With proper preparation, you can plan a great study abroad experience that fits your financial needs.

Budget basics

You can estimate how much study abroad may cost by reviewing your program's detailed budget.

Study abroad programs typically publish a student budget that includes two figures:

  • Fees you pay to the sponsoring institution (e.g. tuition, program fees, insurance), and
  • Estimated out-of-pocket expenses (e.g. housing, meals, transportation)
Comprehensive costs

As you review a study abroad program budget, make sure the categories below are accounted for in either the program fees or out of pocket expenses estimate. (Program budgets do not typically include recreational travel and entertainment, clothing, souvenirs or other similar personal items, ATM fees, emergency or other exceptional expenses in their cost estimates.)  

  • Tuition and/or instructional costs, including program services and administration fees
  • Non-resident supplemental tuition (when applicable)
  • Berkeley campus fee (when applicable)
  • Berkeley SHIP insurance (when applicable)
  • Accident, medical, & travel insurance, including 24/7 emergency assistance
  • Mandatory host country insurance (when applicable)
  • Pre-departure information and advising fees
  • Pre-departure expenses (e.g. passport, visa, health clearance)
  • Round-trip airfare
  • Housing and meals
  • On-site orientation and support
  • Books and/or course supplies
  • Cultural activities and program excursions
  • Cell phone costs, laundry, utilities (internet access, heating, etc.), and other incidentals (personal care, hygiene, etc.)
  • Local transportation fares to and from class
  • Additional cost for academic internships or independent study (when applicable)
  • Transcript(s) 
Identifying funding

There are many ways to fund your study abroad experience. The most popular is to apply your existing financial aid towards the cost of studying abroad. You may also be eligible for special study abroad scholarships from program, campus, and extramural sponsors. You can also seek out additional funding through funding directories and personal fundraising.


Payment details and deadlines vary by financial aid status and program provider. Detailed instructions will be provided upon selection to a program.

Tips to lower cost

Consider countries or cities that have lower costs of living than the US. Locations in major cities, especially in Western Europe, may have a higher cost of living and therefore higher program costs. Some study abroad programs cost less than a semester or year at Berkeley, even with international airfare!

Longer programs are typically more economical over time than short-term programs. Additional scholarships or discounts are often available to semester and year-long participants.

Look for a program offering a discount or scholarship to Berkeley participants.

Studying abroad for a semester or more? Look for a country where you may be able to work while studying abroad. Depending on one’s visa status, some countries may allow students to be employed during their studies abroad. Please note that the list below does not apply to students on summer programs. In addition, students who are able to speak the local language have the best chances of finding work abroad.

  • Some students in semester long programs have historically been able to work part-time while abroad in:
    • Australia
    • Canada
    • Denmark
    • Germany
    • France
    • Iceland
    • Ireland
    • Italy
    • Norway
    • South Africa
    • Sweden
  • In addition to the list above, some students on year-long programs have historically been able to work in:
    • Korea
    • New Zealand
    • United Kingdom (England and Scotland)

Please consult a Berkeley Study Abroad Adviser if you are considering working while abroad.