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How To Raise Money For Your High School Study Abroad Experience
With the advent of social networks and the rise of online-based businesses, the opportunity for people to find careers around the world has greatly increased. Foreign language classes are commonly available for children as early as elementary school age, and it is not out of the ordinary for high school students to spend up to a year as a foreign student. The choices young people are making today are incredibly diverse and exciting.
Transitions Abroad is both a print magazine and an online portal that provides in-depth information on issues related to studying, living and working abroad. In their surveys of American foreign exchange students, the following traits were reported in significant percentages:
- Increased self-confidence
- Increased maturity
- Lasting impact on worldview
- Increased interest in academic study
- Influenced subsequent educational experiences
- Enhanced commitment to foreign language study
- Helped to foster a better understanding of cultural values and prejudices
- Influenced by the desire to seek a greater diversity of friends
- It continues to influence interactions with people from different cultures
- Acquired skills that have influenced the career path
- Ignited an interest in a career direction pursued after the experience
With this kind of life-changing opportunity, it’s no wonder so many young people want to spend time studying in a foreign country. However, such experience can be very expensive, and financial aid can be difficult to find. This presents a problem for many would-be adventurers.
Is he really into you?
Before venturing down this path too far, however, the student must be sure that he or she is ready to commit totally to this process. A two- to three-week program overseas can cost up to $6,000 itself, so the student must understand that this is serious business. It will take hard work and great sacrifice to make this opportunity possible.
It is also important for a student to decide what type of program best serves their interests. While study programs have great value, perhaps a volunteer work program is a better fit. Or, perhaps, a church-oriented mission program would be appealing. Not everything has to be academic based. In fact, if you choose a non-academic type of program, you can find alternative ways of financing. So, do a thorough research on not only where you want to go, but also what you want to do. It could help you focus your efforts.
Step 1 – Personal commitment or “Digging into your pockets”
I think there are some preliminary steps that must be carried out before this process that will reveal how serious the student is to make sacrifices for this adventure. If any of these suggestions turn off the student, I question the decision to move forward.
Control your spending habits
The first thing a student should do is to look at their spending habits. If a weekly movie, music downloads, clothes shopping and other incidentals are a higher priority than the study abroad trip, saving thousands of dollars will be difficult. Therefore, the student will have to create a strict budget and slash those expenses that will prevent him from reaching the goal.
Sell your stuff
Second, it would be wise for a student to evaluate what items he could sell to earn money for the experience. eBay and other online auction houses are a great way to offload unused or unnecessary items and make pretty good money for them.
A garage sale, held at the right time of year, can also be lucrative. You can also have your parents “donate” all proceeds to your study abroad fund. Maybe friends and relatives will also be willing to give their things to sell and keep the money.
Exchange your stuff
Next, I know this may sound like an unusual suggestion, but in this age of e-mail and cell phones, it could be very profitable indeed. I think the student should embark on a “Red Paperclip” project. I wrote a blog post about it on Top School Fundraisers. In essence, the student chooses a price item of his own and attempts to exchange it with friends, family, work colleagues, fellow students, or anyone willing to exchange something of slightly higher value for it. Once the first trade is made, the student will immediately try to exchange the second item for something of even higher value. And so on. Eventually, once the student has traded for a significantly valuable item, he can sell it for cash and put that toward travel.
I once led a class of adults who did this experiment, and a woman ended up making a trade for an old car that had the original chrome. He took the chrome, polished it and sold it on eBay for $1,300! All this opportunity to earn money is a cheap item to start and the courage to ask people to trade. Who knows how far you can take this?
Blog Your Way to RichesAnother way to generate some income is to learn how to blog for money. There are a number of websites that will teach you how to “monetize” your blog. You may not get rich doing this, but the income of $50 to $60 per month is quite easy to set up and does not require much hard work. Just a little creativity and attention should do the job. I would suggest looking at websites called Problogger or Shoemoney for ideas.
Get a job
Ok, this is a boring one: find a job. Commitment to a part-time job, if you have not done this before, can be a big step. It can interfere with your studies and your personal life. But, if you want this overseas experience bad enough, you may be willing to work a few hours a week. If you make $7 an hour and work 15 hours a week for 36 weeks (an average school year) you can earn $3,780.
In the summer, you can even earn more. If you think ahead enough, you can actually take a chunk out of the total bill this way. You won’t do anything glamorous for $7 an hour, but remember your goal. Of course, you cannot spend any of this income. Put the money into the old savings account.
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