Tokyo, Japan (Obirin University)
One of the most frequently asked, and one of the most difficult questions to answer is, “How much money will I need to study abroad?”
Students can research the cost of living in the destination city to see how prices differ from home. Investigate sites such as the Comparative Cost of Living Index.
In general, students will spend differently while studying abroad as they do at home, since there are new things to do and see, and costs may be higher. It is also common for students to spend the most money during the first few weeks, while getting used to a new life abroad (and understanding the value of the foreign currency!). Soon, you will learn to seek out the restaurants and shops for your budget. Keep in mind that many places offer student discounts—keep your International Student ID (ISIC) card handy! Students will receive their ISIC cards during pre-departure orientation. Find out more about it here.
It is always helpful to have a budget planned before going abroad. Keep these factors in mind while planning a budget:
1. For Webster students, tuition charges and housing will be added to the student account. Be sure to make note of what fees you will need to pay out of pocket while overseas.
2. The dollar may be weaker or stronger than the local currency—and can also fluctuate rapidly.
3. Local transportation costs. How far is housing from the campus? What mass transportation is available (taxis, buses, subways, etc.)? Check out monthly passes or student rates to make sure that you get the best deal.
4. Entertainment. Remember, you do not need to experience everything in the first week you are abroad! You will have several weeks to explore your new city—there's no need to spend your entire budget right away! The more you travel, shop and eat out, the more you will spend. Don't forget to bring your ISIC card for discounts!
5. Food. If you participate in a homestay, most meals will be provided. If you are living in student housing, you will be responsible for your own meals. Eating out all the time can get pricey, but students will have cooking facilities available. Search recipes for quick, easy and cheap meal ideas; investigate markets around your city to see who offers the best prices; and plan group meals with other students.
6. Weekend trips. Students often want to make use of their time abroad to visit other countries. Check out budget airlines, or train and bus prices. Finding other students who wish to go to the same location can help split costs. Figure out which locations are the best for you budget and schedule.
7. Personal items. Remember that you will be spending a good amount of day-to-day living besides the weekend trips! Factor in shampoo, soap, toiletries, laundry, clothing, etc. into your budget as well.
We encourage you to contact study abroad alumni to get an idea on what other students have spent and ask for money-saving tips.