Schools Training

5 Considerations for Studying Abroad

19 MAR 2014
Career Path : Study Abroad

Many students have expectations for college that go beyond just getting a degree. Making friends, sharing experiences and enjoying this unique period of their lives while focusing on a major they love are some of the most common examples of these expectations. For a lot of students, this means studying abroad, to discover both themselves and the world.

Sadly, the path to studying abroad is usually a little more complicated and costly than what most students expect. There are many factors to consider when it comes to deciding whether study abroad is a good fit for you, not the least of which is cost. Here are a few items to be aware of when evaluating whether or not studying abroad is for you.

The application

Chances are you’ve filled out dozens of applications in your life, for colleges, jobs, clubs or leadership positions. Still, even if you’re well-prepared, applications for studying abroad can be complicated and require a lot of time. There are a lot of cultural differences to consider, and the programs themselves will likely have something very specific that they’re looking for in your résumé, essay, or letter of reference. Make sure to schedule an appointment with your school’s study abroad office (which you can find in your college directory) before submitting your application, so that it can be reviewed by someone else who has experience.

Program costs

The costs of study abroad programs can vary greatly from school to school. You can wind up with a tuition that is similar to what you would be charged at home, or paying significantly more. Make sure to ask your school’s study abroad office to provide you with a breakdown of what your preferred school’s costs will be, including tuition, books, extra fees and on-campus room accommodations, if applicable. There will be basic living expenses as well, so make sure that the list your school is showing you is comprehensive, realistic and covers all areas.

Scholarships

If you’re planning on seeking financial aid, you should know that study abroad scholarships generally have a much smaller pool of candidates than regular scholarships, so you have a better chance of receiving aid if you apply for as many as you can. Also, if you’re currently receiving a scholarship, it sometimes can also be applied to your study abroad program, so make sure to look into this. Check out your college news for more information on different types of scholarships you can apply for.

Travel costs

Not only should you factor in the cost of a plane ticket to get to your new school, you should also consider that you’ll probably be tempted to travel outside of the city in your free time, since you’ll be in a part of the world you probably haven’t seen before. Quick trips to other cities or even countries on the weekends can be more expansive than you imagine, so make sure to factor in your potential travel plans and allocate budget ahead of time for those.

Lost wages

It’s possible that your time studying abroad will come with an opportunity cost: that of earning money. If you’re unable to work during your time abroad, make sure to add these lost wages to the cost of the study abroad program itself when weighing the pros and cons.