What Should I Know about Studying Abroad?

Few opportunities are more exciting to today’s college and university students than studying abroad in Europe, Asia, South America, or Africa. These opportunities allow students to combine their existing studies with an international experience and an international academic perspective, giving them a first-hand understanding of the global economy. Though these opportunities are common at small and large universities alike, programs that allow students to study abroad do come with their own set of considerations that must be made in advance. Proper planning will allow students and their families to determine whether they have the time and funding needed to embark on one of these trips and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Funding: Trips Are Expensive, But Special Programs Offer Assistance

One of the biggest road blocks that many families encounter as they consider whether or not to send their students abroad is the overall cost of the program. Generally, however, students have the upper hand when determining how they’ll afford their studies internationally. In fact, there are several programs that help students reduce or eliminate any additional expenses that they may incur within a study abroad program.

First and foremost, the vast majority of universities charge the same tuition rates or study abroad programs that they would charge for domestic, on-campus courses. This means that the cost is the same whether students are studying at home or abroad. The next thing to consider is that federal student loans, federal grants, and state grants can all be applied to cover the cost of tuition for these programs. If students are opting for a spring or fall semester abroad, this means that they will only need to cover the cost of travel and, in some cases, meals. Courses and living accommodations are typically included in tuition expenses.

As an added bonus for students heading abroad, the federal government offers several grant programs that reward students for pursuing certain majors or continuing their studies in certain countries. Private scholarships and grant programs also exist to help students afford this opportunity, with many of them offering scholarships of up to $10,000 to assist with travel, food, and other expenses commonly incurred by today’s students.

Exchange Programs Open Up Even More Opportunities

One of the best deals in international programs can be found in so-called “exchange” programs between major American universities. Most universities offer only a limited number of study abroad programs, limiting students to a few countries. If students wish to study elsewhere, they can often partner with another school in the United States that offers the right program and location for their interests. In most cases, the schools’ “exchange” agreement allows students to pay the same tuition rate for these programs as they would for a program offered by their own university.

The development of “exchange” programs between American universities means that students won’t have to settle for what their school offers on its own. For this reason, the number of programs and countries eligible for study abroad tuition, grants and other programs is virtually limitless.

A Great Opportunity for Students and Their Families

International study programs are a great opportunity for students and their families, opening them up to amazing opportunities for cultural education and an international focus within their existing major. With funding options from state and federal governments, private organizations, and even charitable groups, it will be easy to afford the typical costs while studying abroad as well.