Study abroad costs can seem mighty daunting, at first. And though it’s true that the money you spend studying in a foreign country while in high school is absolutely worth it (ten times over!), we thought it’d be nice to provide you with a list of resources that could potentially help fund your education abroad:
1. Check out your scholarship options. This is undoubtedly the best way to help stave study abroad costs. Think about it — the funding sources are already out there; the money is simply yours for the taking! Here at SPI, we offer two partial scholarships for the program of your choice, as well as a full scholarship for our Costa Rica program. In addition, you can also check out our list of outside options for scholarships and grants (and trust us, there are tons of options out there!). *Word of advice: when considering your options for grants or scholarships, remember that many of them are dedicated to targeted student populations and/or are leadership-based. Be sure to formulate your essay(s) accordingly. For example, if your essay prompt is asking you to write about a formative leadership experience you’ve had, don’t stray off topic and discuss your various scholastic achievements — organize your thoughts solely according to the prompt. This will help you stay on track and net that scholarship you deserve!
2. Work part-time jobs during the school year or summers. Yes, higher-paying jobs for high school students are a bit limited. No, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pinch pennies while making minimum wage at your local McDonald’s (though, of course, that works, too). Instead, you may want to consider these money-making options:
- Babysitting/nannying — you’ll make good money and likely have more fun, if you enjoy kids. Create a cool, informative flyer or blog that advertises your services. And remember, if you offer to include light housekeeping or cleaning, you’re likely to make the big bucks!
- Student brand ambassador work — marketing companies are always looking for high school and college brand ambassadors to help with promoting their products. Best of all? You could potentially make $15-25, depending on the kind of work you can get. Google search “student brand ambassadors” or check out Craigslist under “marketing/advertising/PR jobs”.
- Tutoring — if you’re good at a particular subject, why not consider tutoring for your fellow students? Parents will likely shell out some serious cash in order to help their kids make better grades. Talk to your counselor/principal/teachers about offering your tutoring services.
3. Start fundraising and letter-writing. Indulge in your creative side and create an original blog or Facebook page that explains your motives for studying abroad, and how people can help you get there; write letters to local businesses, rotary clubs, church groups, and people in your community asking them for whatever help they can give; hold events such as yard sales or raffles (or yes, even bake sales — they work!) to promote your cause. Be honest and straightforward about the benefits of study abroad, and how this education will be beneficial to your future. You’ll probably find that there are lots of people (in your community and beyond) who would be willing to provide you with some financial help to achieve your goal.
It’s entirely possible to fund your high school abroad education, if you’re willing to take the time out of your schedule to do so. Keep in mind the fact that studying abroad is worth every cent — not only will you gain invaluable knowledge of a foreign language and culture, become an outstanding college candidate, and globalize your education; you’ll have an amazing life experience that will benefit you for years to come.