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Would being low-income prevent me from studying abroad?

NaperthrillNaperthrill Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
edited March 20 in Study Abroad
My family's income (for four members) is ~51,000 among other financial troubles. I want to major in Computer Science when I go to college. I was mainly looking at three countries: Australia, Spain (I've been taking Spanish for ~4 years and will have taken it for 5 years at the end of my Senior year of high school), or the United Kingdom. I want to study abroad for a summer or for a semester in college. Will I be able to considering my current financial situation?
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Replies to: Would being low-income prevent me from studying abroad?

  • suzyQ7suzyQ7 Registered User Posts: 2,921 Senior Member
    Do you have savings from a summer job? You will need money to spend abroad- but it doesn't have to be your parents money
  • NaperthrillNaperthrill Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    @suzyQ7 I haven't been able to get a summer job because I've been taking summer school and I cannot drive yet (I'm taking Driver's Ed this summer). I'm just wondering if I'll be eligible to study abroad. Someone told me I would be ineligible for a student visa if I'm low-income, and I'm unsure if they were lying or what.
  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing Registered User Posts: 683 Member
    Check on colleges' websites or ask financial aid departments. I believe I recall reading in one of the brochures my son received that financial aid follows students abroad. Sorry I can't answer more knowledgeably, but financial aid officers can.
  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers Registered User Posts: 2,021 Senior Member
    I doubt that student visas would depend on income if you're attending a program that cooperates with your home college. Usually the student pays tuition at home college and then attends school in foreign country. If you're a financial aid student, your home college should continue your aid and you should be covered while away. However, Depending on the country and your financial aid package it might be cheaper for you to take a gap semester and pay for your own trip, rather than pay US tuition. It's okay to take time off from school, but always check on the policies of the school you;re applying to. Each school has its own rules. Another thought is to take a gap year or semester or summer before you attend college. You can possibly work to save money for plane ticket and spending money and then work at a workaway position, which offers room and sometimes even one or two meals a day. see: workaway.info. Never go somewhere without first having a way to get home. Other ways for you to travel domestically can be found at Student Conservation Association; coolworks.com; volunteer.gov.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 23,754 Senior Member
    Some colleges will increase aid to cover study abroad in one of their programs. Some have a semester where there is no cost over the usual tuition. You need to check what your college choices offer. Easiest and least expensive are their programs. Outside ones may not offer transferable credits. And on top of their charges, your school may assess a place-holder fee (sometimes pretty high.)
  • RussianMomRussianMom Registered User Posts: 64 Junior Member
    edited March 21
    In some schools cost of semester abroad is actually cheaper than out of state regular tuition. My son is at HKUST this semester from GaTech CS major. He enjoys it very much, could not find better matched program comparing to schools in Europe. Explore all your options, many schools have campuses abroad now, summer semester or mini-mester could be an option too, look for scholarships from local government/school itself, plus you can always apply for internships abroad and "travel" that way. Good luck!
  • 2stemgirls2stemgirls Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    When my daughter filed for a student visa to the UK, it asked about income. That may explain the low income eligibility.

    I assume you haven't started college yet? You may want to include study abroad opportunities as part of your "want" criteria when you are evaluating schools. I wouldn't put it in the "need" bucket though. Look at the honors programs at your possible schools. Some honors colleges have scholarships or grants specritically for study abroad. Study and be prepared to argue why study abroad is not just a vacation.

    Would you be interested in different countries? You will also find that some locations are just more expensive than others. Australia plane tickets are a big $$ item not usually included in the program cost.
  • NaperthrillNaperthrill Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    @2stemgirls I'm pretty much set on those three countries. I'm not opposed to going to the UK or Spain though. Spain might be a good choice if I wanted to focus on language immersion.
  • HRSMomHRSMom Registered User Posts: 4,186 Senior Member
    You will need $ to get there and back...so a job will be a must.
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 10,960 Senior Member
    @Naperthrill If money is an issue, stay away from Europe. Look for programs in Mexico or Central/South America if you decide on Spanish, or Africa/Asia for a different type of experience. The latter in particular may cost you more in airfare, but a whole lot less once you're there.
  • NaperthrillNaperthrill Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    edited March 24
    @katliamom The thing is, I'm also looking for a level of comfort and familiarity to the United States that I don't think I can find in any of those countries (from personal experience, I know that Asian countries are vastly different from Western ones). That's why I was looking at European countries and Oceania, because they're more similar to the United States so there wouldn't be an immense amount of culture shock.
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 10,960 Senior Member
    edited March 24
    @Naperthrill -- then I think you're missing at least part the point of study abroad, which is to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. But if you want to go to Europe - and then not be able to afford to travel, eat out or hang out in bars and cafes with your friends - then go to Europe. Just don't be surprised when you find yourself feeling poor!
  • NaperthrillNaperthrill Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    edited March 24
    @katliamom Wow, no need to be so hostile.

    I think there's more reasons for studying abroad than just going beyond your comfort zone. Also, I think my parents will be more comfortable with me going to European countries as well because they'd be concerned about my safety in some of the options you listed.

    I also don't think you have a good understanding of what low-income means. You don't have to live in a cardboard box to be classified as low-income. I'm sure using some of the tips that other users gave me I will be able to afford to travel and eat.
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 10,960 Senior Member
    edited March 24
    OK. You know best. Me, someone who studied abroad, whose children studied abroad, who works in international education -- me, I know nothing. (PS Why on earth do you say you'd be safer in Europe? Did you read the newspaper this week?)
  • NaperthrillNaperthrill Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    edited March 24
    @katliamom I'm an immigrant and I have family members on all habitable continents except for South America and Africa so I know a thing or two about travelling as well (sorry if that comes off as braggadocios, but I'm just being matter-of-fact). When comparing crime rates, Europe in general is safer than many parts of Africa, Asia and Central/South America. One terrorist attack does not change that fact.

    I also don't know why you said "you know best" and "me, I know nothing". You're implying that I said that to you, when at no point in my replies did I question your knowledge of other countries or assert that I have greater knowledge of those countries/continents than you do. All I did was explain why I wanted to go to Europe/Oceania instead of the other continents that you listed. It was not a personal attack against you, it was a list of my preferences. I thought that was fairly clear, but maybe I thought wrong.

    Also, if you're going to be rude to someone because they didn't immediately accept your advice, then maybe you shouldn't be giving out advice. I was honestly shocked when you edited your comment and said, "Just don't be surprised when you find yourself feeling poor!". How incredibly unwarranted and condescending.
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