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Tips and Advice

Before You Study Abroad

  • Start planning early! Even if you don't plan to study abroad until later in your college career, come in for advising as soon as you can. This will give you an idea of what costs you may need to save for outside of what financial aid and scholarships will cover.
  • Ask for money toward your trip for birthdays, holidays and other gift-giving occasions. Let individuals know you'd appreciate a contribution to your study abroad fund as a gift.
  • Talk to students who previously studied in your host country or with the program you have chosen! They can often give insight on the cheapest grocery stores, the best ways to travel in the area, and other country or region-specific tips to saving money.

While You Are Abroad

  • If you are studying in a major city, keep in mind that prices will likely be higher due to the cost of living, especially in areas popular with tourists.
  • Ask your bank if they have partners abroad, and what the ATM and credit card fees will be.
  • Investigate credit cards that offer no foreign transaction fees.
  • Keep track of the fluctuations in the exchange rate. If you plan to withdraw a large sum of cash or make a big purchase, check the daily exchange rate first.
  • Take advantage of student discounts. Keep your Central Michigan University student ID card with you as well as any ID that is issued by your foreign institution. You can also consider buying an International Student Identity Card. Remember, as a student, you can often get discounts at museums and other cultural sites as well as when buying train or bus tickets, and at hostels.

Fundraising for Study Abroad

  • Start a campaign via GoFundMe or FundMyTravel – these sites allow you to solicit donations from friends and family members. You can keep donors updated on your progress as well as your time abroad, in thanks for their contributions. Some tips on successful crowdfunding:
    • Start your campaign early to allow time for you to grow your message.
    • Identify specific goals related to your study abroad experience – raising money to cover the flight or a portion of your living expenses, is more feasible than trying to raise the full amount of your study abroad program.
    • Share your personal story – why you chose the program, and what you hope to get out of it.
  • Be creative! Have a garage sale, sell clothes, and other things you are no longer using online, or plan a fundraising dinner.
  • Send letters or solicit donations from community organizations. Reach out to groups you participated in as a child (Scouts, dance, karate, etc.) and share your story!
  • If you or your family attend a church, synagogue, mosque or other religiously-affiliated organization, consider sharing your story with the congregation in order to raise funds.
  • Pick up odd jobs when possible and commit to saving that income for your study abroad expenses - things like raking leaves, mowing lawns, babysitting, or walking dogs.