Paying for study overseas can be a daunting task: tuition, fees, plane tickets, expenses, food, housing and all those kitschy souvenirs to buy. But don’t decide to stay home just yet. There are plenty of ways to make your travel experience a reality. Some of them are so simple you’ll wonder what you’re still doing stateside.
Current Financial Aid
In compliance with Title IV of the Higher Education Act, you’ll receive your current federal aid during a study abroad program if:
- Your school approves your program.
- You are a full-time student.
- You will earn credit that applies to your degree.
In some cases, those who have Federal Work-Study can continue earning this overseas. Visit your school’s financial aid and study abroad offices for information, applications and guidance.
Scholarships and Grants
The best financial aid resources are scholarships and grants for one obvious reason: You don’t have to pay them back.
- Look for grants like the Rotary Foundation’s District or Global Grants, which are great resources for students looking to study overseas. Your school may also offer scholarships for study abroad students.
- Consider studying in the fall when scholarship money is plentiful. org and studentaid.ed.gov are excellent places to find additional grant and scholarship opportunities.
Work or Intern
Another option that could help pay for a study abroad program is interning or finding some type of work while you’re away.
- Start by looking for a job through your current university and the one you’re planning to attend abroad. Check with your study abroad program administrator and the school you’ll be attending for suggestions.
- Check out com for information about finding work outside the country.
Fellowships and Assistantships
If you are a graduate student, look into the many fellowships and assistantships available.
- Fellowships are opportunities to do research or further your studies in your field, in this case, at a university abroad. Check out organd iie.org for more information about applying for a fellowship in your area of study.
- Assistantships usually involve working for the university as a teacher or in an administrative capacity. Contact the school you want to attend abroad about any assistantships they might have available.
Consider a Shorter Visit
If you can’t afford to live abroad for a full semester, try a shorter program offered for a summer term, a month or a couple of weeks. According to vistawide.com, about 9 percent of students who study overseas participate in a program lasting less than two months. Ticket costs may be comparable, but you’ll save a bundle on tuition and living expenses.
If All Else Fails
Work your rear off before you go, and save up! You may have to delay your trip a year or miss going with your friends, but isn’t the whole point of travel to meet new people? Ask friends and family to donate to your “travel fund” in lieu of gifts. Trust me. It’ll be worth it in the long run.
Over 300,000 Americans studied overseas during the 2013-2014 school year, gaining invaluable and life-changing experiences. All of them had to find a way to pay for it, so don’t give up — anything is possible.