How To Pay for Studying Abroad

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How to fund studying abroad

There’s not much I regret about the path I took to college.  It took me a little longer than most, but I did it without loans and without debt.  The one thing I am a little sad I missed out on is studying abroad.  I’ve always loved travel, especially exploring different cultures.  Maybe someday I’ll get my Master’s and find a way to do it with a family.

And that’s what this post is about.  My very foggy vision of someday fulfilling my dream, but, yet again, doing it debt free.  I’m going to leave the family conundrum to another day, but I have been exploring the financial aspect of tuition, and how to pay for studying abroad.

Scholarships are Key

The number one thing that got me through school was scholarships and grants.  If you want to pay for school, apply, apply, apply.  The same holds true for studying abroad.  Not all US scholarships will pay for foreign study, but some will.  There are also typically many scholarships for foreign students (which you will be) in the country you’re planning on studying in.  Make sure you apply early, though.  Mel wrote a great piece about her experience studying abroad in the UK, and not having time to apply for scholarships was a part of that.  But she did find a way to pay and experienced some things she wouldn’t have in the states.

Teach at the University

When  you’re studying for a master’s, odds are there are teaching positions open for you in your field at the school. You work in conjunction with a professor, and the job typically involves a modest stipend in addition to a reduction of tuition costs, sometimes down to $0.  For example, if you’re getting a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) in the UAE, you can compete for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship.  This pays a small stipend and can reduce the cost of tuition significantly.  It may not be enough to pay for everything, but it can reduce your bill by a lot.  Just remember that you’ll actually be working, so finding a side gig may not be possible as you have to balance your time.

It May Just Be Flat Out Cheaper

Education in the US is incredibly expensive.  Many other countries simply don’t charge as much, so studying abroad may inherently be cheaper.  You have to be careful, though.  In Sweden, tuition is free to Swedes.  But if you’re an international student you’re looking at paying about $9,500/academic year or more.  If you’re staying for more than one year, you do get free health care, but that’s not going to make up for the costs unless something catastrophic happens to you, in which case you’ll probably have a hard time studying.

France, on the other hand, has very low tuition rates for both the French and their international students.  If you consider public universities over private ones, your cost will be about $310/academic year.  Which is dirt cheap enough to make me consider hopping on a plane.

Have you ever studied abroad?  Did you pay for the experience using funds other than student loans?



*This post is brought to you by AUS.  All content has been created by and is the opinion of Femme Frugality.*

7 thoughts on “How To Pay for Studying Abroad

  1. Money Saving

    My Sister studied abroad for free with a scholarship as you suggested. It really is a cool way to learn and absorb a culture at the same time. As you mentioned, it was also cheaper just to live in the area, which was also a nice plus!

    1. femmefrugality

      Nice! Where did she study? Paris seems like it would be inherently more expensive as far as cost of living goes, but other cities would definitely be cheaper.

  2. kay ~

    Great info, Ms. Femme! I’d go the French route if I were you. You’ve already got the name anyway, and the low cost plus the wonderful scenery sounds perfect. Just be sure to blog a lot while you’re there so we can live vicariously through you! 🙂

    1. femmefrugality

      Well, this dream is far off at best, but I’ll be sure to write a lot about it if I make it happen! Maybe the language would come back to me if I did take the France route…

  3. Chonce

    I studied abroad in Ireland and I loved it! It was super expensive though. To help cut the costs of my 4-week stay, I wrote an essay for a $1000 scholarship that I won, used some of my tax refund, and picked up extra hours at work. I still had to take a small Federal loan out but it would have been worse if I hadn’t tried to reduce the cost of the trip.

  4. Chela @SmashOdyssey

    I studied abroad three times while in undergrad, for a semester each time. These were fully funded by scholarships. My parents helped me out with spending money, but I never had a lot, so I definitely learned to travel light, and on a budget! I think this is where the seeds of my frugal ways were planted!


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