• Taylor Isenberg

How to afford a study abroad experience

Many students in college may consider going on a short-term or long-term study abroad trip to enhance their resume, problem-solving skills, education or even just to get college credit for learning outside of the classroom.

But, for some, the finances surrounding the cost of a trip may be difficult to attain. A study abroad experience is extremely valuable, so students should do all they can to afford going on one of the trips. Here are 8 ways to help you afford a study abroad trip.


Ask for donations

Asking for donations for a study abroad trip is completely normal. Students have created Go Fund Me accounts as well as asking family members or friends to donate. For example, a student at North Carolina State University recently posted a Go Fund Me page requesting donations for his study abroad to the United Kingdom to study animal research pertaining to his desired career of a veterinarian. He raised $640 to help fund his trip.

You also can send letters to those you know asking for money. If the study abroad involves mission work or is faith-based, many people will donate money to a good cause. Meta Fleischhut, who attends the Rochester Church of Christ, a neighbor of Rochester University, raised money for her mission trip to Honduras by sending out fundraising letters.

“I raised $1,500 that covered the entire trip through sending letters to friends and family,” Fleischhut said. “I even raised extra money that went to other students who hadn’t completely raised the money yet.”


Can drive

Collect cans and plastic bottles from around your house and take them to the grocery store for recycling. In Michigan, you earn 10 cents for every can that you recycle. Every can or bottle adds up, and some have raised hundreds of dollars through collecting.


Part-time job

Retailers and restaurants are always looking for part-time help. Hit up your local mall or apply to your favorite store or restaurant to begin collecting a part-time paycheck. Most places will pay above minimum wage, especially if it isn’t your first job. If you need certain items for your trip, such as a hiking backpack or a good pair of jeans or shoes, try applying to work at a store that is known for quality travel gear. You’ll earn money to save for your trip, and you’ll also get an employee discount, which you can use to purchase needed travel items.


Odd jobs

Odd jobs are a good way to make a little extra money on the side. Whether it’s babysitting, dog walking or house sitting, a variety of options are available. Websites such as SitterCity.com and Care.com put you in touch with parents looking for caregivers for their children. SitterCity gives you the option to see their schedule and when they need you prior to talking to them, while Care.com has an option to be a certified caregiver, meaning more parents will look at your application faster. Rover.com puts you in contact with dog owners looking for dog sitters or dog walkers during the day.


Sell your junk

Go through your closet or storage area for items that are of good quality that you aren’t using anymore. Selling platforms like eBay or Facebook Marketplace are good places to list your items. Mercari, another selling site, lets you list just about anything from clothes to home decor. If you still have a textbook for a class that’s over, Amazon is the best option for selling or renting out textbooks. Not only will selling some junk help you make some extra dough, but it’ll help you if you’re the type to hold onto things you aren’t using. Depop is a good app for selling your clothes, as many fans of vintage and thrifty clothing are often selling and buying gently used items there.


Uber and Lyft

Apply to be an Uber or Lyft driver to make some extra money without the commitment of a part-time job. You get to choose your own hours as an Uber driver and get to choose you who give rides to. Be careful with this option, as you never know who is on the other side of a phone or account. But, this is an overall good option if you have a car and a good driving record.


40/60 Rule

Once you get your paycheck, save 60% of the check, and use the other 40% as spending money. For example, If you have a $100 check, $60 would go into savings and $40 would be your spending money to use on Starbucks or Target runs.


Budgeting

Budgeting is a huge part of saving money for something special. If you aren’t a fan of the 40/60 rule, or need something more strict, here are some in-depth tips. “Estimate your after-tax income, fixed expenses and variable expenses. Fixed expenses are items that do not change each month, like rent or a car payment. Variable expenses can fluctuate each month and you have more control over them, like food, clothing, entertainment,” said Lisa Postelwait, assistant vice president of finance at Oklahoma University Medicine. “Identify the amount to set aside for the trip each month and set it aside first,” Postelwait said. Examples of variable expenses are eating out, entertainment subscriptions and anything you don’t have to have to keep living like food, water, shelter and clothing.


So follow these tips to save money so that you can afford to learn by studying abroad!

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