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Study Abroad or Save Money?

MidnightPurpleMidnightPurple Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
I am a current junior at a private college, and am trying to decide if I should study abroad in the fall of my senior year or not. I would like to go back to Japan to study abroad (I went on a 4 week summer program after my Freshmen year), but when I am a senior I will only need 4 more credits to graduate. Only 1 of my study abroad credits would potentially go towards my major, so I would still need 3-4 credits spring of my senior year.

My parents are doing their best to cover my tuition so I don't have an excessive amount of debt, but in doing so they are living paycheck to paycheck at home when my Dad's business isn't getting many orders. Still, they are heavily encouraging me to study abroad/saying they will support me abroad financially by saving any extra funds they have when business is good. After fully realizing I only need 4 credits next year and really thinking about how much my parents have already done for me over these past years in college, I feel it may be better for me to graduate in the fall or go my full senior year as a part-time student because then my parents would have extra money for themselves, and I could save up my own money to travel abroad after college. At the same time, everyone I talk to who has studied abroad calls it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is worth extra money, but most of those people also come from families where money isn't a concern.

I just don't feel confident in any decision right now, but have until February to decide one way or the other.

Thoughts?

Replies to: Study Abroad or Save Money?

  • techmom99techmom99 Registered User Posts: 3,198 Senior Member
    Would you be allowed to take an online class while you are studying abroad so that you could finish the additional credits at that time? Or could you finish those credits at a local college over the summer while at home? Either of those plans could avoid the costs of returning to your college for the spring semester.
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 1,846 Senior Member
    Just reading your post I think you answered your own question. You have already been there. I would consider yourself lucky for that experience. Unless your major needs this experience I think it's time to help your parents out. Paying for college is really expensive no matter who you are these days

    There are program that you can get back to Japan for free through the state department. My daughter did the one in Indonesia.

    https://clscholarship.org/

    These are competitive program but students were both undergraduate, and masters /PhD. So you have time. I am not sure if the applications are closed for the this year. There is also another known program like this that is also free.

    She loved the program and kids were from just about every type of college out there from Ivy to Lac.

    Just a suggestion
  • MidnightPurpleMidnightPurple Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    To techmom99, all my remaining credits are in my major. Unfortunately, my college doesn't offer online courses in my major and my major has specific requirements that aren't met by courses outside the college itself (the ENVS major had drastic changes made to it last year so the department at this time isn't accepting outside credits for any of their specific requirements, although they'll accept them as ENVS electives).

    To knowsstuff, I greatly appreciate you sharing the link to a different option, as that could help persuade my parents if I do decide to not study abroad in the fall. I think to an extent you are right that because I have been there I should consider myself lucky and call it a done deal, but summer programs through my college are not as long or as intensive as semester programs, and are structured extremely different. For these reasons, I don't feel having done the shorter summer program immediately erases the potential to go for a full semester.
    I do work two part-time jobs, and apply for additional scholarships every year to help my parents with my college expenses as much as possible. As I did for the summer program, I am exploring scholarships specifically for study abroad and saving up from my jobs before completely nixing the idea entirely (apologies for not including that in the original post asking for advice). At the same time, I now want to explore other study abroad options as well because, as you stated, there are programs for study abroad beyond just through one's own undergraduate university and those programs may be a better fit for me!
  • CharieMcCharieMc Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    As a parent myself, I am willing to make many sacrifices for my children. We don't have a lot of extra money but throw what we can at our children's desires to pursue their passions. One child has committed to paying us back for some Xtra expenses. One child refuses more help. One child happily accepts our help with much gratitude. It's sounds like you and your parents have very open and clear communication and are honest and respectful about your spending. If this is your heart's desire and your parents have agreed to pay, I would say "Go!!" Accept their desire to help with much gratitude and offer to reimburse them for some expenses if that feels right. It's heartbreaking for me when my one child refuses our help, even though I know he does it from a place of love and respect for us and our financial situation. Because he misses out on wonderful opportunities just to try to be financially prudent. There's a balance to be found and only you and your parents know where that balance point is.
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 1,846 Senior Member
    You can do this also. Free once your there. My daughter did this as part of her south east Asia trip.

    https://www.workaway.info

    They were great to her in Vietnam!
  • CharieMcCharieMc Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    If you are just looking to travel to Japan, then there are many, many cheap options to do that after graduation or in the summer. My previous comment was made in regards to what sounded like a strong interest in this one program specifically.

    Only you can know what you are really striving for. If it is just international travel, then, I, too, encourage you to forgo this opportunity and start exploring how to travel cheaply because it can be done very, very inexpensively.
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