Let me preface this post by saying that both the Truman Center for International Education and ISEP (International Student Exchange Program) have great website with lots of information for students looking to study abroad. But I wanted to give you some perspective from a student that has been through it.
I knew I wanted to study abroad way back in high school. Part of the reasons that I chose Truman was because of its reputation for having a large number of students study abroad. Originally, I wanted to go to France and planned to take a French class each semester until I did. However after realizing the commitments of being a Biology and pre-vet major and having a not so great first semester of French I decided that perhaps France was not what I wanted to do.
After that I didn’t really know where I wanted to go, anywhere sounded good. So I went to the study abroad office and asked their advice. I knew I wanted to go abroad for a semester, didn’t have a huge preference for the location, and would prefer a cost effective option. ISEP was recommended and I realized it was the perfect program for me. Through ISEP you pay normal Truman tuition, room and board. For this 2012 fall semester that meant around $7,000. That tuition covers your tuition, room and board abroad. After that you only have to pay expenses such as the application fee, health insurance, visas, flights, etc. I am extra fortunate to have earned the Pershing Scholarship at Truman which not only covers tuition/room and board but also allows me a $4,000 stipend specifically for my study abroad experience. So the majority of my experience is covered.
The application for ISEP was a bit daunting, but taken a little at a time was very doable. I’ve taken some care to track my major expenses for those who are curious about the real cost of study abroad:
- ISEP application fee: $375
- ISEP health insurance: $350
- Fiji Study Permit (their equivalent of a visa): $350
- Tuition, Room and Board for Truman: $7,090
- My flight roundtrip to Fiji: $1832
- Typhoid vaccination (not covered by insurance): $100
The moral of the story is that studying abroad is fairly expensive. But if you can take some time and do it during a normal semester you can get an amazing value. I highly recommend doing an exchange program through ISEP.