Saving for Study Abroad / Creative Fundraising
It is never too early to start planning financially for your study abroad experience! Once you have found the program that is right for you, start saving your money right away!
Past students have found that through careful budgeting, they are often able to save much more money than they initially thought possible. One of the keys is to have a savings account specifically for your study abroad program. Some suggestions for getting money into that account:
Set a monthly saving goal and stick to it.
Cut back to one or two lattes/week, rather than having one daily. Skip that late-night pizza, concert in the Cities, or spring break trip! Then consciously put that money you are not spending into your study abroad account. Since you are typically applying for study abroad 6-8 months in advance, even if you can save $50-$100/month, it will add up
Request money specifically for study abroad in lieu of birthday or holiday gifts.
Ask for a loan, rather than a gift, and set up a repayment schedule in writing.
Sometimes relatives may be willing to support you temporarily if you ask for a loan rather than an outright gift. However, you do need to approach it “professionally”, with a concrete plan to paying them back, and a reasonable timeline for doing so.
Get a job if you don’t already have one.
Work a few more hours/week if you do. Consider things like babysitting, which come up occasionally, if you don’t think you can commit to a certain number of hours/week.
Be creative about financing your study abroad experience! Past students have had success with a number of out-of-the-box ideas for funding their study abroad. Possibilities include:
- Asking friends/others going on your program to join you in raising money by cleaning, painting or washing cars.
- Organizing an event where you and/or some friends provide instruction for a couple of hours, in return for a donation. (Think yoga, karate, computer skills, dancing, knitting, etc.)
- Selling unneeded things that you own—books, CDs, computer software, games, clothes, jewelry. If you are going for a year, sell your car.
Finding Like-Minded Organizations
Contact organizations that may have an interest in what you are doing. Offer them a service in return for their support. Keep in mind:
If you select a study abroad program that helps achieve your long-term goals, it will be easier to solicit funds from external sources. Think about possible organizations on the local, state and national levels.
Direct, informal appeals often work best. Be specific on how you intend to spend the funds, (airfare, program fee, tuition, housing, special projects, etc.) Avoid a focus on extra personal travel that you are hoping to fit in; your appeal will be stronger if you focus on the actual required expenses.
Include a photo of yourself with your request so that the receiver will establish a personal connection with you. Enthusiasm, creativity, and perseverance on your part - and not fearing rejection– could take you a long way.
Types of Organizations to Contact
- Heritage groups that have interests in specific countries (e.g. Japan America Society)
- Civic groups (Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions Clubs)
- Travel agencies
- Professional and business clubs
- Media (newspapers, radio and TV)
- Sororities and fraternities (local and national chapters)
- Charitable, ethnic, religious and campus organizations
Possible Services to Offer in Return
- Write an article (or a column! Or a blog!)
- Give a presentation about your experiences at a club meeting
- Create a web site
- Organize a topical campus or community forum
- Participate in radio and televised interviews and broadcasts
- Contribute community service and outreach
- Help others to have a similar international experience