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Budgeting for Study Abroad

For many students, a study abroad experience is the first time that they must manage their own living expenses. Many returnees report that they found this to be more challenging than expected. For some students, establishing and living within a budget may cause anxiety whereas others find reassurance and empowerment in the process. Students going abroad who carefully plan and adhere to their budget will be able to make the most of their unique situations as well as develop an important life skill.
FrommersDiversity Abroad, and Budget Your Trip* provide tips for how to travel on a budget. Each person’s budget is personal, and it will depend on their available funds, the cost of living in their host country, and their spending habits.
When planning a budget, students should remember to include the following costs:
  • local transportation
  • books
  • communication costs (international internet service for smart phones, computers, local cell phone service)
  • funds to attend cultural events
  • personal items (toiletries, school supplies, laundry, clothes)
  • meals and snacks
  • emergency medical costs
  • and excursions.
Program directors or partner program advisers should be able to provide an idea of estimated expenses, and students should confirm whether the estimates are in U.S. dollars or the local currency. After calculating necessary expenses, it is wise to add a cushion to the budget for unplanned needs, if able to do so.
Expenses that students usually need to pay in advance include passport applications or renewals, a confirmation deposit to secure their spot on the program, visa applications, airfare, and immunizations.
Additional Resources
*The Davidson College Office of Education Abroad does not endorse any of these items. The information is only for informational purposes and using any of them is at the sole discretion of each individual.