College Abroad? Does It Make Sense for You?

Many of us have dreamt about attending college abroad at one point or another. The food, the sights, the experiences.  But is it a reality? If it is a reality, how much does it cost compared to a degree here in the states?  In the United States, a “moderate” college budget for an in-state public college averaged $24,610 including room and board. A “moderate” budget for a private college averaged $49,320 also including housing and meals. How much more can college abroad cost?    

There are a couple of factors that need to be considered if you want to study in Europe. First there is the obvious, average tuition fees.  Secondly, the average living costs. Let’s take a look at some of the top countries to study abroad.

Coming in at #1 is Italy. No surprise there. The incredible food, the culture, and the history of Italy is enough for anyone to visit, let alone stay for a year. The average annual tuition fees is $920-$1,100 at undergraduate level at public universities. The average living costs is $15,600 per year. Still too costly for you?  We have good news. The same scholarships and grants that are offered to local students are also offered to international students. 

If your goal is to immerse yourself in Spanish history and rich culture, then you should study abroad in Spain, which comes in at #2.  The average annual tuition fees at undergraduate level in public universities is $1,430-$1,620. The average living costs are $11,800-$14,400.  You may begin your academic year with broken Spanish, but you may very well complete the year speaking Spanish fluently.

If Harry Potter is more up your alley, then the #3 location is right for you. England is a fantastic choice if you want to indulge in a different culture, but aren’t interested in learning a new language. English is spoken everywhere, although with a slightly diverse accent in different parts of the country. The average annual tuition fees at undergraduate level is between $20,000-$40,000. The average living costs are $12,400 – $14,000.

Another option that most people are unaware of are Consortiums; an association of two or more individualscompaniesorganizations or governments (or any combination of these entities) with the objective of participating in a common activity or pooling their resources for achieving a common goal.  There are numerous Consortiums around the Unites States, with programs running throughout the world. One of the most popular Consortiums is perhaps the Big Academic Alliance who collaborates with ten well known Universities including, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, and Purdue University among others. Not only are the students able to study at ten different Universities in the U.S., but they also include study abroad programs at more than 70 locations worldwide. Different study abroad programs vary from two weeks to six weeks to a semester or even a full academic year. Costs vary tremendously depending on the length of the study abroad program as well as the chosen destination.

If a liberal arts college is right for you, there is a Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, which is similar to a Consortium.  The CCCU includes over 180 Christian institutions around the world, with 30 or more institutions in 18 countries.  Their study abroad program, perfectly titled Best Semester, includes study abroad programs in Australia, Costa Rica, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, England, and Uganda. The average semester tuition fees range from $12,000-$19,000 and does include full room and board.

Study Abroad programs are available throughout many college institutions, but the difficult question is which one to choose from? Where do you have your heart set on exploring? Which culture do you want to dive into? Who says you have to pick one location?  Some programs offer numerous city destinations within a country or you may want to explore on your own and travel to two, three, four or five different countries while studying abroad.  No matter which path you choose, broadening your horizons and learning about a culture outside of your own will surely enlighten you and open your eyes to the diversity in our world.

Claremont McKenna College

Name: Linden Schult
College: Claremont McKenna College
Major: International Relations

1. What first drew you to Claremont McKenna?

When I started researching colleges, I was interested in a small-to-medium-sized school (I wanted to have smaller class sizes) and a warmer-weather environment (I didn’t want to have to trudge through snow to get to class). Claremont McKenna was the right size – a smaller school with the benefits of the larger Claremont Colleges Consortium – and had beautiful weather.

2. What other colleges were you considering?

The other school I seriously considered was the University of Virginia, but I also looked at Johns Hopkins, Occidental, Pomona, Stanford, University of Oklahoma, and many more… a wide variety of schools!

3. How was the adjustment from high school to college?

Academically, the adjustment was pretty easy. I enjoyed having 2-4 classes a day rather than 7, like in high school. I also loved signing up for classes that were interesting to me and fit with my major, rather than taking a set program of classes like in high school. Socially, it was strange at first to meet so many people at once. I had gone to school with the same people for years and years, and then I arrived at CMC and did not know a single person. That quickly changed, however; as soon as I arrived, I started meeting people right away! Since everyone was new, it made it all quite easy. I also went on a Wilderness Orientation Adventure in Big Sur, with a group of 9 freshmen and 3 senior leaders. It was a great opportunity to get to know a few students really well before diving into the bigger group during on-campus orientation.

4. What was your favorite class?

My favorite class was Politics and the Military in Latin America taught by Professor Camp. It was absolutely fascinating and I loved it.

5. What clubs or groups were you involved in?

My favorite activity was my year as the Resident Assistant for Wohlford, one of the North Quad dorms. I also taught a First Aid Class for American Red Cross Certification, was a member and Co-President of the Women’s Forum, was a Community Service Representative for my dorm, and played on the Claremont Serpents Field Hockey team, among other things! As this list shows, it is easy to get involved in a variety of activities.

6. Anything else you want to tell us?

Claremont McKenna is a wonderful school and I highly recommend it. With the small class sizes, it’s easy to get to know your peers and your professors (professors will even invite classes over to their homes). The campus is beautiful, and that combined with the wonderful Southern California weather leads to lots of fun outdoor time!

7. In one sentence, what do you love about your school?


Linden Schult is a Tutor at Get Smarter Prep.