9 Ways to Study Abroad For Free
Studying abroad used to be reserved for the wealthy, but this is no longer the case. There are now many ways you can enjoy the benefits of studying abroad without having to pay an arm and a leg or sign up with an exchange program that makes you study in countries that aren’t your first choice. Here are 10 of the best ways to study abroad for free!
1) Know your options
There are plenty of scholarship opportunities out there, but they aren’t advertised as frequently. There are a lot of great organizations, both local and national, that can fund your studies abroad if you have an interest in social work, science or other causes. The more specific you can be with your application and interests, the better chance you have at landing a great opportunity to study abroad for free. You’re never too old or too far along in your degree to apply for these scholarships. Your passion will make all of those late nights of studying worth it.
2) Go to a foreign exchange program
If you’re considering studying abroad, chances are, it’s going to cost you. There are plenty of reasons why studying in a foreign country can help your career down the road; however, sometimes finances stand in your way. Luckily, there are a few options to study abroad for free. The first is through a foreign exchange program; if a student from another country comes to stay with you and study at your school for an extended period of time, that person’s tuition may be covered by his or her government (as well as other expenses). In exchange for hosting someone from another country and helping him or her adjust to life in your home city, you’ll get some great cultural experience and extend yourself outside of your comfort zone—for free.
3) Look at language immersion programs
Start with a little research into language immersion programs. Language immersion programs are often pretty inexpensive and offer a great opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture without putting a major dent in your bank account. There are lots of language-immersion programs out there, but some of my favorites include: ILSC (Irish Language Summer Course), CIM (Centro de Lenguas Modernas), and Global Village Spanish. So even if you’re not looking to study abroad, you might be able to use these opportunities to squeeze in some extra culture during your European travels—at no cost. Not bad, right?
4) Volunteer with an organization abroad
Many international organizations offer volunteer positions that require speaking a foreign language. Volunteering with a nonprofit provides an opportunity to get to know locals and experience life in another country for free. There are also opportunities to study abroad for college credit. Most programs only take place during summer break, but if you can arrange it around your school schedule, it’s worth looking into.
5) Enroll in online courses from home
International students often have to pay upwards of $20,000 a year for their studies. If you’re not prepared to shell out that kind of money, consider taking online courses instead. There are plenty of online study abroad programs offered by universities in Europe and other parts of the world. Through these programs, students can enroll in classes while they’re studying at home and still get credits when they study abroad as part of a tour or program run by an international travel agency (like STA Travel).
6) Have an exchange partner from another country
If you want to study abroad but can’t afford it, consider teaming up with a student from another country who will travel to your school in exchange for you going to their school. It’s a cheap and easy way to get your foot in the door of international education, meet people from different cultures and be exposed to different learning styles. This is also a great opportunity for cultural exchange. You’ll learn not only about your partner’s culture, but also about yourself—seeing another culture through someone else’s eyes can often cause you to see things in yourself that you may have never noticed before.
7) Attend events in your field while abroad
While abroad, be on the lookout for events related to your field of study or your career interests. Attending events and lectures at a university in another country is a great way to increase both cultural awareness and language proficiency. Attending professional conferences is a great way to add new contacts to your network, both personal and professional, as well as get exposure that could help advance your career upon returning home. Even if you don’t think you’ll have time for such activities, set an alarm reminder so you can attend one lecture each week while you’re studying abroad. Your future self will thank you later!
8) Do research or internship abroad
It’s pretty standard for universities to require that students study abroad before graduating. If you want to get a leg up on your future classmates, look into programs in your area that offer free or low-cost trips abroad. In some cases, these opportunities are even available to high school students. When looking into any of these programs, make sure they will work with your schedule and leave enough time for travel; it’s usually difficult to have a full course load as a traveler. You may also have trouble getting credit for many of these courses, so if you plan on getting a degree anyway, you may want to consider paying for your travel.
9) Get a scholarship
There are a number of organizations that offer scholarships to students who want to study abroad, so you might as well go in prepared. Your chances of getting one are much better if you already have your target school in mind. Sites like Student Scholarships and Scholarships360 can help you find awards based on location, major, ethnicity, financial need and more.