Show Me the Money: An Undergraduate's Budget in Japan
In the spring of 1998, Angineeki Miles studied in Nagoya, Japan with primary support from a David L. Boren Scholarship.
If you can make it there
I'll be the first to admit that Japan is an expensive country to live in, perhaps one of the most expensive in the world. So please understand that my situation was very specific to that environment.
When you look at my budget for the 5 months I was there, you might be thinking you can never afford to leave the country to study. But stick with me. If I could do it in Japan, I think it's possible anywhere.
Since the main purpose of studying abroad is to actually study, there were a few unavoidable expenses - namely, housing, tuition and books. In addition to this, the type of studying that takes place outside of the classroom (a natural need to see and do everything different) evokes the urge splurge on entertainment and new experiences.
Before I left for Japan, I was unsure of how I would manage all that successfully. What I would need to spend in one semester abroad would equal close to what I would spend in a whole year if I stayed at home. However, fueled by my determination to see for myself how the other side of the world lives, I became an expert at financial gymnastics.
Houses are built brick by brick
When looking for money to pay for global study, the key is to start early and leave no stone unturned. For me, this meant combing volumes of scholarship guides and sending out more than fifty inquiries, some up to a year in advance. Combining smaller awards with larger ones helped me find the amount that I needed.
Tips for living inexpensively in an expensive country
For most students, living in another country is a new experience. When I first arrived in Japan, if there was a new-flavored ice cream, I wanted to try it. If there was a local restaurant that got rave reviews, I wanted to be first in line, chopsticks in hand. However, at $15 admission to a movie theater, if I didn't pick my entertainment wisely, the $700 I brought with me wouldn't have lasted the first 2 months. So I developed a number of strategies to help me stretch a yen.
Reprinted with the permission of the Office of Distinguished Scholarships.
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