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Would being low-income prevent me from studying abroad?


Replies to: Would being low-income prevent me from studying abroad?

  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 11,219 Senior Member
    Not condescending, not unwarranted. Just realistic.
  • NaperthrillNaperthrill Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    edited March 24
    @katliamom I'd argue that no, it's not "just realistic". Given the information that others have already provided, I will be able to eat and travel just fine. I may not have all the amenities, but from what I've read, if I work hard, I will have enough to make the trip enjoyable. Like I said, low-income does not necessarily mean I live in a cardboard box and that I'm struggling to survive.

    No need to start drama over a question about studying abroad.
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 2,649 Senior Member
    I think that this depends upon where you go, and on what sort of exchange programs your university offers. In many cases you pay just what you would pay to your home university, so that the additional expenses are only the flights and spending money. I have heard that in some cases you might be able to get scholarships to cover the flights, and additional expenses if there are any. It is possible that in some cases costs might be lower.

    Australia is of course very beautiful, in many cases reasonably priced once you get there, but a very long way away. Thus the cost of flights might be an issue unless you can get a scholarship to cover it. The UK in my experience might be a bit pricey. I don't have experience with Spain, but have heard that it is nice and not particularly expensive. If you live in a northern part of the US, or if you are willing to drive for some distance, then if nothing else works you could take a semester in Canada without needing a flight. There are a lot of very good universities there and the exchange rate is currently very favorable for Americans.

    We have some experience with high school exchanges, and all were very positive and a huge success.

    Good luck with this. I think that there is a good chance that you can get something to work.
  • HRSMomHRSMom Registered User Posts: 4,188 Senior Member
    Low income on here generally means under $50k for a family of 4. So that would mean no $ for extras. This is why you got the advice you did.

    If you will have $ from summers or family to spend and buy plane tickets, then you should be fine.
  • NaperthrillNaperthrill Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    edited March 26
    @HRSMom That's still not low enough for @katliamom to say, "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!", nor is any income low enough to warrant that kind of reaction from an adult. Judging from her replies, she was just frustrated that I didn't immediately accept her advice.

    Moving past that kerfuffle, I've gone to Asia with my family before and our income is around the number that you listed (probably less at the time we went), but we still had money for extras. I know that different countries have different levels of costliness, but I feel like people perceive a ~50k income as way less than it actually is. Anyway, I'm going primarily for my education, and whatever I see along the way, I see along the way.

    Also, I think this thread derailed a little because I was initially wondering if low-income students were denied from study abroad programs. I wasn't really asking if I'd have enough money for amenities. Regardless, thank you for your advice.
  • HRSMomHRSMom Registered User Posts: 4,188 Senior Member
    They are definitely not excluded! I think if you have a bit saved from working summers, Europe may be fine. (It is incredibly expensive, but you can adjust:)
  • NaperthrillNaperthrill Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    @HRSMom That gives me peace of mind. Thank you!
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,164 Senior Member
    It depends very much on how your college handles financial aid and going abroad. Do you pay the same thing whether you are at the college or abroad? Does the program cover airfare, room, board? Might you college help with incidental expenses if you are on financial aid? Etc. Some colleges really go all out to ensure that their poorest students can study abroad, some do less.

    Add it to the list of things to look into as you research colleges. Most college web sites explain the study abroad/financial aid situation. If they do not, ask.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 14,103 Senior Member
    My daughter is on semester abroad right now. She did the one through her school and it is actually cheaper for her than paying tuition and living on campus. She did get an extra $1000 from their study abroad program (thank you Dick Cheney!)

    Her school has 3 options for study abroad. 1) the school's program to London. All financial aid is the same as if you are going to school on campus, and you just pay the program (school processed spring FA early, so we could pay program on time). You do have all your outside expenses to pay, like passport, visa (if you are going to work in the UK), travel. 2) exchange programs that school has agreements with. Your FA is available (including school merit awards) but the tuition is set by the hosting school. Some are quite high. Again, all expenses are yours. 3) arrange your own program. The school will work with you but can't guarantee FA can be used and you'll have to do all the footwork yourself. This can be very cheap, but more hassle. You also have all the choices in the world, so can go to any country you want and can afford.

    There are a number of programs in choice #2, but you can't just say you want to go to Turkey and have a program available. I looked at a few and the Australian schools were very expensive. Italy too.

    Daughter did #1 because she is low income and it is the cheapest and easiest. She's had a ton of things to do in London, went to Paris last weekend, but has not traveled around Europe (and north Africa) as my niece did when she did her semester in Aix France. Why? Money. Daughter has spent about $2000 (above tuition, air fare, room and breakfasts), which had to pay for books, food, entrance fees, coffee coffee and more coffee. She has a bus ticket and a student ID that covers a lot of costs. She has a class that takes her to a lot of museums and historic sites. Her freshman roommate went on the program last year and went to 8 countries; she had more money to spend.

    When you are looking at colleges, see what programs they have that can save you money and what program will cost you more than your FA will cover.

    Another option my daughter has is to go on a summer program through our state university (not her home school). For example, there is a 6 week language immersion program to France this summer. Pretty inexpensive, but Europe is more expensive in the summer and more crowded. She wouldn't have a lot of travel time as the classes are compressed for the shorter program. She's be able to use the state aid program for reduced tuition, but her other FA is used up for the year.
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 8,969 Senior Member
    Instead of studying abroad, wouldn't earning money and getting experience through a coop or internship be more valuable for a CS major?
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,164 Senior Member
    edited March 28
    ^ why for a CS major in particular @mommdc ? Presumably a co-op or internship would earn money and provide work experience for anyone, but unless one attends a co-op school neither one is typically available during the school year nor does either one earn course credit as study abroad programs generally do. Study abroad doesn't replace work, it replaces a semester of class.

    CS majors can fulfill their course requirements abroad, major courses, gen eds, electives....all depends on the program selected and the major requirements at the home college.
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 8,969 Senior Member
    I meant if money is tight, then working or an internship might be better than taking classes abroad? CS majors can make good money during coops/internships.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,164 Senior Member
    True, but they still need 8 semesters of school, generally speaking. College policies regarding study abroad and financial aid determine the ease with which they might they do that at their home institution or abroad for any given semester. In some cases the semester abroad is cheaper than, or the same as, the ones done at home...it just depends.

    I agree internships are an important piece of the puzzle and can be a good opportunity to earn money, but IME are generally most available in summer, except co-ops I suppose.

    Either way it seems like apples and oranges.
  • magellan26magellan26 Registered User Posts: 176 Junior Member
    Haha, I felt "poor as heck" when I studied abroad - but that's because I budgeted my money really well - and made it last a year for me. Once or twice I over-spent and I was totally broke for a week or so, but I had plenty of food stashed at home, so it all worked out! :)

    If you are thinking about Spain, have a look at this page. I think you might find it interesting.


    Housing costs and living costs in Spain are less than all other countries in Western Europe except for Portugal. It's a great country with more to it than meets the eye and I found studying abroad in Spain to be a greater learning experience than I ever imagined. (But I also put in a hard year's work and lots of study to gain what I learned.)

    If you go to Madrid or Barcelona, it will be more expensive than if you went to Alicante, Salamanca, Malaga, or Granada (or other smaller cities like Oviedo or Leon.)

    My family didn´t have the resources for me to study abroad - but I did research and found the types of programs you will see on studyabroadinspain.com - the low cost of those programs really eased the financial burden on me - and actually made it possible for me to study abroad.

    Hope this helps you out and gives you some ideas!

    Good luck!
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 1,457 Senior Member
    Australia used to have an $18000 financial proof requirement on landing. It Is an incredibly expensive country for anyone but not exactly an experience abroad IMO. Everyone feels poor in Australia LOL. .
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