Ten Ways to Help Fund Your Intern/Study Abroad Program

Davide Del Gatto
Date 09/04/2019

Interning or studying abroad does not need to be out of reach. There are many ways (some more creative than others) to help fund your program! And while it is common that most students will still need to pay some money out of pocket to go abroad, most study and intern alumni will tell you it is well worth the financial investment both personally and career wise!

First, some words of wisdom. All program costs are not created equal. While a higher program cost may include more services, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes higher costs mean they include additional, fun (but maybe unnecessary and expensive), excursions.  Do your research. Starting with a lower cost program, even if it doesn’t include everything a higher cost program does, may still help you save money, as you will have more control over what you spend your money on. Just be sure that whatever program you choose offers you the level of support and services you want.

Now that you’ve picked the lowest cost program that offers you the support and service features that are right for you, let’s start to find ways to eat away at that sticker price.

1. FAFSA  

Never overlook what is right in front of you! If you receive any funding to attend your university through FAFSA, such as student loans, Pell grant, or other funding, ask your study abroad and/or financial aid office if you can use that same aid towards a semester or summer abroad! This is possible at many universities!

A word about student loans: If you have to take out student loans for school anyways, why on earth would you not use that same money to study or intern abroad? Using that money to intern or study abroad for a term is usually going to be a better investment career wise than staying on campus for all 4 (or 5 or 6) years!

2. Home University Scholarships

Many American universities offer scholarships specifically for international experiences, and sometimes these scholarships are worth quite a bit. Check with your study abroad office or a scholarship office on campus to see what your institution offers. You may be surprised!

3. Program Specific Grants and Scholarships

Some universities overseas and many programs offered through study abroad organizations offer funding to specific programs. For example, EZC Study Abroad currently offers a $1,000 grant towards a Fall 2019 semester in Sorrento, Italy, or a $200 grant towards a summer internship in Cork, Ireland, among other options! EZC Study Abroad

4. Scholarships through Study Abroad Organizations

Many study abroad organizations, including EZC Study Abroad, offer scholarships that are open to any student on any one of their programs who meet the qualifications for that scholarship. For example, EZC offers a $400 First Generation Flight Scholarship open for application to all first-generation college students going on an EZC program. EZC Study Abroad

Here is some insider knowledge – you would be surprised how few students actually apply to these! Many organizations struggle to get enough applicants to their scholarships because too many students think that hundreds of students apply.  This is not usually the case! You’d be shocked how many students don’t want to put the effort into applying for scholarships (free money)!  Always apply to ALL scholarships you qualify for! You can’t get a scholarship if you don’t apply! And while you may not receive all the scholarships you apply for, you won’t receive any if you don’t apply.

5. Letters (the old-world form of crowd source funding)

Not to downplay a good crowd sourcing website, such as FundMyTravel.com, but it’s very possible that the people who you are seeking donations from may not want to donate money online. Maybe they are not comfortable with technology, or maybe they have concerns with sharing information online, or maybe it’s another reason. A letter is also much more intimate than a shared link across social media asking for money.  Nothing is more personal than a handwritten (if possible) letter sent via mail (yes, the original, go-to-your-mailbox mail) addressed to an individual family member or friend. Be sure to introduce them to your friends – the 5 Ws and their sister How (Where, When, Why, What, Who, and How) of your intern or study abroad experience. Provide options on ways to donate, such as a check (yes, many people still have checkbooks), cash, along with your FundMyTravel link. Or, with EZC Study Abroad’s unique open payment system, they can submit a payment directly to your EZC program!

Don’t forget to send a personalized thank-you letter to each donor, and it’s a good idea to send them a post card once you get there!

6. Use your skills

Think back to when you were a kid…did you have a craft skill you loved? Did you mow people’s yards in high school? Remember babysitting?  Providing services or creating things that make people’s lives easier is a great way to earn some extra money. For example, if you have a few free afternoons in the spring, you might offer to help people clean out their garages for spring cleaning for a donation of $50 for an afternoon. Or, maybe you have a passion for cars (and cleaning them). Create a carwash coupons booklet and sell them to friends and family to give as Christmas, birthday, Mother’s or Father’s Day gifts. Have a friend who goes to craft fairs or farmer’s markets? Offer to help them out for the day for a donation.  When people see you are willing to work for it, and not simply ask for a handout, people may respond better. Displaying that work ethic is important. You want to go abroad and you’ll do whatever it takes (within reason) to get there!

7. Get another part time job

Remember the ‘willing to work for it’ part from tip number six above? This is similar. Plan ahead and get an additional part time job. Even an extra 10 hours/week can help. Work with a moving company if your strong (or want to become strong), or become a server where you might strike up a conversation with your guests about your future international experience, or become a lifeguard and work at area pools or water parks and get a tan at the same time!

8. Clean out your own closet and sell

As a college graduate myself, I can tell you that most of the ‘things’ I had in my college dorm room that I spent money on did not help me get a job. Think about downsizing your stuff, and sell the items you don’t need. Those unnecessary items, such as an old phone, extra throw blanket, or pair of jeans you don’t wear often, can add up. If selling those things can make a dent in your grocery money for your program, what are you waiting for? As an added bonus – moving out of your dorm or apartment at the end of the term will be easier and less stressful.

9. Tutor

Yes, tutor. Everyone has a subject they do the best in. You do not need to be a straight A student in college to help another student, especially a middle or high school student. Check with your local school district to see if you can advertise your services somewhere. If you belong to a religious organization, share your tutor services there and ask them to share with their friends. Many parents seek additional help for their kids, and not just during the school year. Summer brain drain is a real thing, and parents today know it!

10. Get a credit card (or suggest a parent apply for a new card)

Now, I say this with a few precautions, as this may not be a great idea for everyone. If you (or your parent) have good credit and are responsible with money, think about getting a new credit card with perks. Some cards offer sign up bonuses in the form of airline miles or cash back, and while these won’t pay your full program fees, they may help to pay your plane ticket. Credit cards that have incentives are an excellent way over time to earn a little money. Having a credit card is also a great emergency back up for cash when you’re abroad (in most locations).

However, if you (or your parents) are not the type who can control spending, then I suggest you skip this one. Credit cards are only a good idea if you are disciplined in your spending, and typically pay off the balance in full each month. But if that is you, check into this option!

Nothing is better than personal advising, as everyone’s financial situation is different. If you’d like to speak with an EZC Study Abroad staff member on plans to help fund your EZC program, give us a call! We’re happy to brainstorm with you!

There are so many other ways to fund programs! Get creative! Have an idea or a plan to save money for your program? Tell us in the comments below! We may feature it in a future post!

Post Related

Staying Healthy While Studying or Interning Abroad

Explore more

Study Abroad Stories: Florence, Italy

Explore more

Study Abroad Stories: American girl living in Florence

Explore more