Where and when you study abroad, as well as the program you choose, will affect your overall costs. Semester and year-long students pay Brown tuition and pay any non-tuition program fees, like room and board, to their program. Knowing the non-tuition fees and estimated on site costs for your program will help you determine whether your semester abroad will cost less or more than a semester on campus.
When researching your overall program costs, items to keep in mind include:
- local transportation
- health insurance
- passport and visa expenses
- personal living expenses (including cell phone)
- personal travel
For fall, spring, and academic-year programs, most forms of financial aid and grants can be applied to your semester abroad. For summer programs, most forms of financial aid do not apply.
Learning how to budget your money while abroad will take some time and careful observation. Peer advisors and other returned students are good resources for information and advice on how to manage your finances abroad.
- Have a budget and know what you can spend. Keep a daily expense account the first couple of weeks to be able to plan a budget for your entire stay.
- Keep an eye on the exchange rate. Try not to think in terms of dollars, although when you first arrive, it is expected. Never exchange money outside of official banks or exchange offices. You can check exchange rates and currency conversions at XE Currency Converter.
- You will probably spend more money on arrival than at any other point. Be prepared. You are still unfamiliar with where to find the best bargains and with the exchange rate.
- Know that some businesses may not accept debit/credit cards, ‘swipe’ credit cards, or credit cards without a PIN number.
- Be alert for special rates and discounts wherever you go, and know what is available in terms of youth or student discounts with your college/university ID, or consider purchasing an International Student Identity Card (ISIC).
- When you travel, consider staying in youth or student hostels. Unlike hotels, which cater to tourists and business travelers, hostels are inexpensive, usually dorm-style hotels for young people found in many countries of the world.