Anyone who has studied abroad — especially in a comparatively higher-exchange-rate zone such as the European Union — knows the experience can be an expensive one. With necessities such as housing, food and transportation to consider, the costs of an extended sojourn in a dream country could seem out of reach for the average student.
Fortunately, the UC Education Abroad Program provides many resources to those with international aspirations. The program’s website offers a convenient search feature that estimates the cost of a semester, summer or year abroad in the countries that host opportunities with the program. Estimates do not include the cost of recreational travel, entertainment and other personal expenses, but they provide a rough budget for a complete experience abroad.
The cost estimation is useful, but it could be jarring for a student at odds with how to afford it at all. UC Berkeley students receiving financial aid will be relieved to know their financial aid travels with them. Every UC student’s financial aid budget is adjusted to match his or her program’s student budget, according to the website, and the campus Financial Aid and Scholarships Office offers personalized assistance to students seeking fiscal guidance.
Those without financial aid also have abundant financing options within reach. In January, the program announced in a press release that it would double scholarship funding during the 2013-2014 academic year, doling out more than $1 million in scholarships as a result of an ambitious $1 Million Scholarship Initiative and more than tripling the program’s funding for scholarship awards since 2011.
From summer 2013 through spring 2014, the program will offer more than 380 awards of $1,000 and $2,000 to students who are selected through the application process, which can be accessed through the program’s MyEap online hub. Additionally, students who receive scholarships are expected to complete a two-page report, which includes appropriate photos or video clips, within one month of the conclusion of their term of study.
With a little more than 1,000 UC Berkeley students studying abroad with the program this year, there are financial awards readily available to a significant percentage of the students eligible for them. But if those awards are not adequate, a surfeit of other nonprogram-related and privately sponsored scholarships are provided by the program on their website. Many are limited to certain countries, majors or other specifications, but they still provide a useful resource for those struggling to make studying abroad financially feasible.
UCEAP has made a concerted effort to make studying abroad more accessible to all students interested in making it a part of their experience at Cal. With ample opportunities available to finance what could be a life-changing experience, any student has the resources to make studying abroad not only a memorable experience but a financially simple one, too.