I funded my program by using refund checks from my student loans, having yard sales, grading papers for my French professor, dog sitting, and more. Also, I searched around my house for Euros leftover from my previous trips to France. Each year, I get up to $20,500 in student loans from FAFSA. During my first year of graduate school, I received the Silver Anniversary scholarship worth about $2,000. For the first two years of my time in graduate school, I went to the financial aid office to have my loans custom arranged with different amounts for each term rather than divided equally.
In my second year of graduate school, my loans were arranged so that the first loans of the year yielded a larger refund check amount. I used this as the bulk of the funding for my trip.
This is how I arranged my student loans for each term for my first year of graduate school:
- Fall Term 2018: $9,000
- Winter Term 2019: $3,000
- Spring Term 2019: $6,000
- Summer Term 2019: $3,000
This is how I arranged my loans for my second year of graduate school:
- Fall Term 2019: $8,500
- Winter Term 2020: $3,000
- Spring Term 2020: $6,000
- Summer Term 2020: $3,000
To accumulate interest, I put each refund check into my savings account. Then, I used my mom’s credit card to pay for my trip. I paid her back by signing checks to my mom’s bank account. The refund checks were a very good source of money for funding the trip. With every refund check, I paid off more of the trip.
My investment was worth the experience
My investment was worth the experience because I got to visit places most people are unlikely to see. Even when they travel and/or study abroad in these cities and countries on their own. This is an opportunity for students who want to visit or revisit the countries they have previously visited. This is a great way to introduce people to international business travel.
Optional international airfare, arrangements, and airport pickup is worth the expense because they offer meals and excellent entertainment. I loved how they gave me an aisle seat towards the restroom! It is a good idea to have someone pick you up at the airport because it is easy to get lost in a foreign place. Travel arrangements help protect you from scammers.
The value I received
I valued my IBS program before attending because of the opportunity for me to revisit Paris, France, and go to London for the very first time. I valued my experience after the program because I had the opportunity to connect with more people from different places and learn how companies outside the United States of America operate in places like the ones I visited in London, the United Kingdom, and Paris, France.
My first recommendation for students that are not sure if they can afford to invest in the IBS program is to always place refund checks from the leftover student loan money into a savings account and use this money to fund the bulk of the program. Apply for the maximum amount of loans each year to get the biggest refund checks to fund the trip. After every class I finished, I saved my refund checks into my savings.
Also, I deposited the money my grandparents gave me for my birthday and holidays into my savings account as well. Unfortunately, I was not successful in finding any part-time jobs. Other sources of income I found were; having a yard sale twice a year, dog sitting for a family while they went on vacation, grading papers for my French teacher when she needed assistance, and working hard on my studies as a student at California Lutheran University to maintain a high GPA in hopes of academic scholarships while applying for other scholarships.
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The expenses I paid for the trip included a $500 enrollment fee that I paid on May 12, 2019, my first payment of $2,056 on July 22, 2019, my second payment of $2,000 on July 26, and my final payment of $750 on October 22, 2019. I waited until October to make my last payment because I was waiting to see if I got the Founders scholarship. I got $250 from that scholarship and it helped me realize my dream in international study.
My message to other students considering attending an IBS seminar would be: “If you enjoy traveling, learning about other countries, and/or are interested in how businesses function in other countries, then this is the right place for you.”