How to Pay Less for your Semester Abroad
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How to Pay Less for your Semester Abroad



How to Pay Less for Your Semester Abroad

How to Pay Less for Your Semester Abroad



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How to Pay Less for your Semester Abroad How to Pay Less for your Semester Abroad Presentation Transcript

  • spend a semester abroad, travel, help people, do amazing activities, make friends & see the world?
  • Have you thought about how to pay for it? Or how to pay less? …or going for free? A few simple tips could save you THOUSANDS, and we’ve got of them for you.
  • . Every organization will have costs that you didn’t expect to pay, but one that is poorly ogranized will have more of those. Some programs will advertise a cheaper cost but end up costing more after including “surprises” they didn’t mention. Don’t sacrifice program quality for cost.
  • Check each of these parts of your program... “Hello, Mr. Li. My roof is leaking, can you have it fixed please?” “Umm...ok?” “It’s okay! Put buckets where it drips & I will put straw over roof next Spring.” Who do you depend on? Is a representative of the organization with you in the country? If a problem happens (say a school insists you teach 40 hours a week instead of 15), can you go to the organization or do you have to rely on the foreign person that might have created the problem in the first place?
  • Will you do what you think you are going to do? How sure are you that “Teaching English” doesn’t mean talking to 60 kids in a 1-hour class or that helping at a hospital doesn’t mean putting up signs and taking pictures while others actually help?
  • What is the length of time in-country? Most of your costs are spent getting you over there. You shouldn’t have to pay much more for a longer stay in-country. In-country support. How much training and coaching do you get? Availability. Try calling your organization at midnight. Seriously! Is there a system in place to get through for help if you absolutely have to contact them while you are in a foreign country? 12 Salt Lake City 12 Bangkok 12 Rio de Janeiro
  • Talk to others who have been on the program. It doesn’t matter how much information the organization gives you. Talk with 2 or 3 people who have already been before committing.
  • Teachers R Us Bob’s Adventure Club ILP Airfair Visa Program Length 9 months In Country Support Internet Access Vacation Time 3 weeks 4-5 months Compare apples to apples while you shop programs. Is airfare included? Visas? How long? Additional fees? Support? Is there travel and cultural opportunities provided, or are you just dropped off in the country? Are you volunteering your time with a program that is creditable and successful?
  • A lot of people have even better experiences abroad by going with a friend and many organizations offer discounts for going with a friend (even if you are married to that friend!) Save money by referring friends. Even if you don’t actually go with your friend, many organizations give discounts for referring people that go somewhere with the organization.
  • . Once you’ve experienced a semester abroad, you will probably want to go again, maybe multiple times. You can save a lot of money if your first experience is with an organization that provides discounts or incentives for going more than once. For example, ILP lets you go for free & even pays for personal expenses to go a second (or third or fourth time) as a group leader.
  • ... in Hungary ... in Lithuania “I have been to 10 countries and FREE only had to pay for the first one!” -Jen, ILP volunteer Jen in China... ... in Estonia ... in Mexico ... in the Czech Republic
  • Many people don’t want to/can’t rely on their parents for the full cost of their semester abroad. Even if they can’t pay the full cost, maybe they can help with part of it. Here are some ideas on how to ask for help from your parents… Work for them. Paint the house, build that retaining wall, iron your dad’s shirts, or re-decorateyour room for your mom to use while you are gone.
  • garage sale Sacrifice unused things Take that old car to the junk yard, have a garage sale and get rid of all those old clothes, or sell the unused desk sitting in the garage. Use your power reasoning Negotiate with the reasoning of this being a real life education, helping others, same cost as school, essential to college, mission prep, etc. Match your contributions See if they can match what you save in a given period, what others donate, or what you save by cutting back on something you like (cheaper apartment, cheaper phone). I pay You pay If a 1:1 match is too high, have them match 1:2 (their amount: your amount). Heck, 1:5 is better than 0 if that’s all you can get!
  • Use tax deductions Instead of giving you that awesome thing they were eyeing for your birthday, have them donate the $$ (plus amount of the tax deduction if you are going with a non-profit) toward your semester abroad. They can at least pay the amount THEY save by donating gifts.
  • Break it into smaller “chunks” airfare cost they would have paid for college tuition 1/3 of the program fee spending money supplies Parents can focus on paying for just a certain part of your trip.
  • . Donations In-Kind If they won’t donate money, many stores are willing to donate supplies you need for your trip. Think Local Local businesses where you or your family members are a customer may be able to help. Go Big Many businesses and larger corporations have donation-matching programs. Every Bit Helps Ask co-workers and church groups if they have any supplies they don’t need that could be donated.
  • Fundraising Get the ILP Fundraising Packet after you apply to receive more detailed information on how to make a strategy, who to contact, what to say, and lots of great information from people who have successfully fundraised already.
  • How Mckall fundraised $1,000 “I went in the summer and decided to have a giant yard sale to raise part of my program fee. I went onto and spent a month collecting free stuff from the classifieds section. I also received donations from friends and family. Finally, after I had gathered enough "junk", I posted an ad on KSL for my yard sale. On the day, it was CRAZY. So many people came and I sold almost all the stuff I had collected. I was able to raise $1,000 that day. It was the best feeling and totally worth it.” Don’t underestimate fundraising!
  • You may be able to get a couple hundred dollars for your car, your bike, or other things that you won’t be needing when you are gone. Just put them up for sale online. (Be sure to get your parents and uncles to agree to match the amount of money you raise from selling your stuff!) Remember how Mckall raised $1,000 at her garage sale? Get paid for plasma! (Okay, just kidding, there are much better ways to earn money).
  • . Extended family. Remember that uncle that is helping everyone in the family with their missions? A semester abroad is a great mission prep and he might be willing to help out with a donation of $25, $100, $500 or more for your experience. You have nothing to lose by asking! Friends. Your neighbors may be more generous than you think to help fund something that is worthwhile and helpful for others. Parents. Your parents may have friends that you don’t even know that you could ask for help (and they would love to brag to those friends about this awesome thing you are doing!)
  • moscow, russia tehuancan, mexico vilnius, lithuania Tallinn, estonia Fuqing, China Discounts for going where needed. Some of the most popular cities & countries are also the most expensive places to live in. Why not do your research and choose the one that is the most economical?
  • Winter Summer Fall Discounts for going when needed. There are advantages and disadvantages to going at certain times of the year making everything equal in the end (view the semester comparison chart). Last minute discounts. Many organizations give additional discounts if you are willing to go right away. Usually you must commit 100% to get the discount, so if you are flexible, you can save yourself a lot of money.
  • If departing for a fall semester, live at home and work over the summer to save money (Ask ILP about the spring discount for people going in fall.) If departing in winter, go where you depart later and give yourself and extra 4-6 weeks to earn money! Departure time The place you go also determines your departure date. If you go to a place with a later departure you can have several weeks to earn over $1,000. Leaving in the middle of February instead of early in January could give you 6 more weeks to earn money while living at home.
  • Cost of living Going to a place with a lower cost of living can reduce your spending money by several hundred dollars. Volunteering in Paris could be a lot more expensive than volunteering in Mexico, even with the same program, because of your personal costs.
  • . Don’t forget about your deposit for your apartment that will be returned if you clean everything up before you go. What will you do with your car and cell phone—can you get a few hundred dollars from them? Can your brother rent your car while you’re gone? Get all of your deposit back. Suspend your cell phone while you’re gone.
  • Usually the discounts offered by organizations to pay the full amount up front ends up being more than what your parents will charge for a short-term loan to be able to do it, or even the interest you will pay if you finance it.
  • . Don’t forget about your tax refund. (you can usually get it in early February if you file electronically) What about your parent’s tax refund? Hey…it’s always worth a try. You may be getting them a $1,000 child tax credit by being their dependent! (Just don’t tell them we told you to do that.)
  • . Utilize the funds already made available for you! Student loans may apply to your program cost depending on the loan and credits you take. If Financial Aid covers more than tuition like housing, food, and books, then you can use it to pay for your semester abroad. How many credits you need to qualify for a Pell Grant? University Credit will help with tuition costs. Find out how by downloading ILP’s e-book on how to earn credit while abroad.
  • . Talk to your employer (if they know you are going and are supportive) and make sure they understand that you will be volunteering Ask for more hours. Two hours more a week for three months can be a couple hundred dollars (if you don’t spend it). Your employer may want to make a tax-deductible donation to your organization to cut down your fees. Your employer may have a matching-donation program where they give a donation to match what you pay to your organization. A temporary raise might be easier to justify if you will be volunteering for a non-profit organization.
  • . What people plan on paying is usually less than what they end up paying. There is no way to avoid it, even if your semester abroad is on a cruise ship—there will be costs that you didn’t think about. They aren’t intentionally hidden (in most cases), but they often don’t come up until it’s too late to do anything about them.
  • We’ve created a list of 18 of the biggest hidden costs with a few tips on how to economize on them. Whether you save or not, be sure to find out about them before you go!
  • Airfare. Is it included? Count on $1,300 to $2,000 if you are flying to another continent Visas. Visas cost anywhere from $75 to $500 depending on the country and when you apply. Visa registration. Many countries require you to register a visa after you arrive, and a fee of $25 to $150 is charged. Overstay visa fees. If you stay longer to travel, but your visa doesn’t allow you to, you may have to pay a fee that is calculated daily and can be hundreds of dollars in just a week. Extra Travel. If you want to go to a nearby country and tour around before going all the way home, some organizations charge you a fee in addition to the costs of travel.
  • Departure airport. Find out where the group you are going with departs from if they pay your airfare. Some groups pay for airfare but require you to depart from a particular airport or one of a few that could cost you hundreds of dollars to get to. Clothes. Will you need to have special clothes for the country you are going to or for the work that you will be doing? Housing. Is housing provided? Do you need to pay utilities (electricity, water, etc.)? Food. Is food provided? How many meals? What about weekends? Is it local food or American and will you have to buy your own food if you can’t eat what is served? If you get a food stipend, how much is it? Supplies. Do you need to bring any supplies with you?
  • Airline changes/problems. What if a flight is cancelled or delayed and it is someone else’s fault? Do you pay the fees or does the organization? Baggage fees. Most airlines charge $75-125 for luggage (usually for a second check-in). Does the organization pay for that? Can you bring less luggage? Transportation from airport. When you arrive in-country and when you leave to come home, who takes you and your luggage to the airport or picks you up from the airport? That can cost $50-$100 each way. Local transportation. When you are in country, how do you get around and who pays for it? Passport. A passport costs from $165 to several hundred depending on how fast you need to get it. Does the organization pay for your passport?
  • Training. Who pays to train you if you need to be trained? Is there an extra fee for training? Application fees. Is there an application or registration fee in addition to the advertised program fee? Buying materials from org. Does the organization require you to buy materials from them such as training materials or other materials you will need to go with them? Thank you for reading our e-book!