How a Broke College Student Saw Europe

“How a Broke College Student Saw Europe”

by Mandy Wallace via “MandyWallace.com”

How a Broke College Student Saw Europe

I don’t usually take risks like this.

Sleep on a stranger’s couch? In a foreign country? Forget about it.

I’m usually the one warning friends not to meet people online. There are weirdos out there, you know. And never would I ever go home with a stranger.

Yet there I was, scrolling through profiles online. Name after name in country after country of people willing to lend their couch to me. Ghent, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels. You name the city. You’ll find a couch there with your name on it.

I mean, travel beckoned. And I was broke. Can you blame me?

Here’s how it happened.

Wanderlust: Won’t Take “Nein” for an Answer

Where: Tübingen, Germany.
When: Winter break, 2008.
Who: Nathan and Mandy Wallace, American study abroad students with an itch to travel.

Sure, I could have stayed cooped up in my dorm room. Germany was beautiful enough. Swirling snow, but not so much to be annoying. Hunting for mushrooms on the edge of the Black Forrest. Castles. Baroque churches and medieval architecture. Glittering Christmas markets and mulled wine.

But the world was too close not to explore it.

So this suspicious-of-strangers, no-risk-is-worth-putting-your-life-in-peril, small-town Bakersfield girl was ready to put her life into a stranger’s hands.

Several strangers, as it turned out. . . . .

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How to Land the Study Abroad Scholarships of Your Dreams

“How to Land the Study Abroad Scholarships of Your Dreams”

via “Go Abroad”

Affordability is often the number one concern of students interested in studying abroad, yet most students have no idea how much financial support is available to students who want to go abroad! If you are contemplating a study abroad program because of financial concerns, check out GoAbroad’s Directory of hundreds of study abroad scholarships. Every student can find the financial aid they need to study abroad, justselect from the drop-down menus above and clickSearch!

If you are just starting your search and feeling overwhelmed by financial assistance opportunities or searching for the best way to sift through financial aid options, then follow GoAbroad’s Step-by-Step Guide to getting study abroad scholarships:

1. Visit your Study Abroad and Financial Aid Office.

This should be the very first step you take in searching for financial assistance to go abroad. Start with your university, because quite frequently there are scholarship opportunities specifically offered to students interested in participating in study abroad or other international programs. But even if your university doesn’t offer study abroad scholarships, your Study Abroad and Financial Aid Offices will both have plenty of resources and potential scholarships to share with you to get you started.

2. Understand your Financial Aid Options.

Make sure you know the difference between a grant, fellowship, scholarship, and all other forms of financial support, before you start an application. Each type of aid will garner different expectations for applications and of potential awardees, and therefore you should approach each uniquely and for different reasons, depending on what type of program you plan to pursue abroad.

3. Take into Account your Degree Level. . . . .

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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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Study Abroad: Budget For Spain

“Study Abroad: Budget For Spain”

by Majorie Cohen via “Investopedia

Study abroad can have big career payoffs. Here's what to expect to pay for that investment – from tuition and travel, to housing, meals and, yes, some fun.

One of the best investments you can make in your education is studying abroad. “Globalization has changed the way the world works, and study abroad is crucial for preparing students to enter the 21st century workforce,” according to Daniel Obst, deputy vice president of the Institute of International Education (IIE), which focuses on advancing international education and access to education worldwide.

Data collected for an IIE briefing paper backs up Obst’s point. Two hundred senior-level U.S. and international business leaders reported that most of their HR departments took into consideration their recruits’ international experience when hiring, promoting and determining a new assignment. Thirty percent even did so when deciding on a starting salary.

Spain is one of the most popular study abroad destinations for U.S. students. According to IIE’s data, 9% of all U.S. students abroad are studying in Spain. Because of its enormous popularity, Spain offers an impressive number of choices for where, when and what to study. IIEPassport lists more than 900 choices: programs sponsored by universities, consortiums of academic institutions and study abroad organizations, plus direct enrollment and student exchange possibilities. For help in making an informed decision about what experience is best for you, check out the field’s bible, “A Student Guide to Study Abroad,” published by IIE and the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS).

How much will study in Spain cost?

Sponsored programs have varying price tags. We’ve chosen, as a representative example, AIFS’s study program in Barcelona at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, which is offered both for fall and spring semesters and for a full academic year. The cost for one semester in 2015–2016 is $11,795. Cost includes tuition, housing, some meals (if a homestay housing option is chosen), excursions and cultural activities, day trips and the on-site services of a resident director. Optional airfare packages are available. Independent study may cost less than a sponsored program but will involve much, much more footwork.

Can I get financial aid?

U.S. universities and colleges are required by federal law to continue giving federal funds to students who participate in approved study abroad programs. Discuss with your own financial aid office whether the specific aid you are receiving from your school will be transferable. Pay careful attention to deadlines. For more on financing your study abroad, read How to Finance Your Studies Abroad.  And IIEPassport’s Study Abroad Funding has information on scholarships and grants.

Of special interest is the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, which gives priority to students who have been traditionally underrepresented in education abroad. Check also with the study abroad program you choose; it most likely has its own financial aid arrangements.

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