When it comes to studying abroad, many students have thought of taking a leap across the pond (or maybe across the country) more than once. However, many struggle to turn this dream into a reality, as finances often form a seemingly-impassable blockade.
As a financially independent student, this was the case for me. Thankfully, with the help of SEU’s Global Education (Study Abroad) program, I will be able to study abroad for a whole year next fall, first at the University of Oxford and then in a domestic program in Washington, D.C. (check out other domestic programs such as the Music Business program in Nashville and Student Teaching program in Hawaii). I’m excited to share with you how I was able to make my study abroad dream happen and how you can too!
Study Abroad with SEU
Did you know that SEU allows you to apply most, if not all, of your institutional aid to an SEU Global Education-approved program? This includes academic merit scholarships (up to $16,000), honors scholarships ($3,000), ministry grants (up to $1,500), and other financial aid offered at SEU. In most cases, you can apply your state and federal aid as well, including Bright Futures scholarships and Pell grants.
SEU is dedicated to making sure our students receive a world-class education, so most study abroad programs offered through the university are comparable in cost to a typical college semester.
Apply for Scholarships
You probably applied for scholarships when you were preparing for college, but what you may not know is that there are numerous scholarships available for students studying abroad. Many of these scholarships are based on academic merit, but there are also a surprising amount of scholarships available specifically for underrepresented students, whether that be based on financial need, ethnicity, or major.
Scholarship websites such as Go Abroad, Scholarships.com, Go Overseas, and Study Abroad are great places to find smaller, less well-known scholarships, or you can search for scholarships within your own state or town. Here is a brief list of the best scholarships available for specific demographics:
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship (for students with financial need)
Gilman-McCain Scholarship (for dependents of active duty service members)
Boren Scholarship (for students studying in unrepresented countries)
Fund for Education Abroad (for underrepresented study abroad students, such as minority and first generation students)
Explore the World Travel Scholarship (for students with financial need)
In addition to scholarships and financial aid, another great way to save up for study abroad is by budgeting the funds you already have. Here are some of the best money saving tips that have helped me immensely.
Pick Up an Extra Job
This method is pretty straightforward, but it’s effective. If you have extra time during the summer or even the school year, try picking up an extra job. There are several student jobs available across campus, from being a Teaching Assistant (TA) to working in the library. Plus, you’ll have the motivation to keep saving so you can reach that country you’ve been dreaming of visiting.
Cut Back on Luxuries
If you’re like me, you’re a bit tired of hearing that skipping the $5 coffee everyday will save you thousands. However, there is a bit of truth in this saying. If you’re pressed for study abroad funds, perhaps you could temporarily put off eating out or buying new clothes and set that money aside for your trip. This may not save you thousands, but $10 here and there can truly make a difference the earlier you start saving.
Create a Designated Savings Account
Along the same lines, creating a designated savings account is a great motivator to visualize your study abroad trip goal and to discourage you from spending that hard-earned money before it’s time. It’s also a great way to keep tabs on how much in funds you have saved. In most cases, you can simply open a new account from your mobile banking app, making it quick and easy.
Many banks, such as Bank of America, and apps, such as Chime, also offer an option to round up change from your purchases and transfer them to your savings account. You can also set up automatic transfers to put small amounts of each paycheck into your “Study Abroad” savings account automatically.
With the help of these tips, you’ll be able to go out and truly make the world your classroom! For more information, schedule a meeting with the Global Education department to map out your personalized study abroad plan. Happy travels!
Article by Madi Schaaf, Student Writer