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Financial questions to ask before studying abroad

Studying abroad has increased in popularity rapidly over recent years. Though it can be a wonderful experience and an important part of your university life it is not an essential element to most degrees. It is important to consider several financial factors when determining if going on an optional year abroad is for you. It is important to assess not only if you can afford to study abroad but can you afford to go where you want. You may need consider alternative destinations as a compromise on the financial impact of a year abroad. Also don't forget studying abroad is not the only way to spend a year in a different country a year in industry (placement year) doesn't have to occur in your home country and could be the perfect opportunity to combine valuble work experience and international travel.

How much will the course cost? 
- will you be paying the tuition fees prices for your current school whilst abroad or increased fees as an international student?
- How much will it add to the cost of your degree tuition?

How much value will it add to your degree?
- This means asking why are you wanting to do a year abroad. If its just because you just want to visit  a country or your friend is applying too then perhaps an extended vacation would be better (and more cost efficient). Whereas, if you are doing a language degree then studying abroad is highly beneficial to the development of the skills you are using in your degree.
- Think about the quality of the univeristy you would be studying at does it rank as well or better than your current university.

What is the cost of living in that country?
- Depending on where you go the cost of living could be a lot more or a lot less than you are used too.
- It is also worth looking at how currency exchange rates have been over the past months are you going to get more or less for your money due to the exchange rate.

Do they offer scholarships, grants and work programs?
- Programs such as the erasmus scheme offer up to €300 a month grant for studying abroad.
- Will scholarships you have from your current university still apply on your year abroad and after?
- Does the university you are attending abroad offer any scholarships to exchange students.
- Would you be able to work whilst studying abroad. This will depend on visa restrictions and varies from country to country.

How much will additional costs be?
- Flights can be pricy if it is long haul. How often will you expect to visit home over the year?
- Cost of visas, passports and immunisations should also not be forgotten.
- Study abroad programs also offer lots of excursions and trips for students to participate in.

Did you go on a year abroad? What was your experience?


  1. I know someone who spent a semester in France studying French. She missed some of the requirements for her major while abroad and had to attend undergrad an additional semester. This put her behind a semester for grad school and spent last spring doing nothing. I was thinking about this recently and realized she would have been better off just spending a summer in France. Her minor was French, but it really doesn't apply to her major at all which is in health care.

  2. I had always thought about studying abroad, but I never really knew where to go, and every option was far too expensive for me. I was already in so much debt, I couldn't justify spending a semester in a foreign country. I have a lot of great experiences in the United States though, so I guess that counts for something.

    Good points!

  3. I think the extra costs is where studying abroad gets students. Of course you want to study in a fantastic country, but what you really want to do is travel and SEE it, and maybe even a few neighboring countries if applicable. Always look at the cost of traveling and exploring while studying abroad.

  4. Honestly the costs really depend on what you're doing abroad. I spent a year in Spain as part of my course, and I worked as a language assistant instead of studying in a university. Because I was earning a salary, I didn't need to take out a student loan for that year. Being a student in the EU meant I was given an additional Erasmus grant on top of that and I was able to live comfortably, travel and still come back to the UK with savings. It also helped that I chose to live in a really cheap city.