The Money Question: Financing Study Abroad

Written by Kate July 22, 2019

When you’re a college student thinking about taking the leap to study abroad, trying to finance a semester out of the country while simultaneously finding a program that best fits your academic needs can seem like a daunting task. As an undergraduate searching for a business program in Europe, I was initially overwhelmed. It wasn’t until I started looking into the CIMBA Italy program that I discovered just how attainable – and affordable – a term overseas could be.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

A good place to start your search for money is your university’s Study Abroad Office. The University of Iowa’s International Programs Office, for example, offers multiple need and merit-based scholarships to qualifiying students. On top of that, the Tippie College of Business, College of Engineering, and other colleges on campus all have their own scholarships aimed at helping students fund an international experience. Finally, the CIMBA program has their own scholarships listed on their website for college students to take advantage of. With the help of CIMBA funding on top of other university scholarships, there was no shortage of opportunities for me to finance my semester in Italy. It’s easier than you think to apply, too! A lot of the applications are essay-based or require you to submit documents available through your financial aid office.

Chase New Opportunities!

One of the fun, more involved awards that helped some of my friends tremendously with their budgets was the CIMBA RA position! This really allowed them to bond with the students and other staff members and get to know the Veneto region on another level. They took away valuable leadership experience from this position and it in no way interfered with their travel or social lives.  A few other options that the program offers include blogging, running social media, and even use the campus go-pro to create videos. You’re getting a significant chunk of tuition knocked off your U-Bill to do something fun that also polishes your resume. What’s not to love?

Pick a Smart Program

Beyond financial aid, the CIMBA living situation also proved to be a huge cost-saver for my semester in Italy. The dormitory style housing not only allows you to be close to peers and classes, but it was all-inclusive. While you’re in Paderno del Grappa, you are provided housing (with your own bathroom!) cleaning services and linens, and three square meals a day. You don’t have to bring textbooks, and you don’t have to hunt for an apartment. Without the hassle of rent and grocery shopping, your funds are much more free during your time abroad.

Finally, there are lots of hidden program perks when you’re an undergraduate student. I received an incentive scholarship for choosing to study in Paderno during the fall term, and there are no visa requirements for American students, saving you hundreds in application fees. It’s a quick program, just 12 weeks of nonstop fun compared to a regular 16 week semester, which makes it a great choice for anyone who is just dipping their toes into international travel and for seasoned travelers alike. 

Studying abroad was not only the most academically and culturally enriching semester of my undergraduate career, but it was affordable and fun. Any student looking to broaden their horizons, network regularly, and see what it’s like to be in a classroom on the other side of the world can make it happen. It just requires a little planning!