We’re firm believers that every student who can study abroad should study abroad. That’s because studying abroad has a whole host of benefits—personally, educationally, and for your career. Studying abroad can boost your foreign language competency, give you crucial internationally-related work or internship experience, and can distinguish you from other applicants when it comes time to find a job. It’s also a humbling, humanizing experience that may make you more world-aware and compassionate—and that’s never a bad thing. The problem with studying abroad, of course, is that it can be very expensive. So the real question is: can you afford to study abroad? In pursuit of an answer to that question, here are a few things to consider:
Your financial aid office may be able to help.
Before you do anything, check whether your financial aid package at your home university can be applied to your study abroad program. You might get lucky and find that study abroad programs approved by your school can be paid for with the financial aid you’ve already been awarded.
Search for grants and scholarships.
Your next best option is to start looking for free money. That means grants and scholarships. Thankfully, most colleges and universities make grants or scholarships available specifically for the purpose of studying abroad. But where do you start looking for these opportunities? Easy! Head back to your financial aid office to see if they can offer information or leads on where to look or how to apply. Also check with your study abroad office and your major department, as they may offer their own set of scholarships and grants.
Check if you can use your federal student loans.
If you’re applying directly to your host school and it’s listed in the Federal School Code Search, you can use your federal student loans to help pay for it. When searching, select “Foreign Country” in the State box, then enter the city you’re studying in or the school name.
As a last resort, compare your private student loan options.
Private student loans may not be the ideal way to pay for a study abroad experience, but they’re a reliable last resort. However, it’s important to make a budget before you borrow. That way you’ll never borrow more than you need. Then compare your private student loan options (for free!) by lender, interest rate, and more using our student loan comparison tool. Why compare options? Because not all private student loans are created equal. Finding the right one could save you thousands.
Keep your costs down.
As previously mentioned, making a budget and keeping your costs down can help you have a more affordable study abroad experience. If you need help, here are 5 ways to study abroad for less.
The only thing harder than studying for your classes is finding the money to pay for them. Good thing we’re here to help you borrow cheaply. Here’s the smart guide to student borrowing:
Get started today by comparing your private student loan options. Just remember to:
- Max out your federal aid before you consider the private option. Federal student loans often comes with lower interest rates and more favorable lending terms, so it always pays to use up your federal aid eligibility first. That means: fill out a FAFSA if you haven’t already.
- Know how much to borrow. One of the most expensive mistakes a student can make is borrowing too much money. Budget for all your costs, including extraneous things like entertainment, transportation, printing, and parking. But never plan on using your loan disbursement for stuff you don’t need, like a vacation.
- Find a co-signer. If you’ve got a bad credit score or no credit history, then chances are you’ll have trouble finding a private student loan without a credit-worthy co-signer. But that’s not a bad thing! Having a co-signer improves your chances of qualifying for a private student loan and may actually lower your interest rate, saving you money.
- Keep your expected costs down. There’s an important mantra to remember: the less money you plan on spending, the less money you have to borrow. Our sister-company, ValoreBooks, can help. Stop paying retail prices on textbooks. Shop or rent with ValoreBooks next semester and save up to 90%. Then use that money to pay some of your tuition bill.
- Know your borrower benefits. Private lenders offer various benefits to borrowers. Some provide interest rate discounts for enrolling in auto-repayment or for students who’ve made a certain number of on-time consecutive payments. Some lenders even cut your premium by a percentage point or two when you graduate. The key here: know what’s offered ahead of time and calculate those benefits into your total cost.
You already use your iPhone to call your parents, text your friends, and check your Facebook. Why not also use it to enjoy summer a little more? With these five iPhone apps it’s easy:
Tanner – This app is perfect for anyone looking to get some color this summer. It has a built in timer that will remind you when to flip over. It also has a sunblock timer that will remind you to reapply and protect your skin!
Yahoo Weather – Although the iPhone has a stock weather app, it’s missing a number of useful features. Check out Yahoo Weather for a more detailed forecast, including beautiful visuals that bring the weather to life.
Kayak – Thinking of traveling this summer? Kayak is the perfect way to quickly and easily compare hotels and flights.
Camera+ – This app has every camera feature the stock iPhone camera is missing! From deep editing tools to shooting features like burst and countdown timers, Camera + has all the functionality you didn’t even know you wanted on your iPhone camera.
QuizUp – Keep your brain sharp this summer with this popular and awesome quiz game. You can choose topics you excel in and even compete with your friends via Facebook!
Although every interviewer is looking for something specific in a potential employee or intern, there are a few behaviors almost every interviewer hates. Avoid these interview pet peeves and you’ll be more likely to land your dream job or internship:
1. Showing up late
Showing up to an interview late instantly makes a bad first impression, which could cost you the job. So plan ahead by leaving home early and getting directions ahead of time.
2. Not making eye contact
Eye contact is one of the best ways to show you’re listening and interested in what the interviewer has to say. Although it might be tempting to look away when nervous, the best way to keep your eyes on the prize is to keep your eyes…on the interviewer.
3. Not doing your research
Every company has a ton of info on their website. Browse through it so you have a basic understanding of what it is the company does. This shows you’re proactive and engaged.
4. Not asking questions
Interviewers want to see that you’re excited and interested in their company. Come prepared with questions. Then develop a few more based on what your interviewer tells you about the company and the position they’re hiring for. Ask questions that pertain to business operations as well as your potential responsibilities.
5. Dressing inappropriately
You can never arrive to an interview dressed too professionally. In other words, it’s always better to show up overdressed than under-dressed. For guidance on what not to wear to an interview, click here.
6. Avoiding a question
If an interviewer asks a tough question and you don’t have an answer right away, don’t ramble about something off-topic. Instead,, take a second to think about it (not too long) before answering the question in the most direct, concise manner possible.
7. A weak handshake.
A firm handshake is key to showing your interviewer that you’re confident and strong-minded.
Summer internships are a fantastic opportunity for college students. They allow you to get your foot in the door at a company and give you first-hand experience in the working world. Remember, however, that you only have 2-3 months to deliver and gain value from your work experience—so make the most of your summer internship! Here’s how:
1. Be on time.
Although it seems self-explanatory, sleeping in during the summertime can be incredibly enticing. Fight the urge and show up to your internship on time. You’ll make a better impression and get the most out of every day.
2. Always be ready to learn.
As an intern, you’re not expected to know everything. You are, however, expected to be open to learning all that you can. Being flexible and expressing interest will help you tremendously.
3. Maintain a positive attitude.
It’s important to remain positive as an intern, even if some of your time is spent completing pesky or tedious tasks. Proving you’re enthusiastic and hard working will lead to more significant responsibilities over time.
4. Volunteer yourself.
If you ever find yourself bored and without work, offer your services to your supervisor/boss. Come to them with well-thought out ideas and prove yourself as an independent thinker and worker.
5. Keep a journal/work notebook.
Taking notes is the key to success in any internship. Not only will this help you keep organized, it gives you something to look back on when updating your resume!
Remember that every person in your office and every professional connection you make can be useful to you in the future. Introduce yourself and have conversations. The more of a mark you make, the more they’ll think about you during hiring season. Not to mention these people will most likely be your references when applying for jobs in the future.