One of the big questions you have to ask yourself when you apply for study abroad is “How am I going to pay for this’? The number one reason for students cancelling their study abroad experience later on is because they did not look into costs until the last minute and then realize that they can’t afford it.
When past study abroad participants were asked how much they spent on exchange, in comparison to a semester at U of G, they gave the following answers:
|Region||Cost Comparison to a Semester at U of G|
|South America||Equal or less|
|Asia||Equal or less|
|Africa||Equal or less|
|Europe & Scandinavia||1.5 to 2 times more|
|The UK||1.5 to 2 times more|
|Oceania||1.5 to 2 times more|
Additionally, keep in mind that the duration of your experience will impact the cost. For example, while on exchange you will be abroad for a semester or two, whereas there are options during the summer that run for 2-8 weeks.
Budgeting For Study Abroad
Here is a list of some items that you should take into consideration when making your budget:
While on exchange, you pay tuition and student fees to the University of Guelph. Students who are going on exchange in the fall or winter semesters must still pay full-time tuition even if they take part-time courses while on exchange.
For students participating in short-term summer exchange programs where it is not possible to take a full-time course load, they will be charged part-time U of Guelph tuition for the number of credits they will be able to transfer. While on exchange, you must still pay U of Guelph for the Student Health Plan and student organization fees. The only fee that you do not have to pay is the bus pass.
Your U of G tuition and fees are due and paid for the semester when you are considered away on exchange. For example, although the semester in Australia doesn’t start until February, your U of G tuition and student fees will be due in early January. Check WebAdvisor for your account summary, deadlines and how to pay. For questions about your U of G fees, contact Student Financial Services.
This $80 fee is paid to CIP and covers the administrative costs of sending students on exchange. Please read and follow the instructions in the 'Exchange Program Administration Fee Information' sheet which is included in the acceptance package emailed to students.
There a no exceptions to purchasing this insurance. Find out more details and how to purchase the insurance, here.
Make sure your passport will be valid for at least 6-months after your return date. If you need to renew your passport before travelling, do it as soon as possible.
Additionally, look into visa requirements early. This includes the process of getting the visa, where do you have to send your documents, do you have to go for an in-person interview or provide biometrics, etc.
Look into vaccinations early as you may require more than one dose or a certain amount of time before it becomes effective.
Check out different airlines and sites to determine the average price of a flight to your host country. From there you will be better able to recognize a deal when you find it.
You are responsible for all exchange student fees required by the host university (excluding tuition, which you pay to the University of Guelph). These fees may include residence fees, meal plan, mandatory health plan (such as OSHC in Australia), athletic centre fees or student union fees.
Research the average cost of living in your host country. You can find this information online or in the Explore Study Abroad resources on CIP’s website
The exchange rate can make a big difference in the cost of your abroad experience. Therefore, you should keep the exchange rate in mind when looking into possible destinations and know that the exchange rate fluctuates constantly.
Honestly consider if you are willing to stay in hostels and eat street food or if you will be staying in hotels and eating at restaurants while travelling. Consider other spending habits such as shopping, going to the movies, frequency of going out to dinner, entertainment, etc.
Research the cost of travelling around your host country and the nearby area to get an idea of how much extra travel you can afford.
Setting realistic expectations now about the amount of travel you can afford while abroad will allow you to make the most of your time there.
Some ideas to balance your budget:
- Personal savings
- Summer employment/Part-time job
- Parent/Family contributions (talk to your family first before assuming that they will help pay for your study abroad)
Most U of G travel grants and scholarships are administered by Student Financial Services. You can look for grants and scholarships by using the award search. For the travel grants based on financial need, students must be on OSAP or other provincial student loans in order to be eligible.
Deadlines vary depending on the funding you are applying for but generally, applications deadlines are:
- March 15th for Summer study abroad programs
- June 30th for Fall, Winter or two semesters (it is best for Winter applicants to apply by June 30 as there may not be scholarship money left after this first round)
- October 1st for Winter study abroad only
If you have questions about travel grants, scholarships, and bursaries offered through the University of Guelph, please contact Student Financial Services.
Program Specific Travel Scholarships
Some faculties at UofG offer scholarships specifically for their students - make sure you check with your department for any travel grants or bursaries they may have and the application requirements and deadlines. In particular, OAC and CSAHS have quite a few travel grants available.
Because you are registered as a University of Guelph student while on exchange, you are eligible for the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) or student loans from other provinces. You will apply for OSAP or student loans as you normally would, for the semester(s) you will be registered at the University of Guelph as on exchange.
For students participating in a short-term summer exchange program or field school, the duration of the program must be at least 4 weeks in order for you to be eligible for summer semester OSAP and you will only receive OSAP to cover your tuition (not living expenses). If you will be applying for part-time summer OSAP (ie. you are registered for 0.5, 1.0, or 1.25 total credits), you are advised to contact the Financial Aid Counsellors in Student Financial Services, firstname.lastname@example.org, in early March to begin the process right away.
Since all matters concerning OSAP are completed electronically, there should be no problem for you to receive your student loan while you are on exchange. Information and links for all federal and provincial student loans can be found on the Government of Canada website.
Some countries and even host universities have travel grants, bursaries, and scholarships available for exchange students. Start searching and applying as soon as possible. In some cases, the application deadline may be many months before your planned departure and often require references, transcripts, etc. that can take some time to obtain.
Some Country Specific Travel Scholarships
- The Swedish Women's Educational Association (SWEA) offers travel scholarships to students (male or female) participating in an exchange program in Sweden. For more information about the application process, contact CIP.
- The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers information and funding for students studying or conducting research in Germany. Whereas the University of Guelph students usually find out where they have been accepted to go on exchange in early March, the DAAD scholarship application is usually due before this. If you contact CIP, we may be able to issue a tentative acceptance letter for you before the DAAD deadline and this has worked for students in the past.
- BUTEX offers scholarships for students going on study abroad programs in the United Kingdom.
- Global Affairs Canada offers scholarships for study and research in specific countries, particularly for graduate students
- Japan: JASSO scholarships – see KGU application for more information
- Austria: Ernst Mach Grant for Studying at an Austrian University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule)
- Haventree Bank Scholraship for Canadian exchange students who are taking 50% of their moduels at the Univeristy of Exeter Business School.
The consular representatives (embassy, consulate, etc.) of your host country in Canada may also know of or offer relevant scholarships or bursaries.
If you already receive a scholarship and/or bursary for your studies at the University of Guelph, contact Student Financial Services or the funding organization regarding any conditions for your continued eligibility for the scholarship/bursary, and/or other procedures, given that you will be studying abroad.
An ISIC (International Student Identity Card) costs $20 and you can access all the discounts through their app. If you require a physical card you can also order it for a $5 printing fee. You can learn more by visiting isic.org.
Check online for possible rail and bus passes (particularly in Europe). Some must be purchased before you leave Canada. Many travel guide websites, blogs, and e-books (e.g. www.lonelyplanet.com, http://www.roughguides.com) have lots of tips for travelling on a budget.
Obtaining supplementary travel insurance that covers such things as flight cancellations, lost baggage and liability will an additonal cost upfront but can save you thousands of dollars should something unfortunate happen.
Speak with U of G students who have been on exchange and your new friends in your host country for advice. They will no doubt have excellent suggestions about living cheaply!
You may want to approach your friends and family, and local organizations to see if they would be willing to help support you. For example, if you are willing to write an article for a local newspaper, magazine, etc. you may receive a donation in return. Also, see if your friends and family are willing to donate Air Miles or any other travel points to you to help cover the cost of your flight.