Budget Workshop

As you plan to study abroad, an important step is to financially budget for your time overseas. This self paced workshop below can be completed at any stage of the study abroad process whether you know where you want to go or still exploring locations. 

After completing this section, it is recommended that you look at the funding study abroad page as well as our list of scholarships

What are your top 3 universities or programs? 

Is a location or region a priority for you and worth spending more money? 

  • If you do not yet have a top choice program, you may want to consider creating multiple budgets for different options to compare the cost. 
  • Would you be open to cheaper locations? Your SF State Abroad Advisor can recommend most cost efficient locations based upon your academic goals. 
    • University of Seoul gives all students a $300-400 monthly stipend, which can cover your housing costs.

    • Chung-Ang University offers a scholarship that would cover the cost of the guaranteed dorms.

    • City University of Hong Kong Business offers a housing subsidy to some SF State students; the total cost for an entire semester is approximately around $800 to $900 (depending upon the exchange rate).

Websites referenced in the video above:

Watched the video, but now want to jump back to a specific section? We have marked below where you can find the following information. 

  • Tuition: 1:04 to 1:25
  • Insurance: 1:26 to 1:44 
  • Budget Worksheet 2:01
  • Housing: 2:10 to 4:33
  • Meals: 4:36 to 6:20
  • Airfare & Transportation: 6:22 to 8:40
  • Visa: 8:40 to 9:51
  • Other Expenses: 9:52 to 10:43
  • Totaling the Cost (without travel): 10:43 to 11:07
  • Comparing the Cost to SF State: 11:08 to 11:30

For CSU IP programs, find your program on the CSU IP website. After you click on your program, select the "program cost" tab to see IP's estimated cost for your program. There you will find an estimate program budget. The video below goes over the budget.

Additionally, it is helpful to look at outside sites for cost comparisons. CSU IP recommends Numbeo. SF State Abroad recommends Expatistan


Some IP programs have "temporary housing and meals" included in their budget. This is a required cost and means that CSU IP will arrange temporary housing and food for when you first arrive to give you time to find a place to live. 

Additionally, some programs also have "group activities" fees, which are also required. You do not have to participate, but you must pay for them. Students in the past have always greatly enjoyed these trips and dinners. If IP does not use all this money on all the participants, the remaining money is given back to all participants. 

If you have any questions about the IP program costs, feel free to reach out to studyabroad@sfsu.edu or ipstudentaffaris@calstate.edu

Create two potential travel budgets:

  1. Your bucket list of places and things you know now that you want to do. Make a list and begin budgeting for them. 
  2. Also, there are places and things you do not yet know and want to have the funding to do when invited. 

Then, talk with study abroad alumni and international students about where they have traveled and how. 

  • Did they fly or take the train? What airline or trains did they use?
  • Where did they stay? Hostels, hotels, Airbnb, Couchsurfing, other?
  • Do you plan on attending local festivals and concerts?

If there is a one percent chance you might want to be abroad for the year, apply for the year! It is better to apply for the year and then shorten your program to a semester than to go the other way. In fact, it is never possible to extend from a semester to a year in the UK. If a program is competitive (like Australia), then it is highly unlikely an extension will be approved. 

To learn about the cost of a semester versus a year, check out the short video below.