What is study abroad?
Study abroad is an opportunity for your student to spend time studying in another country. There are both high school and college study abroad opportunities for students. Students usually earn course credit for studying abroad, and the experiences they have can be life-changing. It’s a great way for your student to see the world and experience new cultures while staying on track toward their diploma or high school degree. The experience will also look good on their resume, as many employers look for varied experiences when choosing job candidates.
How should my student prepare for study abroad?
Your student should expect to spend about nine months planning for their study abroad program — that way they’ll have more than enough time to prepare without stressing out. They should start by having a conversation with their high school counselor or their college’s study abroad office, or by attending a study abroad info session to get some background information and begin considering their study abroad options. If they’re in college, your student should also connect with their academic advisor, who can guide them on how they can participate in study abroad and still stay on track toward their degree. Talking with other students who have studied abroad can also be valuable.
How much does studying abroad cost?
It’s hard to say what the average study abroad trip costs because every person and program is different. Your student can search and apply for study abroad scholarships, which can help pay for part or all of their trip. Getting a part-time job can also be a big help in affording the study abroad experience.
Your college student may also be able to use financial aid, but exactly how much of their trip it covers will vary. They should look at the cost sheet for the trip they are interested in — some items are listed as billable and some as non-billable. The non-billable items help estimate costs, and if your student receives financial aid, their cost of attendance will automatically be reassessed when they apply for a program for more aid based on that cost sheet.
When calculating the price, remind your student to consider the cost of living in the country they will be visiting — a week in London will cost more than a week in the Dominican Republic, so they should plan accordingly. And depending on where they’re studying, your student may want to plan weekend trips to surrounding cities or countries. They should make sub-budgets for those experiences.
Studying abroad is an amazing experience. The earlier your student starts planning, the more time they’ll have to start saving, budgeting and applying for scholarships.