You may be excited about the idea of studying abroad, but you are concerned about money. We are often asked by students: “how much does it cost to study abroad?” It is difficult to provide a simple answer to that question because it will depend on a number of factors, such as the duration and type of program, the cost of living in the program’s destination, and when you go abroad.
In this section, we aim to provide you with some information and tools that will help you strategically plan your finances so you can concentrate on enjoying your experience abroad.
Plan Out Your Payments
You will feel more in control of your finances if you plan out when program payments and expenses are due and when financial aid and scholarships will disburse.
- Note due dates: Many programs have their own due dates and you would pay the program directly. For most semester programs, you will pay TnTech tuition as if you were here on campus. Some programs require a housing deposit in advance. If you have any questions about due dates, you should contact the Study Abroad Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Up front costs: you will need to plan for paying expenses such as airfare, passport, insurance, and visa fees (if applicable) prior to departure.
- Create a budget for your current expenses at school and see if there are expenses you can reduce to help you save money. You can use websites like MINT to track spending.
- Research the cost of living in the country you are traveling. Local expenses (e.g. a cup of coffee) will help you determine how much money you will need for food and personal expenses.
For more information on Financial Aid and Scholarships regarding Study Abroad programs, please see the Financial Matters page on the website.
Here are some tips about traveling with money:
- Do not carry around a lot of cash. There is a strong opinion that U.S. Americans are wealthy, so pickpocketers will target you for cell phones and cash.
- Make sure your belongings are in front of you and zipped closed and that your jacket pockets zip closed.
- Do not get travelers checks
- Take more than one debit/credit card to use abroad in case one of them gets compromised, lost or stolen. Have a backup way to pay for things.
- Contact your debit/credit card companies before you go abroad and notify them of your
travel plans otherwise they will block your cards.
Think about the communities you are part of and skills you might have that could generate money. A combination of strategies is usually needed, so don’t feel like you have to meet all your fundraising goals with a single activity.
- Explore fundraising ideas from past students
- If you have a job, put aside a portion of every paycheck
- Ask for financial contributions rather than birthday or holiday gifts
- Organize a car wash, bake sale, garage sale or party fundraiser with friends
- Ask family members or mentors to donate frequent flier miles
- Research if any community or religious groups you belong to have scholarship or donation programs
- Start a kickstarter or gofundme site
Contact your bank and credit card company in advance to discuss the following...
- Tell your bank your destination and travel dates, so they will not block your card when they see banking activity in a new location.
- Ask your bank if they have partner banks in the destination(s) you are traveling to - using partner banks can help you avoid international fees.
- Ask your bank if they charge fees for international transactions.
- If you don't already have a chipped debit or credit card, request one from your bank. Most vendors abroad prefer chipped cards.
- You have a PIN for your debit card, but probably not for your credit card. Set one up in advance. In some locations, it's required if you want to use your credit card.
- Research the daily limits for ATM withdrawals in your destinations.
Tips for Managing Money
- Exchange Rates
- Local Currency
Remember that many countries are more cash-based than the US, so you can't always rely on a debit card or credit card for small purchases.
- Avoid Fees
You will probably want to have cash on you most of the time abroad, but be strategic about visiting the ATM. Take out enough cash to last you a week or so, go home, stash what you don't need somewhere safe, and carry around a smaller amount. This will cut down on transaction fees.
- Accessing Funds
Develop a plan for accessing money abroad. ATMs are often the best way to access money abroad and are increasingly available overseas.
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