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How much does it cost to become a foreign exchange student?

Costs to be an Exchange Student

It really depends on what country you're from, what country you are planning to go to (some countries are just cheaper than others and the other way around) and the organization. There are a lot of organizations out there that organize such exchanges. With some being way cheaper than others.

Being an exchange student can be expensive. Along with what you must pay to the organization in order to cover your travel fees, you will typically require some spending money. You must also always be prepared for unexpected expenses, and should establish how you and your parents will be dealing with the expenses of your exchange before you leave your home country.

The cheaper ones are nonprofit organizations such as “Rotary International” it might cost you less expansive with everything included (insurance etc.) and you might be able to get a scholarship if you go with one of these, which will make it even cheaper. The profit organizations are a lot more expansive and they often don't include insurance and that kind of things. Also it really depends on if you’re planning to go to a public school or a private school. The above mentioned prices are for the public schools, the cost to go to a private school are even higher.

Many organizations will charge between $9 000 and $10 000 for a year-long exchange, although organizations such as Rotary International (a worldwide service club) may facilitate exchanges for a much lower price. Your exchange organization should provide insurance, a flight, and a travel visa, also finding you a place to live and a school to attend. Some organizations help people pay for exchange by providing loans which will allow for payment of the whole fee (plus interest); these can last for up to 24 months.

Many exchange students may also use scholarships to help with the cost of exchange, so be sure to check whether there are any opportunities of that sort present within your region. Depending upon the typical way of life within your home country, you might even consider of getting a part-time job before you go on exchange.

Being financially in control

It is very important for an exchange student to be financially responsible. Many people who go on the exchange program after having some work experience, and thus have an idea of what they can afford to spend during their year abroad. Compared to what you might typically spend in your home country, going on exchange requires a significantly larger sum of money. Try to establish a monthly budget for yourself which covers the cost of necessary items (cell phone bill, school books, school lunch, toiletries, public transportation, etc.), along with money for leisure times for example (for shopping, hanging out with friends, or trips within your host region).

Expected costs of the Host-family

Also remember that host family, though usually very kind, generous, and welcoming, should not be expected to pay for most of things you will need. However, host family should always have food available for you and must pay the bills to keep their house warm and well-lighted. If your host family takes you out to a restaurant, they will typically pay for your food unless other arrangements have already been made. However, if a family offers to take you on a trip to Disneyland or some other amazing place, you will likely be expected to pay for your plane ticket and bring your own spending money. This should be discussed long before any purchases are made. This will help to eliminate unnecessary confusion and often prevent resentment between you and your host family.


Emergency fund in local currency

You should always go to your host country with an “emergency” fund in the local currency for your backup. This is required by many exchange organizations and must be given to an official with the organization for safekeeping. This is the money that will be used to cover medical fees (typically reimbursed by insurance) and other expenses in times of great urgency. In addition, it is always a good idea to bring some funds that you can use until you set up a local bank account or otherwise have your finances organized. Many exchange students receive the money they require via bank transfer; however, another option is to get a Visa or another credit card and use it to get money at the ATM as necessary in accordance with your budget. You will be charged a fee somewhere between five and seven dollars each time you make a withdrawal with a credit card from an ATM, so be sure to get enough money to last you a while!


Keep your budget

Being an exchange student is always incredibly fun, but you have to be careful to ensure that you don’t run out of funds before the end of the year! Budgeting may sometimes seem tedious, but keep in mind that you are practicing living independently: you are the sole person responsible for the decisions you make while on exchange. Always try to balance managing a reasonable budget and being financially smart with enjoying your exchange.


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