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Costs & Budgeting


Money Matters

Studying abroad may be your first experience planning and managing a budget – in a different country, in a different currency, on a different calendar, and maybe even in a different language! It is important to plan and stick to a budget and pay attention to your spending. The amount you spend abroad will depend on many variables, including the host country’s economy, the currency exchange rate, what costs are covered by your program, your personal spending habits, and the amount you wish to travel.

Step One

Before you begin looking at education abroad programs, calculate your current expenses to get an idea of your budget.

  • Compare ALL of your current costs to attend UW for a semester. Include tuition, books, food, housing, transportation, school supplies, and daily incidentals.
  • If you receive financial aid, calculate how much you receive to pay for the semester.
    • Deduct this amount from the costs you just calculated to come to UW. This will give you the out of pocket costs you have each semester.
  • If you work during the semester to help pay for school, calculate how much you earn each semester.
    • Please remember, you will more than likely be unable to work while you are abroad because your immigration status will not allow this or the cost to get a work visa is more expensive then what you would make.

Step Two

Evaluate the features and costs of various programs to find the best match for your needs and interests.

Use this Budgeting Worksheet to compare the costs of education abroad programs to the cost of attending UW. 

Below are various factors that influence the total cost of participating on an education abroad program:


  • Big City vs. Smaller Town: Large cities or country capitals can automatically increase the cost of living (i.e. New York City vs. Laramie). If the cost is an issue, you might want to consider a smaller city or town.
  • Exchange Rates: Places where the value of the dollar is higher means that your money can stretch farther, lowering your everyday cost of living.

Timing and length of the program

  • Research your intended study abroad location to find out when the peak travel season takes place because cost will increase significantly during that period.
  • The time of year in which you choose to study can also have an impact on the financial aid you may be eligible to receive. 

International airfare and on-site transportation

  • Airfare will vary widely depending on your destination, check prices for the time of year you wanted to go abroad.
  • Keep in mind the daily transportation in your country, such as rail passes, taxi fares, and bus tickets that may be required for travel.

Items and activities included in the program fee

  • Know what your program fee covers and what it does not. Some programs include activities, housing, or other services, while others do not.  If you cannot find the costs of your program, please talk to your Education Abroad Advisor. 
  • Additional costs (on top of the program fee) normally include airfare, tuition and fees, books, immunizations, passports/visa and spending money.

Type of program

  • Explore all of your options! Come to the Education Abroad Office or do a Program Search on our website to learn about all of the programs available.
  • The type of program you choose can play a significant role in how much it costs. However, there are benefits that may outweigh cost factors when choosing the right option for your needs.

Step Three

Costs and billing will vary for different program types, but you should budget for the following three items:

  1. Study Abroad Fee- All students participating in education abroad prograsm through the Unviersity of Wyoming will be charged a $325 study abraod fee. This feeinclude the UW International Insurance. 
  2. Tuition & Fees- What you pay for tuition and fees depends on the type of program in which you participate.  For details around the different program fees & tuition, see our explore programs page.  
  3. OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES - Costs not included in your program fee but might be needed to pay out-of-pocket both prior to departure (passport, flight, etc.) and onsite (meals, travel, etc.); these are only estimates and will not billed to your student account

Please use our budget calculator to plan expenses during your education abroad program.


While Abroad

It is important to consider how you will handle your money during your time abroad. In this section we will cover different points to consider while abroad:

Exchange Rates

Keep track of exchange rates. We use online currency converters, such as xe.com and oanda.com while abroad to stay up to date on the latest rates. You may consider downloading these apps as well. 

Avoid Fees

You will probably want to have cash on you most of the time abroad, but be strategic about visiting the ATM. Take out enough cash to last you a week or so, go home, stash what you don't need somewhere safe, and carry around a smaller amount. This will cut down on transaction fees. 

Local Currency

Remember that many countries are more cash-based than the US, so you can't always rely on a debit card or credit card for small purchases.  Pulling cash out of ATMs is your best option (using the tips above).  You will receive cash in the local currency at the best exchange rate.  Avoid using currency exchange locations as their exchange rate is likely much worse than what you would receive at a bank. You will likely lose a lot of money this way.

Accessing Funds

Develop a plan for accessing money abroad. ATMs are often the best way to access money abroad and are widely available overseas. Make sure you use ATMs that are connected to banks (preferably inside a vestibule) which may have a security camera nearby. Some ATMs have been altered or have had skimmers added to them to steal your information.