Studying abroad doesn't have to be more expensive than staying at DU. If you plan ahead, few locations are out of reach, even with a limited budget. You need to be realistic about how cost-of-living varies around the world, but that can work in your favor. Sometimes, it's even possible to save money by studying abroad!
The University of Denver provides support and tools to help students, parents, and families throughout the budgeting and financial planning aspects of study abroad.
Budgeting for Study Abroad
Cost is an important factor to consider when choosing an international experience. Not only should you understand the costs of your program but you should also anticipate the other costs that will be associated with your travel. It is important that you understand all of the items and services that will and will not be included in your program.
The DU Office of International Education (OIE) does not have any specific budget numbers for students. It has been our experience that budgets vary widely when students are abroad, just as they do on campus. The cost of living may be the same—it's the lifestyles that vary. One of the best resources for getting an idea of expenses while abroad is to talk to a variety of students who participated on your program in the last few years. You may also contact your study abroad program directly for estimated expenses or budgeting tips. Some programs post those numbers on their websites, while others you may have to ask.
Another tip is to spend some time before you leave becoming familiar with the local currency you will be using. Check the exchange rate frequently so that you are used to how it compares to the US dollar. Keep in mind that there are usually more expenses during the first month abroad than there will be the duration of your time.
Always look for student discounts! Saving a few dollars here and there can really add up!
Cost Planning Work Sheet
We do not give specific budget numbers to students. It's been our experience that budgets vary widely when students are abroad, just as they do on campus. The cost of living may be the same—it's the lifestyles that vary. One of the best ways to get an idea of what expenses to expect abroad is to talk to a variety of students who participated on your program in the last few years. You may also contact your study abroad program directly for estimated expenses or budgeting tips. Some programs post those numbers on their websites, while you may have to ask others.
We've created the following cost planning worksheets for your use in planning your expenses for your study abroad experience. If you need assistance with filling out the worksheet, please make sure to meet with an OIE advisor.
Keep in mind that there are usually more expenses during the first month abroad than there will be the duration of your time.
Below you will see some costs you can expect related to study abroad:
- Passport application fee
- Student Visa/Residence Permit Application Fee (this cost is a benefit for Cherrington Global Scholars)
- Airfare (this cost is a benefit for Cherrington Global Scholars)
- Other possible student visa or immigration costs, such as medical visits, travel to consular office, photographs, FBI background check, express mail fees, etc.
- Travel, health, or personal property insurance
- Medical insurance
- Personal and or travel insurance
- Immunizations, if applicable
- Housing security deposit (refundable)
Costs while abroad
Check to see if any of these items are included in your program!
- Tuition/Program Fees
- Food/meals (if your program includes a meal plan, be sure you understand any exclusions that may apply)
- Communication (phone, internet, postage)
- Local transit (bus, subway, trains)
- Bedding, linens, and kitchenware
- Gym membership or other fees related to extracurricular activities
- Optional excursions offered by the program for an additional cost
- Entertainment and personal travel (this is often the biggest expense for study abroad students)
- Course fees
- Books and other supplies
- Personal expenses (toiletries, laundry, souvenirs/gifts, etc.)
- Start-up costs, such as bedding, kitchenware, towels, bathroom items, room decorations, surge protectors, power adapters, etc.
- Souvenirs and gifts
- Emergency cash
- Medical expenses, such as prescriptions, doctor visits, etc.
- Mobile phone
- Gym membership
- Personal travel
- Other personal expenses
All students are responsible for their personal expenses, which include but may not be limited to those expenses that are paid by the individual student in the U.S. as well as abroad. Personal expenses include items such as, refundable housing deposits, discretionary travel, local transportation, books, optional excursions, laboratory/studio/materials fees, field study or mandatory excursion fees resulting from the student’s choice of courses, personal and household items, cultural and entertainment expenses, optional fees such as recreation or health club memberships, telephone and internet access if not included in a housing agreement, usage or calling charges (either local or long distance) even when instrument or access is provided with housing, any expense for damage deposits or other personal responsibility deposits, damage costs, fines or penalties, housing and meals if not provided within the program, and medical out-of-pocket expenses or other medical expenses not covered by insurance.
Note: Please remember that even covered medical expenses may have to be paid at the point of service and claimed through the student’s medical insurance provider.