Studying in the USA for a year - what do I need to know?

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    I currently study at the University of Birmingham. As a compulsory component of my course, I have a study abroad year next year. I hope to spend the year in the USA, but I'm extremely worried about costs. My maintenance loan will be about £6000 (I don't get any help from my parents). According to Student Finance Wales, I'll get funding for everything but the first £300 or so for flights, so that isn't a huge concern for me.

    However, I'm really worried about paying for accommodation, food, and insurance. Is £6000 likely to be enough to cover all this? What insurance do I need, and approximately how much will it cost? Are there any other costs I need to be aware of?

    Thanks!
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    (Original post by TheWorrier)
    However, I'm really worried about paying for accommodation, food, and insurance. Is £6000 likely to be enough to cover all this? What insurance do I need, and approximately how much will it cost? Are there any other costs I need to be aware of?
    Hey!

    Estimated costs are notoriously vague as it depends on so many factors. Some states are cheaper/more expensive than others, e.g., Indiana will be way cheaper than California. Accommodation in a big city will be more expensive than on a rural campus, and so on.

    I studied abroad to California, and I'm currently working there too, so I'll shed some light on what it's like here. California, and also in Orange County, is known for being expensive, so the following should be an upper estimate of what to expect.

    Accommodation: Depends if you're going to share a room or not, or if you want, say, a two bedroom apartment. I have friends who spend $500 a month but share a room, others who have their own room and spend $600-$700, and I've paid $1000 per month for an en-suite room. Check Craigslist in the locations you're interested in and look into the housing, that should give you a good idea of what the typical rent is.

    Insurance and Fees: Insurance and other pesky fees actually amounted to quite a lot for me. I spent over $1000 on mandatory health insurance for the whole year, I went pretty cheap on the travel insurance. On top of that, I spent $300-$500 on getting the actual visa. You have to pay $100 here, $30 there, £50 flight to the embassy, etc, and it all adds up.

    Food: I've generally found this to be roughly the same as in the UK. Eating out is generally cheaper, and some things in the supermarkets are either way cheaper, or way more expensive. You can eat for very cheap if needed.

    Other: Whilst abroad, you'll probably want to take advantage of events, weekend trips, other travels, or whatever else. It's good to budget recreational money so you can take the inevitable trip to a different state or to some big event.

    I cannot stress enough how much it depends, though. I spent in the ballpark of £12,000 for my year abroad, but I knew it was going to be expensive and I saved up for it. £6000 for the whole year sounds like a bit of a stretch, but it may be possible. I could've gotten my total costs down to £8,000 if I really wanted to.

    Hope this helps, but feel free to fire me any questions you have!

    Scott
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    (Original post by TheWorrier)
    I currently study at the University of Birmingham. As a compulsory component of my course, I have a study abroad year next year. I hope to spend the year in the USA, but I'm extremely worried about costs. My maintenance loan will be about £6000 (I don't get any help from my parents). According to Student Finance Wales, I'll get funding for everything but the first £300 or so for flights, so that isn't a huge concern for me.

    However, I'm really worried about paying for accommodation, food, and insurance. Is £6000 likely to be enough to cover all this? What insurance do I need, and approximately how much will it cost? Are there any other costs I need to be aware of?

    Thanks!
    Wear a bullet proof vest if you're not white as the police there have itchy trigger fingers
 
 
 
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