The Student Room Group

Spending money on year abroad in USA?

I'm not sure whether this should go in the finance boards but I reckon it would get more relevant hits down here :smile:

I've been accepted on the exchange programme and will find out in a couple of months exactly which of my preference schools in America have agreed to take me. All of their academic years run August - May and I'd like to spend most of next summer travelling around so we're talking a whole year over there. :cool:

The only problem I have right now is money :eek: After I pay fees etc for the incoming student I'm left with about £2,000 of my loan/grant and thank goodness food is included with the dorms arrangements in the US (finally I don't have to cook anymore lol) but I don't think £2,000 is that much pocket money for a whole year. I haven't been able to get a job this year at uni - believe me I've tried but it's a tiny town full of students so competition is fierce but am hoping to get some kind of full time job over this summer which could bring in around another £2,000.

To those already on an exchange or even the American students who post here, is £4,000 (or $7,000) enough to have a good time?! :biggrin:
Reply 1
It should be as most of the budget students need for their year abroad in the US is for the accomodation and food. Which unis have you applied to by the way? I'm currently awaiting a reply back from UoC about whether they will accept me and which campus (hope one of my top 3 choices but never sure) I will be going to. My top choice is Irvine and the recommended budget is around $13,000 (about £7,500), with most of it on accomodation.

Also, is that £2,000 for you to spend AFTER you have money set aside for the flights there as well?
I applied to 5 in order of preference but our exchange advisor said I should get into my first choice, and if not that then definately my 2nd. So thats either Virginia Tech or University of Tennessee. I won't find out exactly where until April.

With the programme I'm going on I pay the UK fees & accommodation for the incoming student and they do the same for me at their home uni so all that is taken care of and any money I need after that is for books, going out etc. I have savings that will cover the flights, visa fees etc so the £4,000 was purely spending money once I'm there.

I was hoping I'd get some kind of part time job on campus while I'm there but you can't rely on these things can you so I haven't factored that into my sums.

Are you going on a year abroad or transferring completely? Thanks for your help by the way!

Reply 3
I'm going for the year abroad, and I hope so! Because it's gonna be really cool :biggrin:

I think £4,000 should be ok although it depends on where you plan to visit during the breaks and what your spending habits are like :tongue: Some of the sites I have seen around which give estimates for books are like around £1,000, which I believe is WAY too much. I think £500 would be enough for the year, depending how whether you buy just the essential ones and take out other useful ones from the library or buy them too.

About going out, it should be enough, although whether you drink often while going out with mates might have an effect because I know someone who spent a year at UCSD and he says there's quite a difference.

I wouldn't recommend getting a part-time job there while you're studying because it might get in the way of your studies, plus you should be having a great time over there, not doing 2 jobs at once :smile:

Finally, do you have family and friends who will be expecting you to bring back lovely gifts for them, lol. I'm not even guaranteed a place there yet and I already have friends asking me to bring them back something nice!
lol I haven't told them I'm going yet. I didn't want to say anything in case I didn't get in!! Actually on that subject I'm a bit miffed because the bloke at our uni who looks after it told me to only complete specific forms (which seemed a bit weird as the site said I needed way more than those) only to email me now and say "your application is incomplete as you haven't sent in half the forms" Aaaaargh.

I am so excited to be going though....hopefully the rest of the year at my manky home uni will fly by now I've got something to look forward to!!
Reply 5
At least you had someone who actually knew such a course existed in your department, lol. I had almost no guidance at all and there was only one meeting. Hence I started worrying because I was looking at the deadlines on the UoC website instead of the EAP ones! Then I found out it was compulsory to hand in 2 personal references and study plans for all 3 campuses like 2 weeks before the deadline, so I had to chase my 'year abroad co-ordinator' a few times, who I think got quite annoyed at my constant presence towards the deadline (as it was coming up to Christmas).

If I do go, and since it will be in California, I probably would be tempted to buy a gadget or two there so that's gonna eat away at my budget, lol. Might even be tempted at a new mobile laptop over there :biggrin: I mean, not being able to drink until my 21st birthday in December may mean directing my spending money elsewhere :tongue:

Btw, what's wrong with your current uni?
lol how long have you got? It's just vile...tiny campus, tiny town, everyone goes home on weekends except me because home is WAY too far away lol. I was seriously looking at transferring to Liverpool (only place that does a similar course) until I found out I could go to America for a year and it would still count as the 2nd year of my degree meaning I graduate in 3rd year with my classmates when I get back. My ex bf lives out there too (obviously I initiated all this when he was a current bf and now I'm kinda regretting some of my choices lol).

I only found out in that email I have to fill out loads of forms for each school I listed (5) detailing what classes etc I want to take....

What surprised me is that no-one else in my year wants to go - I thought they'd all be chomping at the bit, it's such a fab opportunity!

Are you going with any of your friends or winging it on your own?

Reply 7
LOL, I believe I'm also the only one in my department who is going too. I know some initially thought about it but decided doing the Year in Industry and earning a bit of some money would have been better. Plus, a year in the US is quite expensive.

Tbh, the main reason why I want to go abroad for the year is because I'm getting really bored of life here, as I'm one of those people who plan to live abroad in the future. Plus, KCL isn't that impressive as a university so it would look nice on my CV that I spend a year at UoC or something. But my parents don't know that and the only thing on their mind is that ''my son is going to AMERICA'' and that they along with my relatives are proud blah blah blah, lol. So yea, I will be going alone but I have a few relatives around the US and Canada so any problems, they are just a quick phone call away.

Which other universities did you apply to over there and for what reasons? I could have applied to Australia or HK/Singapore as well, although my dream exchange program would be in Japan or Italy but I settled for the USA. I used to hate many things to do with the USA but have since grown fond :tongue:
Yep I put VT as first choice tho the ex is from Knoxville which is why I put UT down as 2nd (and my current uni has some special arrangement with UTK which would end up cheaper but I don't know if Knoxville will be the same without the ex lol).

Chidori, I can't even remember all the schools I put down lol. Lucky I left a post it on the fridge at my parents house with them listed in order of preference or else I'd be scr*wed. After the two I mentioned (in some order!) are University of Kentucky, Louisiana State University and some other tiny liberal arts school. I thought competition would be fierce so I listed 5 altogether (I had space for 10 but thought if I don't get into the first 5 forget it) - I didn't even consider the really sought after schools in California etc because I thought I didn't have a hope in hell of getting in there....until I spoke to the advisor at my uni who was like "oh they'll let you in no problem because there's not enough of you going out to free up space for all the ones who want to come in here". :eek:

I mentioned it in passing to my 'rents and they weren't bothered either way. I moved abroad on my own when I was 17, then came back at 22, off to uni at the other end of the country at 23 and I plan to spend a lot of my life away from the UK so any excuse to go abroad is a good one....

PS: Thanks for your help Silkweed
Reply 9
You're lucky your university has connections with many US ones. I think other than University of California, it's either Georgetown or Chapel Hill -.- and they don't even accept students doing my 'major'. Also, there's a chance I may NOT get into any of my 3 preferences and have to settle for a different campus (hopefully not Davis as I heard it's pretty much a farm, lol) as they consider my study plans and what I want to do rather than whether I'm qualified enough to get into my first choice etc...

Having lived in London all my life, I don't think I'll find it much different over there. I do try and save money on the small things here and there, like make my own lunch instead of buying outside...but then with the money I save, I go splash it out on an iPod or something, lol. It depends on where I end up really. If Irvine, probably splash out on something expensive once in a while while if Santa Barbara, then mostly partying for me :biggrin:

Are you planning to visit around the US while over there? I hope to visit NYC and Philadelphia while over there but not looking forward to spending much on the flights :frown:
Reply 10
You should be fine in terms of money. I basically lived off my loan and any spare cash my rents gave me. :smile:

Flights and travel in general is really cheap so you wont have to worry about that. I'm so jealous, i wish i could go and do my year abraod again again!
Oh yeah! When else will I have the opportunity to travel all round during vacations etc. That's why I need more spending money lol

How did you pick all your classes for over there? Because I've just got the undergrad course catalogue, a sheet of paper and am being told to list classes I want to take but then there's some complicated credits thing going on. Aaaargh. And I have to do that for EACH school I applied to.

Reply 12
As almost all of the courses at UoC are prerequisite-based, what I did first was find those that are similar to modules I had done before or will have completed (hopefully! :smile:) by the time I arrive there.

Then what I did was pick modules which interested me, and of course had to be Upper Division courses because I will be in my third year of studies when I'm there. Once I did that, I sorted them into ones which I could do right away as they either required something I will have already done or nothing and could be done at Fall term.

Then the rest, if they require me to have done a module at UoC first, I would keep on the list but I obviously wouldn't be able to do them right away and would probably go under Winter/Spring quarters. Ones I can't do or I don't think I will get the required prerequisites by the final quarter, are discarded.

So yea, quite a complicated method I used there to pick my modules, lol. Another thing I had to do was also note down which quarter they teach a module at. I mean say Module A is a prerequisite for Module B but Module B is only available in Fall while Module B is available throughout the year, then it wouldn't make sense I don't think you could do both at the same time and you would need the knowledge from the predecessor module anyways.

For each of my UoC campuses, I picked about 12-14 modules for the whole year and seeing each module was 4 units, then I would be doing 16-20 units (4-5 modules) a quarter which would satisfy my condition of being an EAP student. I think when applying for a visa, you have to plan to do at least 12 units a quarter or something.

Since I'm applying to UoC, I read that the study plans are more important than the personal statement. Of course, if you say you are a druggie and alchie who cannot be bothered to study in your PS or something :tongue: then that won't make a good impression. The study plans give them an idea what modules I want to do and hence they base their decision on which campus to send me on that. So if they think farmland Davis would suit me better, then they may make me go there instead of San Diego or Santa Barbara :frown:

Anyways, sorry for long post. Really bored here atm :tongue:
That'll be more that enough money--don't worry. Can't help with the credit thing though, that's institution-specific.

Chidori: if you refer to UoC or UofC in the US, people will think you mean the University of Chicago. The University of California system is referred to as the UCs.
Reply 14
That'll be more that enough money--don't worry. Can't help with the credit thing though, that's institution-specific.

Chidori: if you refer to UoC or UofC in the US, people will think you mean the University of Chicago. The University of California system is referred to as the UCs.

:laugh:, thanks for clearing that up! I'm just so used to sticking in the 'o' in names.
I must be desperate...I called my ex bf for help!

Thanks for the help by the way turtle :smile:

How are you today chi?
Reply 16
I'm good thanks. A friend's birthday today so going to SU bar later for a few drinks. I've lost count of the number of birthdays I have had to attend this semester, let alone the whole year. Oh well, I guess that's what you get for making so many friends at uni, not saying that is a bad thing of course.

Just hope that if I do go to California, they don't have more expensive ways of celebrating their birthdays over there, lol.