Exchange Rates Dropping: Time to Study Abroad!

When I studied abroad in France last year, the exchange rate was 1.47 and rising.  The high rate didn’t keep me from traveling, but I definitely became more nit-picky as to how I spent my money.  For several months I watched my hard earned cash disappear quickly.  Although I was not in any rush to return home, I was excited to once again spend American money.

Possibly a sign of better times: the exchange rate has drastically improved for Americans looking to study – or travel – abroad.  In the past two days alone, the American dollar has gained ground on the euro and the British pound.  A year ago a U.S. dollar could buy about 50 percent of a British pound. Today, it’s worth nearly 70 percent of a pound’s value. Likewise, last year, the dollar was worth about two-thirds of a euro. Today, it is worth nearly 80 percent.

Studying Abroad is Good for your Taste Buds. But Don't Break the Bank.

Studying Abroad is Good for your Taste Buds. But Don't Break the Bank.

Although it’s not as low as say ten years ago, this still means you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck. This also means you won’t break the bank for that daily baguette, a movie, or housing.  For anyone who wants to spend time abroad- that’s a lifesaver.

In today’s rough economy money can make or break a study abroad trip. University campuses and program providers have noticed the hesitation and are revising the way they transfer credits or charge fees for study abroad programs. For example, some schools make students take a leave of absence and hold onto their financial aid when the students go overseas. Now more schools are switching to the  home-school approach, which enables students to receive more benefits from their school while their abroad.

Another encouraging sign is the legislation that was re-introduced yesterday in an effort to promote living, studying, and traveling overseas. The Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act of 2009 would enhance the country’s “intellectual capacity and economic competitiveness by expanding opportunities for American college students to gain a global education.”  The bill would allocate $80 million in grants for study abroad.  Study abroad programs are pertinent in this day and age because they help students understand other cultures and build stronger international relationships.

If you’re planning on studying abroad check out the financial aid, scholarships, and grants offered by universities or program providers. If that fails, you can always enroll in an intensive month long or summer term. There’s no reason not to experience the amazing opportunities available abroad- and with exchange rates improving for Americans, your money will go further. It’s not the end of the world if you come home slightly broke. Think of it this way, in 20 years you’ll have earned back all the money (and then some) and what you’ll have left is the memory of an amazing trip abroad.

11 Responses to “Exchange Rates Dropping: Time to Study Abroad!”

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Gulliver helps students Study Abroad. Our blog covers: current issues in Study Abroad; featured posts by Study Abroad students; and Gulliver updates, news, and behind-the-scenes peaks. Thanks for reading!

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