This is the third in a contributor series by Stephanie Brown. You can read the first here. Check back next issue for the next chapter of The Long Commute.
So let’s talk money, because I know you are all wondering about it. There are three main things to think about when studying abroad. First, many people don’t realize that when you study abroad at an institution that is affiliated with your home university, you pay your tuition to your home university, which saves a ton of money. For instance, I’m only allowed to take four classes a semester, but have to pay for a full (five) course load at VIU. Even though I’m paying for a class I’m not taking, it’s still much cheaper than transferring to a university in another country and paying tuition directly to them.
The next major funding issue I wish I had known about before jetting of was that applying for student loans is completely different if you study in another country for one semester. If your break between semesters is longer than one month, you must submit two student loan applications. I wasn’t aware of this, so I had to submit paperwork admitting I made a mistake (which means I owed the difference back to them), and then reapply. Whatever I am granted will be applied to the amount I owe. It may work out fie in the end, but it is a huge hassle. Save yourself the headache and, as soon as you know that you plan to study abroad, talk to someone at the Financial Aid Office.
Finally, when it comes to managing funds in another country, let yourself of the hook. You have now saved or received your funds, you have paid your tuition and housing, and you have landed in your new country with your flight bill long in the past. It’s important to include currency conversions in your budget—which is important to have—but don’t forget to actually enjoy your time and get the most memorable experience you can. This is the part of your trip that is priceless, and you should enjoy it. Give yourself a break and remember that you may never be here again, so buy that coffee, even if it costs you $6