When planning on how much money to bring for your personal expenses and meals, it will be a good idea to compare the cost of living between San Jose, California and the destination of your program. Check out this cost of living comparison website

A key to planning ahead is to establish a budget for yourself. By taking the time to plan for your expenses you will be prepared for your trip and have a good idea how much you need to have available. You can start by brainstorming all your anticipated costs and where you can get funds to help. Make a simple budget like the example below to see what you will need to make your trip a reality!

Budget Example

Cost of Program

SJSU Tuition & Fees $3,900.00
Admin fees/deposits $0.00
Program fees $0.00
Housing & Meals $4,500.00
Books & Supplies $150.00
Insurance $350.00
Personal Expenses $2,000.00
Airfare Costs $1200.00
Other Expenses $750.00
Total Est. Costs $12,850.00


Available Funds 

Financial Aid $6,371.00
Scholarships $750.00
Savings $3,000.00
Work before you go $600.00
Other Funds $1,200.00
Total Available $11,921.00


Amount Needed/Surplus

Total Est. Costs $12,850.00
Total Available $11,921.00
Surplus/Needs $929.00


Using this method to plan ahead will help you be better prepared so that you spend your time enjoying your international experience and not worrying about money! It is also important that you account for any bills or responsibilites you will still have while you are away when making your budget. Will you still need to pay for your cell phone? Make a car payment? These kind of responsibilities do not go away when you go abroad so be sure to factor them in as well!

Your budget costs will depend on your program, and the costs will be listed on each program's page. If you have questions about what the expenses are, be sure to ask us.


Other things to keep in mind

Credit Cards & Banking: If you plan to take a credit card with you be sure to check if it has any foreign transaction fees. These can be costly and can add as much as 3% per transaction to your debt! Also, you will want to be sure you notify your bank of your plans so you don't run into trouble with their fraud department.

Foreign Currency: Be sure to see what your money is worth in the country you plan to visit and account for the conversion in your budget. Sites like the XE Currency Converter can help give you an idea of current exchange rates. Be sure you remember that these rates are constantly fluxuation and build a bit of a buffer into your budget just in case!

Airfare: Prices are always changing, and in the case of Faculty Led Programs you have to wait for the cohort to pay their fees in full before booking your airfare, which can add to the cost as well. STA Travel, the student travel agency, has a program available to help you lock in your airfare called Book Now, Pay Later. For a deposit they will hold your ticket at the rate you book and they do not charge any interest to do so! As always, be sure to read all the fine print.