How to Choose a Budget-Friendly Exchange Program

Money in a padlock
Are your plans for going abroad more flexible than your budget? Here are five factors that will help you get the most for your money.

Research the cost of living in cities worldwide.

Depending on the exchange rate, you may want to select a location where the rate works in your favor. In general, towns and small cities are usually more affordable than large cities.

Consider going to non-traditional locations.

Costs for programs in Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, or Southeast Asia are often lower than in Western Europe, Japan and Australia. And, even better, studying in these locations may also increase your chances of getting a scholarship!

Looking to study in the U.S. from another country? Check out EducationUSA's tips for reducing education costs in the Related Links.

Find affordable programs.

Direct exchange programs that have less administrative support, community college exchanges, and short-term programs are typically lower in cost. Also look for programs that provide living stipends, group travel discounts, or lodging with host families.

Compare your costs.

Use a budget sheet to see how costs compare in programs abroad versus expenses for staying at home for the same time period. It may be easier to rationalize if your expenses will be similar once you are in your exchange country.

Offer your services.

Consider tax-deductible volunteer trips to work with researchers abroad, or look for internships or professional fellowships that offer to cover expenses in exchange for your technical knowledge or other useful skills. For faculty-led exchange programs in your academic field or for group programs of youth exchanges, find out if the professor requires a student teaching assistant or the youth organization needs chaperones or support staff member to travel with the group.

Check out the Related Resources to find more information about organizing funding for international exchange.