It has now been a full month since we have been back at school. How are you feeling? Maybe you’re doing just fine, maybe you’re a little overwhelmed, or maybe you just want to leave the country. If that last one is you, I have good news! There are steps you can take to make studying abroad affordable. In fact, there are some programs that cost less than a semester at K-State!
First, before you even go abroad, picking a program can be what makes or breaks the bank. Make sure you utilize the Education Abroad Office and meet with an advisor. There are multiple types of programs, and they have experience sending students to a multitude of countries at several price points.
A major way to lower the cost of your education abroad is through scholarships, and there are tons of options. Given the fact that only around 10% of college students study abroad, there are 90% of students you won’t have to compete with for these scholarships! Some great places to find these scholarships are the Education Abroad Office website, websites like GoAbroad.com, local organizations. I also suggest checking with the Office of Student Financial Assistance to see if any K-State scholarships you receive could be used for education abroad.
K-State Education Abroad scholarships: https://www.k-state.edu/abroad/current-students/funding/scholarships.html
K-State Financial Assistance: https://www.k-state.edu/sfa/
Building a budget is one of the most important things to do before you leave. There will surely be expenses you have abroad that you don’t have in Manhattan, like public transportation and extra travel costs. You may also need to account for some lost income while you’re abroad because you won’t be working like you might be in Manhattan. Feel free to set up a meeting with a Peer Counselor to set up a savings plan to help pay for your program or a budget to use while you’re there.
Tracking your spending while abroad is also very important. While abroad, I met a student who brought $800 for 6 weeks, but after 2 weeks he only had $200 left. Don’t let that be you! You can use Mint, Microsoft Excel, or even the notes on your phone to track your spending. This will help you stay on track with the budget you created before leaving.
One last piece of advice would be to check your credit cards and bank to see if there are any foreign transaction fees. Exchange rate fees and ATM fees can really eat into your budget if you haven’t properly planned.
Studying abroad can be a great experience and doesn’t have to be a financial burden. If you have any questions about budgeting or saving for your study abroad, consider coming into Powercat Financial where we provide free and confidential advice to all K-State students. You can schedule an appointment at https://www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial/.
Peer Counselor II