Student Life

4 Affordable Study Abroad Countries Your Student Should Consider

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By Lorena Roberts, Uloop

Studying abroad while in college is becoming more and more popular as students continue to experience life-changes as a result. Studying abroad is exciting; it’s a chance to explore the world. But the flip side is finding an affordable study abroad destination. In general, studying abroad is going to be bit more expensive than regular studies at your student’s home university, simply because paying to travel to another country requires a plane ticket, to say the least. However, it’s definitely doable to study abroad in an affordable fashion. If you and your student are looking for the most affordable study abroad destinations, here are five:

Peru

Peru is a study abroad destination for students interested in furthering their language education. Lima, Peru is flooded with intellectuals and universities. There are various options for studying abroad in Peru, and it comes in as the most affordable study abroad destination.

Whether your student interested in focusing solely on Spanish or is intrigued by Peru’s culture, there’s a program to suit your preferences in Peru! Several of the most popular study abroad programs operate in Peru, including: ISA, CIEE, and CisAbroad. To experience Peru through the eyes of an experienced study abroad student, here’s the ISA student blog: Peru.

Things your student should be ready for if they study abroad in Peru: 

  • Bartering/Haggling — it’s part of the Peru culture that people are constantly bartering and haggling for deals at any time of day. Be sure your student knows how aggressive the locals are willing to be; many locals will take advantage of tourists who haven’t done their homework.
  • Hiking to Machu Picchu — they say it’s not a real trip to Peru without visiting Machu Picchu. However, it can be quite the trip along the Inca trail, should your student choose to hike themselves. Do your research and discover the multiple companies that will take you right to the entrance. Whether your student is interesting in trekking for days or not, a trip to Machu Picchu is more than possible.
  • Be wary of scams/don’t allow discomfort — sit down with your student and decide what they’re willing to deal with and what they aren’t. Whether it’s a taxi ride that’s not through a real company, or refusing a “souvenir” from a sketchy looking local, tell your student that playing by their rules of comfort is okay!
  • Testing their taste buds — Peru and America are quite different when it comes to food. Be sure your student is both ready and willing to try many new things – tastes they’ve never dreamed of.

Germany

I can speak from experience on this one — Germany is a great (cheap) place to study abroad! My biggest expenses were my plane ticket and the program fee. I took an intensive German language course for five weeks, but my home University’s professor traveled with us to teach the course. Germany comes in at the second most affordable study abroad program because the cost of food in Germany is a bit more than in Peru. Germany’s culture and food are much more similar to America. If your student is looking for an easy culture transition, Germany is a good choice for studying abroad.

Whether your student is interested in the German language, International Business, History, Music or German culture, Germany is a wonderful (and affordable!) place to study abroad. Germany is a part of the European Union, giving your student ample opportunities to explore that cultural/political relationship.

Things your student should be ready for if they choose to study abroad in Germany: 

  • Transportation tickets — Germany is pretty strict about checking for tickets on trains or buses; your student might want to look into a rail pass if they want to travel to other European countries from Germany while studying abroad.
  • Attending class — just because there isn’t an attendance policy doesn’t mean your student should never go to class; German students often skip class, as their professors aren’t as strict on attendance as the US. I wouldn’t suggest your student skip part of their study abroad program; they’ll still have to pass an exam to get the credit.
  • Sundays — in Germany, literally everything closes on Sundays. Not even the grocery store is open. Be sure your student has a plan and remembers to stock up on food/necessities for the week on Saturdays instead!

South Africa

South Africa comes in as the third most affordable place to study abroad, but it comes with some concerns that differ from your student’s other options. South Africa is a beautiful country with an overwhelming amount of culture to explore. Sometimes, American students group South Africa in with their thoughts about Africa as a whole, which is typically that it’s an underdeveloped, impoverished country. And while this may be true in parts of South Africa, it shouldn’t be defined that way! GoAbroad.com has published safety concerns for studying abroad in South Africa.

If your student chooses to study abroad in South Africa, pay attention to: 

  • visiting an ATM — robberies are common at ATMs, especially if the locals can tell that you’re here on touristy business; never go alone and always during the day when lots of people are around to witness if something does go wrong
  • airport transportation — definitely don’t take the first option you see; choose a company that you trust; the place to start is with airport approved transportation
  • health risks — South Africa has different health risks than America does, so be sure your student is knowledgeable in preventing things like HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis.

Sweden

Sweden is often overlooked by college students when it comes to picking a study abroad destination. But it’s one of the most affordable! Before your student makes a final decision, encourage them to look into the programs that are available in this beautiful Nordic land.

If your student is focused on science and engineering, have them look into the University in Lund, Sweden. There are various opportunities for hands-on research. If your student is interested in learning about Swedish culture and language, check out Folkuniversitetet.

If your student chooses to study abroad in Sweden, be sure they know:

  • It may or may not be a tradition at the university where they’ll be studying, but tons of Swedish universities actually begin class 15 minutes later than what is officially printed
  • Swedes like to live very active lifestyles, so tell your student to buy a bike! They’ll definitely want to at least try to fit in.
  • Take advantage of the sun. I hear it doesn’t come to Lund very often.

Wherever your student chooses to study abroad, it’s going to be a life-changing experience, whether it’s for the better or the worse. They’re going to learn much more about themselves than they ever could while in the US. My hope is that your student finds an affordable study abroad destination, but if it ends up going over budget by a bit, don’t rule it out right away. Traveling to another country takes a lot of organization and planning. I commend you and your student for taking on this journey. Best of luck to you!


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