How to Arrange Your Own Study...
How to Arrange Your Own Study...
How to Arrange Your Own Study Abroad Program (4/5)
29 April, 2009 18:02
This is the fourth article of a series of 5, explaining how to arrange your own study abroad program.
First article: Decide Where to Go
Second article: Determine When to Go
Third article: Language Problems and Programs
How to Pay for It
The main obstacle to study abroad for many people is the cost.
However, there are ways of getting around this. For instance, if you
are an American college or graduate student and receive financial aid,
you can almost always apply your financial aid from your present
institution to the study abroad program you choose. European students
should investigate the Erasmus
program. In any case, you will need to contact the financial aid office
at your school and make the necessary arrangements. This may require a
few extra steps and a somewhat longer period of time, so don't put this
task off until the last minute.
It is less likely that you will be able to arrange financial aid
directly with the host institution, but not impossible. Some programs
do offer scholarships; however, these scholarships are almost always
very competitive. The best advice is to prepare as good an application
as possible, but don't count on scholarships from the host institution
for all or even most of your funding. Volunteer programs may provide a
small stipend or free room and board in exchange for your
participation. If you are studying at the graduate school level, you
might also consider grants or fellowships such as the Fulbright,
although the competition for these grants is also very competitive. In
addition, deadlines for grants and scholarships often fall a year in
advance, and two years in advance is not out of the question.
Especially for American professionals, if your study abroad program
relates to your job, you should inquire about company reimbursement.
You may also qualify for a tax deduction. If you are enrolled for
college credit during your study abroad program, you may qualify for
deferment on your student loans. Participants in volunteer programs
such as the Peace Corps, or another qualified nonprofit organization,
may be able to obtain a deferment, partial loan cancellation, or both.
This is especially true for American students with federally guaranteed
loans. Check with your school or loan institution for details. In any
event, it is essential to keep good records of your expenses and retain
all your receipts.
It may also be possible to work at least part time during your study
abroad program. If you are a young adult (generally aged 18 to 30,
although the exact limits vary by country), you may qualify for a
"holiday visa" which would permit you to work. Young adults who are
good with children can also work as au pairs. If you have good English
skills , and particularly if you have ESL (English as a Second
Language) teaching certification, your skills will be in demand
worldwide. If you are a professional or entrepreneur, you may qualify
for a "business visa" which allows you to conduct some work while you
pursue your study abroad program. Inquire with your host institution,
or check the official website of the country you are visiting. .
In some instances, you may not need a work visa at all. For
instance, if you are a freelancer who conducts much (or all) of your
work through the Internet, you will almost certainly be able to
generate income wherever you go, without restriction. All you need is
your computer and reliable Internet access, and perhaps a cell phone,
although many freelancers use services such as Skype and instant message services to communicate with their clients in real time.
If none of these situations applies to your case, any you would like to work during your study abroad program, The Big Guide to Living and Working and Overseas and CIEE (Council for International Educational Exchange)
are excellent sources for information. If all else fails, for shorter
programs, it may be feasible to set aside savings to pay expenses out
of pocket. In any event, you may have to demonstrate that you have
sufficient funds (or other means to support yourself) to cover your
The links below are for scholarships and other aid available for study
abroad programs. More information can be found on the Internet.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
GoAbroad.com Scholarship Links
Study Abroad Financial Aid and Grants
CEA Global Education Solutions
All of the major tasks are done! There are only a few loose ends
left, which will be covered in the next article, which is the last of
Freelance writer based in Chicago