It Pays to Be Prepared: Budgeting for Study Abroad


Photo by Jessica Wohlers.

You’ve made up your mind to study abroad, you’ve been accepted into an ISA program and your pre-departure forms and payment are well under way. This is the perfect time to prepare for the additional expenses that you will likely face while studying abroad. It’s always best to be aware and prepared, so keep the following in mind before your departure:

  • Airfare You will be responsible for purchasing airfare to get to your host country. This expense will vary depending on the location of your program.
  • Books & Supplies You will be responsible for purchasing the required books and course materials for your program once you are abroad. The cost of books and supplies overseas tends to be less than the average cost of books and supplies here in the United States; however, this expense will vary depending on the location of your program.
  • Miscellaneous/Personal Expenses It’s a good idea to consider various day to day incidentals while determining your study abroad budget. Some of these expenses might include toiletries, snacks, taxi or bus fares, and souvenir shopping. The average cost of these miscellaneous expenses will depend on your spending habits as well as the cost of living in your host city.
  • Meals (If Applicable) The cost of meals is included in most ISA programs, however, some programs do not include the cost of meals. Before your departure, it’s important to know whether or not you will be responsible for the cost of meals so that you can be prepared for that additional expense. Even for those students whose meals are included in the program, it’s always a good idea to budget for any outside meals that you may want to have for birthdays or other special occasions.
  • Independent Travel: While studying abroad, most students love to explore not only their host city, but also surrounding cities and/or countries. If you plan to travel before, during or after your ISA program, then you will definitely want to keep that in mind while planning your budget.
  • Emergency Funds: ISA participants are advised to take a credit card abroad or maintain readily accessible emergency funds in the event that they need to make on-site payment for any medical or other unexpected expenses.

While it’s impossible to prepare for each and every expense that could arise during your time abroad, it’s in every student’s best interest to be aware of potential expenses and plan accordingly. If you have any questions about estimated expenses that pertain to your specific ISA program, please contact financialaid@studiesabroad.com. Happy budgeting!