Learning Abroad Center

Money Considerations

Money Considerations Before You Go

Cost of Living 

Use expatistan.com to compare the cost of living in the different locations you're considering- it can vary dramatically from location to location. Take these cost differences into consideration when making a final program choice.

Call Your Debit and Credit Card Companies Before You Go

Let your bank and credit card companies know the country and the dates you will be gone.  Ask about fees and obtain your bank's emergency phone number in the US to call if you encounter any issues.

Withdrawing Money

ATM is still almost always the cheapest option for changing your money. And if your bank has international ATMs or partner banks abroad, you can sometimes save a little on your cash withdrawals.  Be sure to check on foreign-transaction fees ahead of time.  Some ATMs overseas require that you tap the screen to have your card returned to you, resulting in many forgotten ATM cards.

Exchange Rates and Currency Conversion Tools

Having an understanding of the local currency before you depart will allow you to be better informed when making purchases.  Consider searching for an online wallet-sized currency converter chart to have handy, or install an app on your phone.

Exchanging Money Prior to Departure

Consider exchanging a small amount of money at the airport prior to departure to ensure that you have money onsite in case you run into any issues withdrawing money from a bank or ATM.  Another option would be to onsider order foreign currency ahead of time from your local bank or credit union.

Financial aid & Credit Balances

You are responsible for up front expenses (plane ticket, passport, deposits, spending money) prior to financial aid awards disbursing, so plan your finances carefully.  Understand the billing process for your expenses, including due dates, what is included in your billed program fee as opposed to costs you budget for and pay through your time abroad.  

Aid disburses when classes begin for the term at the University, and we do not advance funds early for study abroad participants.  You may need to borrow money or pursue the Student Emergency Loan Fund program through Coffman Union.  

If your program fee includes meals, know that every time you eat out that is coming out of your own spending money (for example:  a meal plan in a dorm).  

Your financial aid cost of attendance (COA) on your SACE form is a student budget - spend wisely to keep loan and/or credit card debt at a minimum

Power of Attorney

We strongly encourage you to designate someone as your Power of Attorney while you are abroad, so you’ll have someone who can act as your legal representative in a number of situations.