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Options for Saving Money Before and While Studying Abroad

Options for Saving Money Before and While Studying Abroad


From Uganda to Japan, about 50 percent of Northwest students choose to go abroad during their time at NU, according to the Global Learning Office. However, with the varying costs of participating in the more than 150 GLO programs available, financing a study abroad experience can be quite difficult. The Daily is here to showcase money-saving options.

For unaffiliated programs, funding options are limited to scholarships. However, NU offers need-based aid for NU programs, Global Engagement Studies Institute, Northwest Exchange, and affiliated programs.

Needs-Based Help

GLO works closely with NU's financial aid office to determine financial aid programs, said GLO Director Sara Tully. The aid covers tuition, food, cost of living, books and travel to the site, according to Tully.

“We have the cost of attendance calculations for each program,” Tully said. “The range is quite wide.”

For programs that cost more than a quarter at NU, aid will be increased, and for federal work-study students, a subsidized loan will replace those funds, according to the GLO website.

There is also the Bridge Builder program, which covers the cost of round-trip airfare if financial aid has not yet been disbursed to the student's account. Once the aid is applied, the school will be reimbursed.

Loans and Grants

Similar to on-campus undergraduate programs, students can take out loans to cover their study abroad. Tully said this aid is often used as a supplement for students whose aid does not cover the full cost of their experience.

Students can also apply for scholarships to help cover the cost of study abroad programs during the academic year and summer.

The scholarships are especially beneficial for students participating in unaffiliated programs, since NU aid does not cover unaffiliated programs.

General advice and planning

One thing that financial aid does not take into account is travel to other locations, which is a common activity while studying abroad. Tully said experience fairness is something GLO cares about and is trying to improve.

Sophia Vlahakis, a sophomore at Medill, plans to study in Madrid next fall and said she will look for cheap transportation and lodging when she travels to other cities.

“I know I'm going to want to travel to big cities, but I'm going to look to stay in the outskirts and I'm very open to the idea of ​​staying in hostels or sharing a room with as many people as possible,” said Vlahakis.

Tully said GLO offers several financial trainings, information sessions and budgeting workshops as part of its pre-departure program. She said budgeting with foreign currencies can be “more complicated,” especially for American students.

Weinberg senior Sophie Brill, who studied in Copenhagen last fall, said it's also important when planning to pay attention to where you study abroad, as some cities have a higher cost of living higher than others.

“I wish I had spent more time learning how studying abroad in different places would impact me financially,” Brill said. “I had to be very disciplined during the week at school, trying to prepare food and not eating out, and not spending a lot of money outside of traveling.”

Tully said deciding when to study abroad can also impact the total cost. She added that studying abroad during the summer can be a less expensive option, although it adds an extra term for financial planning.

Although studying abroad can bring in a lot of money, planning ahead, talking to financial advisors, and using available resources can help minimize costs.

E-mail: [email protected]

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