Once I was all signed up for the Winter One program with IBS I felt huge relief and excitement because I was on my way to fulfilling my dream of studying abroad in college. But I still had one huge setback to somehow push through: funding my program. It seemed very intimidating at first to have to raise a substantial amount of money in a short amount of time but I accomplished it and am proud of my hard work because it most definitely paid off. Here are some of the things that I did to help raise money to attend the seminar.
1. I applied for both of the scholarships.
Even though I felt that I did not have a ton of experience with video editing and professional photo taking, I still applied for the Digital Ambassador Scholarship. I love to take pictures on my iPhone and I knew I would be snapping away the whole time I was abroad anyway, so I thought I might as well apply. I also applied for the Founders scholarship. If I could write a research paper about my experience abroad, I could write blog posts. Blog writing is simple and was a great excuse to write about my experience. Although I did not have any direct experience with video editing, it was an amazing way to put all my pictures into a sentimental video. I applied for both because if I was not selected for one, then I still had another chance for the other scholarship.
2. I picked up some odd jobs to raise money.
Things like organizing junk closets, babysitting and tutoring kids, and wrapping Christmas gifts were jobs that I took to help raise some quick money. This was a great option because I was able to create my own work schedule. I made sure I was still giving myself enough time to prepare for the trip but also make some money at the same time. I put 70% of each paycheck I received to raising money to attend the seminar, and I put the remaining 30% towards fun money to spend abroad. Around the holidays families are usually rushing around to finish Christmas shopping or just need an extra hand around the house to clean for their relative’s arrivals. It was a win-win for both of us!
3. I saved in advance.
Not everyone will have this option, but I knew I wanted to study abroad long before I knew which specific program I wanted to attend or the country I wanted to visit. For the last year and a half, I put a little of each of my paychecks towards saving for an international study abroad trip. I worked an office job and a nanny job and saved even way back then. It might sound hard to save that early for a trip that may seem so far away, but it really helped overall. If you are able, start saving as soon as possible, even if you don’t know which exact seminar you want to sign up for yet.
4. I asked for flight miles/points for Christmas.
My father travels a lot for his job and I have a few aunts and uncles who always seem to be in different countries or states at all times. By asking for some of them to send me their air miles as a Christmas gift, I was able to apply these to my flight cost and get a discounted price for my independent travel flights. This is a great technique if you are not quite comfortable with crowdfunding or asking relatives for money. This also makes them feel as if they are giving you something meaningful and not just a card with cash for the fifth year in a row.
Needless to say, I worked hard to try and pay off the cost of the trip and my flights. I picked up extra shifts at work and offered to do odd jobs for friends and family. I came up with a creative way to ask my relatives to help fund my study abroad experience. I also did not let the fear of adding extra work to my schedule stop me from applying for both of the scholarships. You never know which one you may be selected for so it pays off to apply for both. I saved slowly but surely making sure to save the adequate amount to pay off my flight and trip expenses but also save some fun money to spend abroad. With the once in a lifetime experience that International Business Seminars provides you with, it is fun to buy some sentimental items or buy something nice for yourself you will remember forever.