Savings Tips For Studying Abroad


Studying abroad is a great opportunity for students, but it can also be an expensive one. If you want to immerse yourself in a different country but are worried about paying for your trip, keep these savings tips in mind.

Start saving early

If you know you want to study abroad at some point in your college career, it’s wise to pick a program as soon as possible so that you can start saving up money ahead of time. Jane Bennett Clark, former Senior Editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, recommends meeting with an advisor to find programs that work with your major so you can avoid accidentally paying for one with credits that won’t transfer over.

If you don’t yet have your heart set on one destination, keep your options open, and compare the prices of each program. Studying in a developed country, particularly the ones in Western Europe, can be expensive, according to Clark, so consider other locations as well. Once you pick a program, Clark advises checking to see if you can use financial aid to help cover the costs. In addition, you may want to apply for scholarships specifically designed for studying abroad.

Choose the right method of payment

When determining the overall price of studying abroad, it’s important to account not only for the cost of the program but also for food, transportation, activity and lodging costs. Although you can make some of these purchases ahead of time, you will likely need to pay for a decent amount in person. According to Rachel L. Sheedy, Editor for Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, it’s worth using a credit card that doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee when making these purchases in person.

If you prefer cash over credit cards, Sheedy recommends getting local currency upon reaching your destination. To do so, Margarette Burnette, writing for NerdWallet, advises using your financial institution’s ATMs if possible so that you can steer clear of a few fees. ATMs within the city may have more favorable exchange rates than the ones in the airport, so Sheedy says to avoid hitting an ATM right when you get off the plane.

Pick affordable transportation methods

To lower the costs of your study abroad further, it’s a good idea to choose the least expensive transportation options available, according to Johnny Jet, former contributor to Forbes. While flying late at night or early in the morning may not be ideal, Jet notes that you likely can save money flying at undesirable times.

If you don’t have any set-in-stone plans during your study abroad, Jet also says to be flexible with travel dates. You may find better deals when comparing flights over the course of a few days rather than just a few hours. When traveling around the city, take advantage of public transportation, like buses and trains, which Jet says may also save you some money.

By being cost-conscious and planning ahead, you can find ways to spend less on your study abroad. To learn more about upcoming programs and how you can reduce expenses, speak with an advisor.

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