The cost of studying abroad can vary a lot depending on the length of the program, where you go, and what your personal spending habits are. You will typically be responsible for the following:
Some programs will have a program fee while others will not. Pay attention to how much the program fee is and what it includes. There are many study abroad programs that do not have a program fee such as the JACAC Student Forum.
In exchange programs and other Queen's programs, tuition is paid to Queen's and not to the host university.
If you are a domestic student planning on studying independently at a university outside of Canada on an International Letter of Permission be aware that you will likely have to pay international tuition which can be more expensive.
Just as in Kingston, accommodation costs can vary. Some exchange partners offer accommodation at reasonable rates if you apply by set deadlines, while Bilkent University in Turkey will provide you with free accommodation! For study abroad programs, accommodation may be included in the program fee. Some expenses (e.g., laundry) may be included in your accommodation fee, while others may not be.
Identify what is and what isn't included in your program fee and accommodation. You'll have to factor in meals (if not provided) and local transportation costs. This "bucket" can be the one that is most impacted by your financial situation and/or your spending habits.
Some programs will include flights (for example the KGU Cross-Cultural College has a Y80,000 scholarship to offset the cost of travel), while other programs such as exchange require you to pay for your flights independently.
You are required to have health insurance in order to be able to study abroad. Many undergraduate students will opt-in for the coverage offered by StudentCare. In addition to your own health insurance, if you are taking part in exchange you may also be required to purchase mandatory insurance by your exchange school. Whatever coverage you choose, make sure it is suitable for your situation and personal circumstances. You should also consider travel insurance to cover situations such as trip cancellation as well as personal effects.
In addition to the above, you are responsible for the costs associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including all anticipated and unanticipated travel-associated costs. This may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Required vaccinations
- Costs required for quarantining or COVID testing (before travel, arrival in host county, and/or upon return to Canada or your home country)
- Flight changes
- Early termination of rental leases
- Financial costs associated with the issuance of any travel notices by the Canadian government or others
One of the most important things you can do in your research and pre-departure planning is to create a budget.
- Search travel guides and the web for travel tips
- Research the cost of living in your potential host country - websites like Numbeo can be useful
- Consider your spending habits, your lifestyle preferences, your current expenses and how you like to travel for your lifestyle abroad
Financing Learning Abroad
While some programs can be expensive, not all are. For example, did you know that if you go on exchange you don’t necessarily have to pay more than you would if you stayed in Kingston? This is because you still pay Queen's tuition and the cost of living in different countries can be cheaper than it is in Canada.
A number of general scholarships and bursaries are available specifically for students participating in formal exchange programs. There is also substantial financial assistance available for students attending the Bader International Study Centre (BISC). Some departments also offer bursaries and scholarships for students studying or researching abroad.
Queen's awards are generally not available for programs which require the payment of fees to an institution outside of Queen's. However, there are other external granting agencies that offer financial support for study abroad, and millions of dollars go unclaimed by students every year.