Three Tips For Funding Your Abroad Experience

antique world map with money pinned to the perimeter

By Jordan Vernon

If you’re someone who has considered studying abroad/away, one of the biggest questions you likely have is “how am I going to pay for this?” The good news is,  while studying abroad is an investment, it doesn’t have to break the bank. 

Cost is one of the main barriers to entry when it comes to studying away. However, most students assume they can’t afford it without knowledge of the wealth of resources that are available to them to help get their experience funded. 

Here are three tips to help you make a financial plan for your study abroad/away experience.

Plan for All of the Costs

Program costs, tuition, and airfare are far from the only expenses that you’ll incur while studying abroad. Make sure that you do your due diligence and map out all of your potential costs before you start. That way you’ll have a realistic idea of how much money you’ll need and can start planning for where it will come from. 

Textbooks and school supplies? Plan and budget for that. Are you someone who prefers eating out to cooking? Plan and budget for that. Will you want to do some additional travel while you’re abroad?
Plan and budget for that. See a pattern forming? 

Even if you have a scholarship or other aid that will cover your travel and book costs, there may be some things that you’ll have to pay for before that money is disbursed. Be sure to make arrangements for these and any other incidentals you may run into throughout the duration of your program. 

These expenses can include but are not limited to:

  • airfare
  • visas and other travel documents
  • vaccinations
  • application fees

Research and Apply, Apply, Apply for Scholarships

There are several scholarships that are specifically for study abroad opportunities; you just have to know where to look! 

Right here on campus, many senior colleges have scholarships dedicated specifically to students who would like to pursue a study abroad experience. The College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Manship School of Mass Communication, and The College of Art + Design are just a few. You may also be eligible for scholarship monies if you receive federal financial aid. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is open for U.S. undergraduate students who receive the Pell Grant. 

Get Creative with Funding Options/Resources

Do you or your parents have a rewards account with an airline? What about credit card rewards or points? Shopping around for deals isn’t just for buying groceries or new tech. They can really come in handy when planning travel, too. When thinking of how you’re going to pay for your experience, make sure that you’re shopping around and considering non-traditional sources. Here are a few to get you started: 

  • Airline miles/benefits
  • Credit card rewards/benefits
  • Veteran benefits
  • Have clothes or tech that you no longer want or use? Try selling it. 
  • Have some free time? Pick up a side job.
  • Ask a local business if you can put out a tip jar.
  • Connect with local organizations. They may be willing and able to sponsor you in exchange for volunteer hours or a presentation upon your return.

Study abroad isn’t just an extracurricular activity, but an enriching opportunity for academic, professional, and personal growth. It may not be feasible for everyone, but making sure that everyone who wishes to participate has the resources to do so is paramount. 

You can find a list of more external funding opportunities on our website. LSU has also launched a new scholarship database where you can search for opportunities that are funded through the LSU Foundation. 

Have other tips for funding a study abroad experience? Let us know at