An Unconventional Guide to Paying for College

What You Need to Know Before Studying Abroad

American Students Studying Abroad


Studying abroad is not something we have talked much about here at the Money for College Project. This may be partly because of, in my opinion, the demand to pay for your regular tuition first, before looking towards paying for a study abroad program.

However, study abroad programs are incredibly valuable, and I believe even essential for helping us build a world view outside of the little shell most of us have grown up in. Studying abroad is an excellent way to see the world, immerse yourself in a culture different than your own, and internalize that there are people in this world who are different than you. In fact, the majority of people in this world are much different than you. The lessons learned on a study abroad trip can be the jumping off point to a career, or it could be the catalyst used to signal change. You might find an entirely new career field while on a study abroad trip, or you may realize that your current course of action is not at all what you really want. You may also cement the fact that you are not really ready to settle down into a corporate 9 – 5 and you still need to experience some adventure in your life. These are all perfectly acceptable outcomes of a study abroad trip.

The infographic above is very interesting because it goes into detail about the most popular study abroad locations, and also the most popular programs and colleges which participate. It is interesting to me that the largest percentage of students studying abroad will do so in Great Britain. Italy however is a close second, that rings true from all of my experiences. Who would not want to spend a semester nestled in the hills of Tuscany sipping excellent vino and eating biscotti while studying architecture….count me in!

If you are considering a study abroad trip I hope you will find the above infographic helpful. These trips can be expensive but there are also specific scholarships that are dedicated to helping your find money for your study abroad trips.

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  1. I am originally from boston but studied in Leeds in the UK – that was one of the best decisions that I have ever made! It cost me a fortune but it gave my whole university experiance a “holiday” feeling as I knew I could go home if I ever needed to and all the people from abroad have a pretty effective community of support which is just nice!

    I would recommend it to anyone

    • Hi sandra, — The community of support is huge. I did not mention that much in the post, but feeling like a loner in a foreign country can get old very quick. Study abroad friendly cities make for a MUCH more pleasant experience.

  2. Spend a year abroad to study and I think you will get a kind of experience that you would not get in 5 years at home. It will change you. After that you want to start working abroad. That is the danger. Going abroad is addictive. But it is one of the best additions there is.

    • @Van Beek — I agree with you completely that studying abroad can be addicting. We get the “travel bug” and before you know it you are planning trip after trip and trekking across the globe. The spirit of adventure lives in all of us.

  3. Ahhh, I love infographics! I found myself nodding in agreement, as just about ALL the kids at my college who studied abroad were white females who were in their junior year, who traveled to the UK to study social sciences! I still regret not going = although, the semester I WOULD have gone ended up being the semester I met my husband on campus, so I guess it’s probably better that I didn’t 🙂

    • @Elizabeth — Funny how life works! You are right though, it does make a big impact to gain an outside perspective from the small comfort bubble we are all generally raised in.

  4. That is an awesome infographic! I never did study abroad but lots of my friends did.

  5. It surprises me that most people come to the U.K to study, the are some great places to go here but we we’re not a patch on Italy. I suppose the language is a big factor.

  6. In some cases is can actually be LESS expensive to study abroad. Consider the cost of living at your school compared to where you will be abroad. My rent alone when I studied abroad (in Western Europe) was about 60% of what I paid in the US.

  7. I always said if I were younger I would have trained in both the UK. I live by NYU and there are tons of people that have come from abroad. Nice graphic.


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