How to Fund your Study Abroad Experience

Author: Kristina Laven

Studying abroad is an experience of a lifetime. Having the opportunity to study in a foreign country, taking in a new culture, embracing the unknown and maybe even learning a new language is a priceless adventure that unfortunately comes at a price. With that being said, regardless of cost, your journey to global education may be closer than you think.

In April 2018, I embarked on an international internship to India that believe it or not did not put a huge damper on my wallet. I want to share the following tips and tricks that enabled me to study abroad in an affordable manner.

How to Afford Your Study Abroad Experience:

1. Scholarships: Apply, apply apply!

There are a lot of scholarships available and reserved for international education that offer a serious amount of funding for your study abroad experiences. Ask around, research, and apply for everything you can find.

    • Check out the Irving K. Barber One World Scholarship for international education. VIU is allotted a certain amount of funding towards study abroad experiences and they are often looking for applicants to take advantage of their bursaries. Depending on where you are going, you could have your entire return flight and then some covered with this scholarship.

2. VIU International Bursaries: Apply and Volunteer

The VIU International Department offers ample opportunity for students to participate in the Global Citizens Network & Stipend program where you are awarded a $500 bursary in exchange for 15 volunteer hours helping out with info sessions, events, attending cultural couch sessions, and even blogging! 

3. Look for funding in your own Faculty Department

As a VIU student, you are lucky to have the support of not only the International Education Faculty members, but your own Faculty may have available grants for your global study pursuits. The Dean of Education was able to offer us a small bursary towards our teaching practicum in India, which means that your Dean may have similar funds available. My advice is, it doesn’t hurt to ask - you never know what you might receive!

4. Be Smart When Booking your Flights

The Internet is full of cheap flight deals. My personal favourite website for flights out of Nanaimo and Vancouver is This local blogger has a knack for finding superb deals on flights from YVR and surrounding local airports to destinations around the world. Once you know your destination and dates, subscribe to the newsletter for updates - your study abroad destination might line up perfectly with super low flight costs.

5. Fundraise

Don’t be afraid to do your own fundraising to help cover the costs of studying abroad. Bottle drives, burger and beer nights, popcorn sales, even go-fund-me pages are all ways you can raise money towards international education. You may be surprised at how willing your circle of peers, friends, and community is willing to help you live out your global education dreams.


Studying abroad is no doubt expensive and a privilege but that does not mean it isn’t attainable. All it takes is a little bit of research and willingness to put in extra time and effort and money will come your way. Above are a few tips that helped me get closer to my dreams of completing a semester abroad, taking part in an international internship, practicum, or research in a new and exciting destination. Don’t let money get in the way of your dreams, there is funding out there for students exactly like you to embark on these experiences.

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