Today on GoAbroad, we feature a guest post from Amanda Tradwick, who is a grant researcher and writer for CollegeGrants.org. She has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Delaware, and has recently finished research on African American grants for college and student grants in South Dakota. In her post today, she discusses some of the ways that students can help to finance a study abroad adventure!
Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience -- but it can also be an expensive one. In addition to the cost of tuition and books, you also have to raise the money to pay for your travel to the other country and all of your living expenses while you're there. Add to that the cost of traveling and exploring your new country and the surrounding area, and you're looking at a hefty bill that most college students can't afford. Fortunately, there are many ways that students can fund programs to study abroad. Here are some of the best ways to raise the money:
Scholarships and Grants
There are many, many scholarships and grants available to help students pay for a semester abroad. Some are limited to the type of program you are studying, the school where you will study, or even the country where you will study. There is such a large number of programs available that you should be able to find one that matches your needs and that will provide either full or financial support. Check out the GoAbroad Scholarship Directory for a listing of more than 1,000 available programs. You can refine your search criteria by country, field of study, and academic level!
Depending on the type of program you choose to study abroad, you may be eligible for financial aid through your college or university. Some programs may qualify for class credit, which means that your regular financial aid package can apply towards the program just as it would toward your regular tuition expenses. Even if the program does not qualify for academic credit, it may be eligible for financial aid. Check with your school's financial aid office about getting grants or loans specifically for study abroad travel and expenses.
Of course, private loans are always an option for financing any major expenses, including travel to study abroad. Students can use the loans that they are already receiving to attend college to finance their study abroad trip, or they can seek outside funding specifically for the trip. Try to find educational loans rather than a strictly commercial loan. Educational loans will carry much lower interest rates and will have more generous repayment terms.
If you aren't able to raise the money for your trip personally, turn to the support network in your community. Hold a fundraiser through your church, school, civic group, work, or other organization. Try ideas such as a silent auction, bake sale, car wash, or barbecue dinner. Share information about the parameters of your trip, how you hope it will further your education, and what your financial needs are to make the trip a reality. You may be surprised at how willing people are to help you realize this dream.
This one can be tricky. If you enter a country to study abroad, you will be given special visa status that may restrict your ability to work. To be eligible to work abroad, you also may need to qualify for a visa that you can only obtain by securing full-time work and sponsorship. Therefore, you may not be able to plan to arrive in the country and find part-time work to help support your studies. If you have an exception, then by all means try odd jobs like waiting tables or working in a bookstore. However, if you cannot obtain the visa status that you need, there are other ways to work and raise money while you are traveling abroad, including blogging, writing freelance travel articles, offering tutoring online, and pursuing online income possibilities such as affiliate marketing. No matter what you decide, it is important to have a plan in place before you leave so that you can set some realistic financial goals.
Have you spent a semester or a year away studying abroad? Tell us how you were able to pay for your trip in the comments! Did you use one of these methods, or were you able to find alternate sources of funding?