Show Me the Money: An Undergraduate's Budget in Japan (page 2)
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.
Accommodation and meals
It was very helpful to be able to pay an all-inclusive program fee, which covered accommodation and most of my meals. The fees for identical programs may vary, so find out if your school has an ongoing relationship with the program you're considering.
For me, the all-inclusive fee meant no monthly rent, no utility bills and most importantly, prepared meals. Cooking for one person in Japan is just as expensive as eating out. Moreover, not knowing how to prepare the local foods and vegetables can lead you to seek out more familiar, yet more expensive American foods.
For additional meals, rather than shopping for foreign foods at specialty stores or eating at expensive restaurants, I shopped at the corner store and ate at the same shops as the locals. It saved me money in the long run and allowed me to experience another side of authentic Japan.
Transportation and travel
Unlike many private awards, a portion of the Boren Scholarship can be used to cover transportation to and from your destination. Not having to worry about getting to Japan gave me the time to think about domestic travel within the country.
Thank goodness for student rates. A monthly rail pass that covered my daily 2-hour commute would have been twice as much had I not been a student. For domestic trips, a good travel agent can get you the cheapest rate for trains, buses and planes.
4 More Items You Might be Interested In:
You've got to be good at doing two or three things at once if you want to study overseas. And that's before you even leave home. Here's an insider's view to show undergrads the ropes.
Angineeki Miles made her budget work in Japan's high-priced economy, where a crosstown taxi ride might cost several hundred dollars. Anne Allen's Tanzania is a very different destination, but you can learn how she paid for it in her "money" sidebar.
Got the money for study outside the U.S.? Now convince your mom that time abroad will be good for you too.
For more on financing your study abroad, visit Netlinks keyword "funding."
- Take advantage of special discount tickets to cultural events provided for international students.
- Join field-trips & activities included in the study abroad program fee.
- Spend time getting to know friends through house or dorm parties.
- Spend a Saturday visiting museums instead of shopping centers.
- Volunteer time at a local primary school.
- Attend free events such as cultural festivals, concerts, and flea markets.
- Join a campus club or free culture class given at the local community center.
- Choose a stress-free, entertaining subject as a part of the course-load.
|4 Private Scholarships||$7,880||Program Fee||$11,600|
|Dewitt Wallace Merit Scholarship||$4,630||Direct Consular Fee for Visa||$50|
|Ty Cobb Scholarship||$500||Extra Meals||$150|
|John Lennon UNCF Award||$2,500||In Country Transportation||$350|
|Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Scholarship||$250||Textbooks/Supplies||$200|
|IES Program Fee Reduction||$1,500||Round Trip Airfare||$1100|
|Study Abroad Fee||$100|
Reprinted with the permission of the Office of Distinguished Scholarships.
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