September 14, 2015

Going abroad on a student’s budget


By Danielle Schretzman–

Have you ever desired to try cuisine that far surpasses your “Mexican” Qdoba?

Maybe you’re interested in photography that expands farther than an Instagram filter or international art that isn’t hidden behind a computer screen?

All of these opportunities—and so many more—are available when you decide to study abroad. Before you get too discouraged by thinking that you could never afford to study abroad, realize that there are so many resources meant to help you succeed, travel and eat real Hispanic food—if that’s what floats your international boat.

A simple quote, “travel is the only thing that makes you richer” is one that Chloe Zoeller, a current University of Louisville student, stands by firmly. In her study abroad experience, she has traveled to many places all over the world but her most memorable trip was her seven months spent in Argentina.

Financially, this could be a huge red flag for most students. Zoeller saved up her money for two summers to help budget her trip, and with the help of multiple scholarships, she was able to gain the valuable knowledge that a study abroad program can provide.

Her studies included the Spanish language and political science, which have endless possibilities for courses overseas.

As far as international tuition goes, it completely depends on where you go, how long you stay, and what you are willing to get out of the experience. Zoeller witnessed her peers struggle from failure to budget properly and these individuals missed out on excursions, activities and an overall worry-free experience.

Being in another country is already overwhelming enough, so proper budgeting is essential.

How exactly do you find the money to go overseas?

Well, it does depend on where you go. Europe is easily the most expensive option, but a great choice if you’re not interested in learning another language. However, the flexibility is incredible with most study abroad programs and they offer classes in English almost anywhere you go.

If Europe is a bit too pricey, that shouldn’t discourage you from the experience. Countless scholarships are available to students because you are encouraged to study abroad in your college experience.

Later in life you will want to travel but have jobs and other responsibilities preventing you from doing so. Now is the time to explore, learn and exit your comfort zone.

Summer programs are the most affordable because these curriculums only last 3-5 weeks generally. The best deal is generally a semester, because you will pay similar tuition to what you have at the University while still getting the experience you desire. Tuition, fees, housing, insurance and excursions are almost always included in this set price as well.

Understandably, the process seems stressful and—regardless of scholarships or financial aid—pricey. Many of the colleges at U of L offer programs that take groups of students abroad. One of the largest study abroad programs on campus is with the business school, due to its International business majors and minors.

Foreign language majors and minors also have helpful programs to get real world experience with the language.

In addition to colleges scholarships, there are countless companies and organizations to study abroad with at U of L.

By familiarizing yourself with these different organizations, you could narrow down your choices and find the most affordable option for the location you wish to visit.

If a certain city offers a homestay option, this will most likely be a more money conscious decision, as well as one that might make acclimating yourself to the area somewhat better and allow you to enjoy some delicious home cooked meals.

Haley Massad, a current study abroad advisor, chose this option in her semester in Peru.

“You have to be very conscious about the economy you are entering,” she said. “Some places like the Middle East can cost twice as much for food and others it is much cheaper than the United States. You just have to do a little research, but it is well worth it.”

If you are interested in meeting people like Massad, or just wanting to get some questions answered, the Study Abroad and International Travel office is more than willing to help you in any way they see fit.

Remember that life begins at the end of your comfort zone and the means to leave are well within your reach at the University of Louisville.

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