Can I Afford to Go Abroad?

When considering whether to go abroad, you may wonder if you can afford it.

You have a better chance of being able to afford an international experience if you follow this advice:

  1. Look into your options. At the University of Cincinnati, options include short study tours, semester-long co-ops or internships, and an intensive co-op program with language study, or you can design your own independent experience.
  2. Research costs and compare. You want to base your decision on facts and your own situation. You may find that going abroad won’t cost much more than staying home.
  3. Consider a lower-cost destination. Living expenses are lower, and more funding is available, in some regions or countries than in others.
  4. Look for sources of funding. Start early – most aid applications must be submitted six months to a year before you go abroad.

You can afford to go abroad if you start early, research your options, compare costs, and seek out funding.

Explore Options

Search UC's database of study abroad programs around the world. Use this tool to search by country or region, type of program, program duration, and more.

UC Study Abroad advisors host regular drop-in hours to advise students who are thinking about going abroad. Wherever you are in the process, they would love to help you.

You can also read more about the co-op and internship programs and faculty-led tours that are managed by UC's College of Cooperative Education and Professional Studies.

Compare Costs

Before you start planning your experience abroad, it's important to understand the estimated program costs and how they compare to your current expenses.

International program costs vary based on things like the program's structure, hours of credit, duration, location and the level of service provided by the program partner.

Meanwhile, keep track of how much you spend on tuition, housing, meals, parking, gas, bills, going out and shopping at home, which will help you budget for your experience abroad.

Download a Budget Worksheet to help you capture and compare costs for different international program(s) you’re considering as well as your typical expenses for a semester at UC.

Look for Funding

Many scholarships are available to help you pay for going abroad. Your school and many other organizations encourage going abroad because of the many benefits to you as a student.

Scholarship applications are often due six months to a year before you intend to go abroad, so start early and pay attention to application open dates and deadlines.

Below are some starting points for checking out financial aid, scholarships, and creative funding sources. You might find even more through your own independent research.

University Financial Aid

Students can often apply their existing financial aid when they go abroad. You may even be eligible for additional UC funding to help with travel costs. Learn more about applying your existing financial aid to going abroad.

Scholarship Search

Search for scholarships in a scholarships database maintained by the UC Financial Aid office.

College Scholarships

The University of Cincinnati’s College of Cooperative Education and Professional Studies has funds available for students in certain international programs we manage.

Freeman Foundation Scholarship

The Freeman Foundation Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $5,600. It is available to University of Cincinnati undergraduate and graduate students who travel to Singapore or Hong Kong on The International Experience Program. Citizens of China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan are not eligible. View the Freeman Foundation scholarship application.

In addition, students who are eligible for PELL Grants, GEN-1 (first-generation college students), or members of an ethnic minority may qualify for an additional $1,400 from the Freeman Foundation for travel to Singapore or Hong Kong with The International Experience Program. Students should indicate their status on the Freeman Foundation scholarship application.

International Co-op Program Scholarship

The International Co-op Program Scholarship provides funds to students participating in the formal International Co-op Program (ICP) in Germany or Japan. Awards are based on financial need and merit. The scholarship is available through the generous support of ICP alumni.

Gayle Elliott Scholarship Fund for International Co-op

The Gayle Elliott Scholarship Fund for International Co-op provides scholarship funds to students in UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science who participate in the formal International Co-op Program. Funds help cover tuition for the Intensive Language Course and/or housing costs during the co-op assignment.

University Scholarships

University of Cincinnati colleges and departments offer scholarship funding for students going abroad on approved academic programs.

UC International Scholarship

The University supports students going abroad on approved academic programs through the UC International Scholarship.

Grants for Honors Experiences

Grants are available for honors students engaging in a pre-approved honors experience. The International Experience Program and International Co-op Program are both pre-approved honors experiences.

Outside Scholarships

Many organizations and institutions provide scholarships and grants to students who study abroad from the United States. Some are targeted to a certain student population, academic focus, or region of the world. UC Study Abroad maintains a partial list of external scholarships.

Scholarship Application Help

Most scholarship applications require an essay of some sort. If you want help writing your essay, consider these resources:

Creative Funding

In addition to applying for scholarships and grants, students can source funds creatively, for example:

  • Earn more income: Get a part-time job or work more hours at your current job to earn extra money.
  • Save: Make small lifestyle changes to put money aside, like postponing buying new clothes or drinking water instead of a daily soda or latte.
  • Fundraise: Ask relatives to contribute to your study abroad for holiday and birthday gifts.
  • Crowdsource: Consider setting up a crowdsource account like FundMyTravel or GoFundMe.


For assistance or to ask questions about any of the information on this page, contact ELCE's Director of International Programs.

Headshot of Erin Bove

Erin Bove

Associate Director, International Programs

(513) 556-4535

Headshot of Willie D. Clark III

Willie D. Clark III

Assistant Professor and Director, International Programs

(513) 556-0354