Are you that student who does the impossible during the semester— juggling a part-time job, class assignments, volunteering, you name it? While you’re struggling with a heavy load, your friends have jetted off to study abroad on the other side of the world and you think, “Wow, I wish I had time to do that.” Well, guess what? You do!
There’s a little secret about study abroad that many students don’t know about: summer study abroad programs. Instead of using those long summer months to go back home and catch up with family and friends, why not have an adventure instead? Summer programs abroad offer the same course credits as fall or spring semesters, but can be way shorter (some programs are as short as two weeks!), more affordable, and way cooler, as they usually offer more chances to learn outside the four walls of a traditional classroom.
How do I choose an affordable summer study abroad program?
Location, location, location! Although you may dream of spending your weekends soaking up the sun on the Italian riviera or biking across Western Europe, these regions can be a bit rough on your wallet, especially during the tourist-heavy summer months. If you’re looking for cheap summer study abroad programs, why not choose locations that have a lower cost of living, but promise an equally stellar experience? For example, instead of Japan, pick Thailand. Instead of Argentina, choose Ecuador. These maybe considered “cheap” study abroad countries, but they pack a valuable punch.
Also, don’t be fooled by the price tag of the program. Find out if the price covers all fees, including tuition, room, board, and visa processing. Still want to visit your dream country and can’t afford it? All’s not lost! Talk to your university’s study abroad office and find out whether you qualify for financial aid. Check out organiziations that offer summer study abroad scholarships and grants, and start with GoAbroad's Study Abroad Scholarship Directory. Still coming up short? There are always crowdfunding options like FundMyTravel to help fund your dream summer abroad.
Here are the most affordable summer study abroad programs for college students 2018:
CISabroad seems to be the leader of the pack when it comes to affordable summer programs. Their summer study abroad programs cover the length and breadth of the globe, from photography lessons in the Outback to a four-country European package that covers Ireland, Scotland, England, and Spain. CISabroad promises value for tuition, housing, orientation, and even insurance. In fact, they back their claim with a money back guarantee: if you find a cheap summer study abroad program that offers the same benefits as theirs for less, they will refund you your money up to two months before the program starts!
2. TEAN Summer Study Abroad Programs (with Scholarships)
The Education Abroad Network (TEAN) offers many options to fund your summer abroad 2018 adventure. The TEAN Full Ride Scholarship is for that special someone who can convince the organization that their summer study abroad program will be a personal journey. The scholarship covers almost all program costs, including tuition, program fees, orientation, and housing. TEAN also offers scholarships for top candidates who sign up for their Summer Down Under programs (wildlife and energy). For those interested in a summer abroad in Asia, TEAN also offers two scholarships for their summer in Seoul program at Korea University.
Would you like to study in Denmark? Open to bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD students, there are Danish Summer Language Scholarships you can apply for! The Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science provides scholarships for summer language courses that last for three weeks between July and August each year and are located throughout Denmark. The Danish Summer Language Scholarships cover either tuition, room, and board or tuition and 5,000 Danish Krones for living expenses.
Who says you have to spend your summer in a classroom? Seamester Study Abroad at Sea offers two great summer programs, so stock up on that sunblock! Once you’ve got your sealegs, cross the Atlantic in 50 days with their Transatlantic summer program. Channel your inner Captain Jack Sparrow to earn up to six college credits in nautical science and oceanography from the University of South Florida and get certified in International Yachtmaster Training (yes, it really does exist!).
During down time, dock at scenic ports in the Caribbean and around Europe. If you have less time on your hands, sign up for Seamester at Sea’s equally exciting 20-day Caribbean summer program, which includes PADI certification and visiting the lush Leeward islands, including Saba, St. Eustatius, Nevis, Antigua, St. Barts, and the British Virgin Islands (BVI for short). You’ll also earn three academic credits and an International Crew Certificate along this incredible journey. Seamester Study Abroad at Sea also offers summer study abroad scholarships and grants.
FIE offers a number of summer study abroad scholarships, including the Sharif Rahman Summer Scholarships, named after the late FIE founder, as well as summer study abroad programs. However, the only summer programs eligible for the latter scholarship are located in London and Dublin. Applicants for the $1,000 grant must show a wholehearted commitment to the study abroad experience. For those studying peacekeeping and conflict resolution, there are also scholarships to cover the cost of FIE’s five-week long peace and conflict resolution summer program in Ireland and Jordan.
CEA has been in the study abroad business since 1997, and offers summer programs abroad in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It also offers CEA scholarships to fund program participation for select students; selection is based on three categories: merit, need, and diversity. If you’re looking for “bang for your buck,” CEA offers great summer study abroad programs for college students.
7. SIT Study Abroad Summer Programs (with Scholarships AND Grants)
SIT Study Abroad offers summer undergrad programs all over the world: Africa, Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Pacific, and the Middle East. Participating students get hands-on experience and learn from experts in a variety of fields. SIT Study Abroad also offers scholarships and grants to students based on need. Students that apply can receive between $500 and $3,000 to fund a summer program abroad. Awards are given to applicants regardless of their citizenship, national origin, or home school and cover tuition, room, and board only.
Since 1990, the Center for Study Abroad (CSA) has called itself a leader in providing hard-pressed students with budget study abroad opportunities. Its direct low cost programs are not only affordable, but legit and affiliated with reputable universities, colleges, and languages schools in almost every corner of the planet. You can even sign up for summer study abroad at bigwig institutions like the Sorbonne, the University of Cambridge, and Oxford University. Their summer programs are geared toward more independent-minded students and are affordable because you book your own airfare and choose your own accommodation, from local homestays to staying on campus. They also have flexible payment options and rolling admission for most summer programs abroad.
One final tip for summer study abroad programs
Choosing an affordable summer study abroad program is not easy. This article offers only a few suggestions because it is just the tip of the iceberg. Use our list of cheap summer 2018 study abroad programs to inspire you to do your own research: talk to program alumni, read unbiased program reviews, and compare programs carefully with MyGoAbroad. Even though summer may seem like ages away, it’s never too early to plan— so get cracking!