Housing Fees – Is there a deposit required by the hotel? What amenities are provided by the hotel? Is breakfast offered? What about a gym or exercise facilities? Is there a mini kitchen in the room or are you required to eat out?  How about laundry facilities? An iron? Wireless? How many people in a room? 
  • Program Fees – Are all culture trips included in this price? Books? Exam software or notebooks? Transcripts?  All classroom expenses?
  • Flights – If flights are included, how many suitcases do you get free?
  • VISA – Is the VISA included or are you getting that on your own (this is important for your time considerations as well- VISA can take weeks to obtain)?
  • Books  – Are they included?

In addition to the fees required by the school, you will have a number of out-of-pocket expenses. Many of these will depend on your own choices (e.g. shared or private rooms), but certainly some of them are requisite no matter what.  A great place to find information on living expenses is Numbeo’s “Cost of Living” site or try googleing “Cost of Living in . . . . “

Below, I have attempted to list the most common expenses study abroadists face during the trip.

These costs naturally vary student-to-student, place-to-place so this is not a hard&fast list of expenses. Some of us will spend less, some more. But at least it gives you something to work from!

**[PP] = Usually included in the overall price of the program listed by the school

  • Tuition (???) – Depends on the school, location, and length of the program [PP]
  • Flights (approximately $600-$2500 one-way) – shop early, plan well. 
    • Airline Baggage Fees (US-Foreign Country = 2 free bags, then $75-$150 for the third one) – if you are flying internationally between other countries, this cost may change!).  Remember to book all you tickets at once or you might be charged for each bag on any domestic flights included in the trip. Also don’t have overweight luggage!
    • Layover Fees ($0 – $300) – Some flights involve layover delays in between each flight. Sometimes people end up spending money on food, drinks, entertainment, souvenirs, short tours of the layover stop, hotels, taxis, etc.  To avoid these extra costs, bring a book or tablet with you on the trip, take a bus if you leave the airport, and sleep in the airport if allowed.
  • Housing (usually around $1000-$1500 / month) [PP] – usually required even for home-stays.
    • Hotel Deposit ($70-$200) – Not always necessary – if required, must be paid upon arrival at the hotel. Usually will be included towards the cost of the hotel room.
    • Alternative would be finding a hostel (average $15-$50/night) or staying with someone you know.
    • Costs for Hotel Amenities (Gym, Trash, Wireless, Recycling, Laundry, Dry-Cleaning, House-Keeping, etc.) are sometimes not included in given hotel fee.  Ask your program director what is and is not included.
  • VISA ($0-$500) – Usually free if you stay less than 90 days. [PP]
    • If you do require a VISA and you have to get your own, it may require traveling to a major city to the nation’s embassy twice (once to drop off paperwork and once to pick up the VISA). This often adds an extra hotel and transportation cost for the trip.
  • US Passport ($135) – ALWAYS required. Check out our Passport page for more information.
  • Textbooks ($60-???) – Depends on your program, classes, etc.
  • Transportation ($100-???) – Costs can run at very small if you mostly walk to pretty high if you take taxis or have to pay extra money for culture trips or tours. Walk, Bike, or take a Bus if you can.  Save a minimum $100 just in case!
  • Food ($100-$1000/month) – Depends on location, length of program, and what you eat.  Can range from minor amounts to extremely costly.  To save money try cooking for yourself (especially in the hotel has a kitchenette), eating on the street, or finding restaurants that serve the local workers. Avoid cafes, nicer dinner establishments, or tourist shops.  Organic or Vegetarian options often cost more.  You can always bring a tub of peanut butter and live on sandwiches or bring some boxes of Mac&Cheese!  Not to say you can’t taste some good traditional cuisine! Yummy 🙂
  • Excursions ($50-$200/week w/ $300-$400 for one weekend away trip) – We all want to visit the cultural sites and stop off at a good club now and again.  Try to set aside $50-$200/week (more or less depending on what you’re doing), and spread out the costlier places over the duration of the trip.  I’ve never seen a student manage a study abroad trip without at least one major trip to a different country or city, so save $300-$400 for that one weekend traveling expedition.
  • Souvenirs ($100-$250) – You may not spend it all, or you might spend more. But I’d try to set aside this amount as your base.
  • Clothing ($100-???) – Entirely up to you!  But at least $100 in case you find a t-shirt or jewelry or a hat or something.
  • Suitcases ($100-$150 each) 
  • Common Surprise Extras
    • Medication (for the whole time)
    • Iron (if you have a suit) or Dry-Cleaning
    • Laundry 
    • Internet (if you don’t have wi-fi, you can sometimes rent a router)
    • Phone Service (a lot of international travelers rent a phone and plan for their trip)
    • Insurance (Health and Renters)
    • Gym / Exercise
    • Kitchen Appliances for the room
    • Living Supplies (shampoo, conditioner, soaps, dish soap, blankets, towels, hair dryers, plates, trash bags, etc.)
    • Clothing (emergency shirts, pants, suits, shoes, hair things, hats, etc. – you packed for hot and it’s cold, you packed for hiking and you suddenly have an internship with a company.
    • Doctor’s Bills – food poisoning, broken bones, etc.
    • Appliances – extension cords, adapters, chargers, padlocks, etc.
    • School Supplies – pencils, notebooks, etc.

So What About You?  Any Costs You’d Add To The List?

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Financing Study Abroad the Smart Way

Financing Study Abroad the Smart Way”

by Julia Dunn via “ULoop”

Do you flip for France? Are you sold on the idea of an Australian outback adventure? Want to float down the Italian canals reading ancient literature, but have no clue how you’ll afford it?

If you’re a wanderlust soul with a wallet restriction who’s interested in earning university credits while experiencing a foreign country, don’t push a study abroad opportunity out of your prospects because you think you won’t be able to swing it financially. There are resources and tricks available to you as a college student that you may not even know about, many of which will guide you through financing study abroad!

Universities know that college students can’t afford to pay for an entire study abroad trip on their own, on top of tuition and the student fees they pay just to attend college; thus, they offer certain types of financial aid to students looking to travel in their undergraduate careers. Beyond that, the elements of a study abroad trip can be modified in a cost-efficient way to suit your budget if financial aid alone doesn’t cover all of what you need money-wise.

According to a survey conducted by Knox College Associate Professor of Modern Languages Robin Ragan, cost is the number one reason students hesitate to pursue a trip abroad.

Robin concluded that “A lot of times [not being able to afford it] is an assumption that students make up front, but they don’t really have numbers at their side to prove they can’t afford it … Our challenge is getting to students who assume they can’t study abroad because of the cost before they even attend the info sessions.”

It doesn’t hurt to gather some information and learn about what’s out there; if you don’t, you could be missing out on an insanely awesome trip. Here’s how to make study abroad fit in your wallet.

1. Contact your university’s study abroad program for details on financial aid packages and how to apply for them.

The best way to obtain accurate information about study abroad and financial aid at your school is to directly contact the department, either through phone, email, or literally walking through their door to pick up a study abroad financing pamphlet. The staff at your university’s study abroad department has worked with tons of students to create an affordable study abroad plan that works for them—they want to help you go abroad just as badly as you want to go yourself!

See if your school offers study-abroad information sessions or events that you can attend for more information on financial aid loans and other “free money” opportunities. These may be useful to you when designing a financial plan-of-attack.

2. Be strategic when choosing a study abroad location.

The cost of living is different country to country. It’s going to wind up being more expensive to study abroad in Spain than it would be in Senegal, and study abroad financial advisers can help you compare the cost of living in certain countries with others. Investigate various housing options and their costs, along with that of transportation and other logistical elements that can add unexpected costs to your travel bill if you don’t address them before you leave for your trip.

Make sure you have lodging, food, and a means of getting around town factored into your budget, and put in the effort to research cost-efficient options for these matters.

Don’t know where to go? Click here to explore possible study abroad programs and locations organized in Uloop’s Study Abroad search.

3. Shorten your trip to 2-4 weeks.

When college students envision a study abroad trip, most think of spending months and months on end (even an entire semester or quarter) traversing hidden cities of Peru or exploring the Great Barrier Reef for an entire season. If money is an issue for you,consider only going abroad for a couple of weeks.

You’ll receive virtually the same immersive experience as someone going abroad for a longer time period, but you won’t have to pay for all that extra time. Plan out what you’ll do each day to maximize your time abroad, and you’ll be able to do most everything you want to do in just a few weeks! . . . .

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“No Excuses! 9 Ways to Help Pay For Your Study Abroad”

“No Excuses! 9 Ways to Help Pay For Your Study Abroad”

by Jordi Lippe via “Yahoo Travel”

No Excuses! 9 Ways to Help Pay For Your Study Abroad

Exposure to international destinations can have a profound effect on people’s perspectives, but the cost can be prohibitive. (Thinkstock)

We love study-abroad programs here at Yahoo Travel. Most people who have studied abroad say it was one of the best things they’ve ever done. The White House has even determined that study-abroad programs are a critical component to improving international relations. Back in December, the Obama administration gathered more than 100 of the country’s most prominent travel bloggers and digital journalists in Washington D.C. as part of a push to find new ways to encourage more Americans to study abroad.

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Study abroad is often considered a pivotal event in a young person’s life. (Thinkstock)

Fewer than 10 percent percent of students currently take part in study-abroad programs. One of those reasons is the high cost. The average semester away can cost over $17,000 (according to figures from the Institute of International Education), making the prospect of study abroad daunting for most students. But by knowing your resources and getting a bit creative you can be well on your way to financing a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Here are nine ways to help pay for study abroad:

1. Council on International Educational Exchange Scholarship
Some universities offer their own scholarship programs, but there are numerous outside options dedicated to helping those who want to study abroad. In fact, the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) is giving out around $20 million in scholarships. That could add up to 1,000 more students attending a semester program on full scholarship or 5,000 more students attending a summer or short-term program. CIEE will also sponsor passports for 10,000 students to enable participation. “Studying abroad must be viewed as an essential component of a college degree and critical to preparing future leaders,” said Institute of International Education president and chief executive officer Allan E. Goodman. “CIEE’s greatly expanded outreach and scholarship offerings will make a significant contribution to expanding and diversifying the population of students who have the opportunity to study abroad.”

Related: I Met My Fiance on Study Abroad in Spain

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The cost of study abroad shouldn’t stop you from doing it. (Thinkstock)

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Study Abroad: Budget For Italy

“Study Abroad: Budget For Italy”

by Majorie Cohen via “Investipedia”

Study abroad in Italy is a popular choice for U.S. students, and it doesn't have to break the bank. Plus, the career payoffs for study abroad can be huge.

When it comes to the popularity of study-abroad destinations for U.S. students, Italy takes second place only to the U.K. – 10% of those who study abroad go to Italy. Why is it so popular? Just take a look at the photos on the tongue-in-cheek Buzzfeed post:  “39 Reasons Studying Abroad In Italy Ruins You For Life.”

Seriously, though, study abroad can be a great career booster, according to research by the Institute of International Education (IIE), a leader in the field of worldwide study. Two hundred senior-level U.S. and international business executives who responded to an IIE survey reported that most of their HR departments took into consideration their recruits’ international experience when hiring, promoting and determining a new assignment. Thirty percent did so even when deciding on a starting salary. “Students who study abroad understand how to communicate across cultures, work on multinational teams and think in a global context,” according to IIE deputy vice president Daniel Obst.

And in an era of rising higher-education costs, here’s a nice surprise: “Study abroad can cost less than a student’s home university, depending on where they choose to go and what type of program they select,” Obst points out.

What’s the Best Program for You?

IIEPassport lists more than 800 study programs in Italy. Abroad101 ranks its 547 listings, from no stars to five stars, based on student evaluations. Three of its 2103 “Top 10 Study Abroad Programs” list are in Italy.

The critical question to ask is: “Which program will best serve my personal and career goals?” Will it be one sponsored by a university or consortium of academic institutions, or by a stand-alone study-abroad organization? Or should you opt to study independently or be an exchange student? For help finding the answer, consult the study abroad counselor at your school, students on your campus who have just returned from studying abroad and the bible of the field,“A Student Guide to Study Abroad,” published by IIE and the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS).

For students who want to pursue a do-it-yourself study plan in Italy, the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research website has a search engine of programs organized by area of study and choice of city.

Whichever program you choose, make sure your U.S. college or university will give you academic credit for your work; your school may not accept every option that’s available to you.

How Much Will Study in Italy Cost?

Sponsored programs have wide-ranging price tags; independent study may be cheaper than joining a program but takes lots of fancy footwork and a great deal of time – balancing academic calendars, sorting out credit systems and arranging courses. According to StudyCostCompare, the annual cost of studying for a bachelor’s degree in Italy is about $12,500 including tuition, rent, food, books and so on.

As an example of a sponsored program in Italy, let’s take a look at AIFS’s program in Rome, a popular destination for foreign students in Italy. For 2015–2016, each semester costs $14,695, or $15,995 with a meal allowance. This includes tuition for courses taught in English and Italian at the Richmond Study Center in Rome, housing, local excursions and trips to Venice, Naples and Pompeii, a two-week language prep and cultural orientation in Florence, and the 24/7 services of a resident director.

Can You Get Financial Aid?

U.S. universities and colleges are required by federal law to continue dispensing federal funds to students enrolled in approved study abroad programs. Your financial aid officer is the best person to answer your questions about carrying over a scholarship or other financial aid. For information on scholarships and grants specifically for study abroad, consult IIEPassport Study Abroad Funding.

The program you choose may have its own source of scholarships, and more and more aid is being directed to students who have been traditionally underrepresented in education abroad. A leading example of this is theBenjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

Is Italy an Expensive Place to Live?

Don’t be frightened off by stories of travelers reporting that they had to pay more than $7 for a cup of coffee in Italy. Prices in tourist hot spots are always higher than in neighborhood spots; live like an Italian and take your cues from local students when you decide where to live, shop and travel.

According to the Big Mac Index, a lighthearted comparison of purchasing power around the world created by The Economist magazine, a Big Mac hamburger in Italy costs $5.18, compared to $4.80 in the United States. Broader cost-of-living comparisons can be found on sites like Numbeo and Expatistan. Numbeo reports that consumer prices, including rent, in Rome are about at par with Chicago – and 10% higher than in Florence and 2.4% higher than in Perugia.

Students in Italy are entitled to more discounts than you may be used to in the United States. Showing an ID from your study abroad site should get you discounts at museums, gyms, bookstores and more. Consider, also, an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) that includes travel and medical insurance as well as access to discounts throughout the world.

Another savings tip: Find a good travel credit card – one that offer generous travel points and/or no foreign transaction fees – with the help of a site like NerdWallet. (Also, see 4 Tips For Using Credit Cards Overseas.)

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“Students Studying Abroad Encounter Unexpected Costs”

“Students Studying Abroad Encounter Unexpected Costs”

by Cait Conner, Rachel Peterson, and Eric Gerken via “Des Moines Register

MARIA COCHRAN-1170x626.jpg

“Steffi Lee had been told about all the expected costs she might encounter while studying abroad from Simpson College of Indianola. Then, something unexpected came up.

A $530 monthly stipend to help Lee, a 20-year-old sophomore, with costs while working as a teacher’s assistant at Krosno State College in Poland did not come.

Lee hadn’t been told she had to apply for a work permit before she could receive her stipend, which was to cover food and travel. “We had to check into the work permit laws, which Simpson and Krosno hadn’t known they had changed. … I didn’t get my stipend until a month living in Poland,” she said.

Lee’s story is an example of the kinds of additional costs that are not accounted for before college students go overseas as part of their studies.

The unanticipated costs can range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars, depending on the person spending the money. Blame can be spread around to students who do not prepare well enough but also colleges’ travel abroad directors who do not tell students enough about additional costs, several students at different small college in Iowa said in interviews.

“Study abroad directors need to know if they need to update their paperwork and regulation information before people get stuck in another country, and being promised one thing and told another thing before they get to that country,” Lee said in one those interviews, for an IowaWatch investigation by senior journalism students at Simpson College into the hidden costs of overseas study. . . . .”

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“Low-income students may be given the chance to study abroad affordably”

“Low-income students may be given the chance to study abroad affordably”

by Allie Hastings via “The Exponent

Financially-limited students aspiring to travel abroad will have the opportunity to visit Spain this summer as Horizons Student Services celebrates its third year of helping these students study abroad.

The Institute of International Education is spearheading a national initiative, Generation Study Abroad, to double the amount of study abroad participants by the end of the decade. Many universities, including Purdue, seek to increase student participation in an effort to better prepare students for a globalized job market. However, not all students can afford these global ventures.

Austin Scherbarth, a junior in the College of Engineering and student ambassador with the Office of the Dean of Students, described the program’s role as a support system for students in need.

”It’s mainly a comfortable zone for students that are in that particular situation to go to and receive help and assistance with pretty much anything on campus,” Scherbarth said. “It’s not really restricted to (academics).” . . . .

“Cost2travel.com Launched with Multiple Travel Tools”

“Cost2travel.com Launched with Multiple Travel Tools”

via “PR Web”

“Cost2travel website, which was recently launched in November, has drawn a growing amount of interest and visitors.

The website focuses on providing data about cost of travelling and living in various nations all over the world for global tourists, with price for essential products and services in these countries. The information on Cost2Travel is frequently updated by a team of local contributors from around the world, who ensure the cost data is latest and credible.

In addition, Cost2travel also supports users in drafting budgets for their trip with its budget planning tool, which contains anything from the major spend on flight and accommodation to the very little details such as internet fee.

One senior editor of Cost2travel spoke about the website with confidence: “The idea of online cost calculator is not new, but we are outstanding to others because we reach the lesser  . . . .”