How a Semester Abroad Cost Me Less than $1,000

What you need to know about saving money on your study abroad.

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Studying abroad has a bad rep. At least, in America.

Anyone who goes across the world for a semester must eat caviar and lobster tail on a weekly basis. That spoiled. Like, they must have parents who spoon-feed them $100 bills for breakfast.

That’s what I thought, anyway. Who could afford it?

But, as I found out, that is just not true.

Last year, I studied on the European island of Malta for one semester. A small country south of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea.

I was in Europe for seven months and it cost me only about $1,000 more than I would have spent at home in Kansas. And I, for one, was not spoon-fed money from my parents.

If you ask me, an extra $1,000 over the span of seven months sounds affordable for about anyone. Here, I’ll tell you how I did it.

First off, let me say that this was not an easy task. It took a lot of commitment and sacrifice during the months leading up to my abroad experience.

If you expect to do the same thing, know that it takes delicate dedication. This might mean eating at home the whole summer when your friends go out for taco Tuesdays. It might mean having an extra drink at home before you head to the bar. Or, it might be something as simple as riding your bike to save on gas money.

Figure out whatever personal sacrifices you need to make and get started on them as soon as possible. The more you save now, the less stressful it will be to spend later. When you are abroad having the best experience of your life. Making international memories that will last a lifetime.

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The next thing you need to do is make yourself a GoFundMe page.

This is a common fundraising practice for students studying abroad. You should not see this as a desperate move, begging for money.

Your friends, family, former teachers, neighbors down the street who you’ve never really had a conversation with- they all want to help. They want to live vicariously through you. They want to see pictures and read your blogs.

This reminds me, you should blog about your experience.

You have to put forth an effort to return their generosity. Do not be a spoiled beggar. Show your donors that you appreciate their kindness.

Be informative on the GoFundMe page. Tell them about where you are going. You should have ample time to research details about your destination.

Do you know what you are studying? Include that information, too. Make some goals for your time abroad and share those. Prove you have an interest in going abroad beyond making international drinking buddies.

Pro-Tip: Making a video for the GoFundMe page is always an attention-grabber.

The last tip I have (besides working, working, working your ass off) is to talk to the international office at your home university.

Many students don’t realize the funds that these departments have. Most offer a substantial stipend to students studying abroad. Especially to universities that have exchange agreements with them.

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

There are easy ways to make studying abroad much more affordable. Most people assume it is not plausible for them and never even give the opportunity a second look.

The truth is, studying abroad will be the least expensive chance you ever get for a multi-month trip abroad. So, take advantage of it while you still can!

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