Is it Expensive to Study Abroad?

One of the most frequently asked questions about studying abroad is if it is expensive to study abroad. The answer is, it depends on many factors and what you choose to do during your study abroad. Logistically, the tuition fee for the quarter you are studying abroad will cost the same as for any normal quarter at Drexel. So at first glance, it does not seem like an expensive experience to have. However, once you are abroad, your lifestyle will not be the same as your lifestyle in the US. The experiences you have abroad are definitely a little more demanding and can make your study abroad experience a little more expensive, but of course are worth it.

As an exchange student in Madrid, Spain, I am able to see that the cost of living in Spain is much cheaper than in the US. Housing here is half the price of housing in Philadelphia. Groceries are much cheaper in Spain, compared to the US. And if I were to live in Spain permanently, I can confidently say that four months in Spain (as a local) would be cheaper than four months in the US. However, most students studying abroad in Europe don’t have a regular lifestyle. Everyone tries to travel to a different country every weekend, make dinner plans frequently, try out new food, go for various ticketed events and shows etc. to maximize experiences abroad in a very limited time frame. These are the things that make studying abroad more expensive.

Travelling does consume most of the budget. Although flights within Europe are quite cheap, accommodation, transportation, food, tickets for museums, events and shows while travelling, do add up. This also depends on the country you are travelling to. For instance, Switzerland is an expensive country to travel to while Portugal was extremely budget friendly. However, travelling with a few friends could help you split costs for accommodation, taxis etc. Regardless, travelling will bring you some amazing must-have experiences.

The first few weeks of moving abroad is also usually the most expensive part since starting a new life in a new country demands many expenses to settle down. Getting a phone plan, metro card, groceries and other essentials, are the main things to figure out once you arrive at your host country. Another thing is that you find yourself making plans almost everyday of the week which is not something that usually happens in the US. The reality of studying abroad in Europe is less studying, more fun, since universities in Europe are mostly laid back with not much work.

Apart from during the program there are expenses during the application process too. Such as paying for health insurance abroad, flight tickets etc. which cannot be avoided. Drexel does offer several study abroad scholarships that you could try applying to, to help cover expenses. Although studying abroad can be quite expensive, it is definitely doable and the experiences and the outcome are worth it. The friendships and strong connections made with people from all around the world is something only a study abroad experience like this can give you. In my opinion, every dollar spent abroad is well spent!