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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Studying abroad is more affordable than you think

Illustration+by+Devon+Crew
Illustration by Devon Crew

When most students consider studying abroad, cost is one of the most prominent factors that raises concern. Although the upfront cost of studying in a different country might seem scary, it is actually more affordable than students believe.

Of course, there is no contest about the benefits of studying abroad. These unique experiences help students develop skills like leadership, adaptability and problem-solving. A study from the Institute for the International Education of Students reported that “79% of [study abroad] alumni found study abroad effective for developing job-related skills.”

It is understandable why cost would be one of the first things that people consider before taking the leap to a different educational setting. The tuition, program fees, flights and textbook costs add up quickly on paper. A common question that students might find themselves pondering is if it is cheaper to study abroad or just travel on their own.

Students who ask this question are typically unaware of all the economic assistance associated with education abroad. One of the greatest benefits of traveling for school is that students are eligible for financial aid, including grants and scholarships.

Monica Sorensen-Santos, a psychology and Spanish senior, who participated in both the Valladolid and Cuenca faculty-led programs in the summer, said her experience with financial aid was challenging, as some of the deadlines had already passed when she hoped to apply for aid.

“[The International Education Fee (IEF) Scholarship] covered like a third of the cost of the program,” Sorensen-Santos said. “I could have studied abroad for free, but I didn’t know about all of the opportunities until it was already kind of too late.”

The IEF Scholarship is an award that is offered through Texas State. According to the Education Abroad Office, the average awards are $1,500 for full semesters and $1,000 for the summer.

More scholarships for studying abroad offered through Texas State can be found on the Bobcat Online Scholarship System. This system filters scholarships with criteria specific to the student applying.

In addition to scholarships offered by Texas State, there are many external scholarships dedicated to students going abroad. One of the most well-known is the Gilman Scholarship. According to their website, over 41,000 of the applicants have received funding through the scholarship program.

There are multiple financial aid opportunities to study abroad; however, it is important for students to familiarize themselves with said opportunities in order to plan for applications accordingly. Therefore, it is likely best to start looking for aid long before you plan to leave the U.S.

Additionally, more than just classes are included when studying abroad. Depending on the program, financial aid can be utilized to cover the cost of fun excursions and extracurricular activities within program fees. Sorensen-Santos said things such as kayaking, hiking, flamenco classes and city exploration to places like Madrid and Segovia were additional activities that were included with her programs.

“It was totally worth the money,” Sorensen-Santos said. “If I was there by myself, I probably would have had to pay for all of that.”

Not only could these pre-planned activities save students money through group discounts and early reservation deals, but they also save students time. If time is money, then pre-planned activities allow students to instead use their free time more effectively.

Studying abroad provides a rich cultural immersion with friends and classmates for a great price that students are unable to get anywhere else.

You can’t put a price on a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Education abroad allows you to develop skills and gain a better understanding of a different way of life, as opposed to simply being a tourist in a space that is not your own.

-Madison Green is a psychology and advertising senior

The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinions Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.

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