Estimated Expenses

Falcone 07IPE Estimated Expenses

This section offers tools to help you research and plan your personal budget for student travel abroad.  Student expenses will vary according to destination, side travel and personal lifestyle choices.

Consult the following resources when completing your personal budget:

Questions or Comments? Contact your IPE Advisor.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition vs. Program and Administrative Fees

  • Check tuition values on your program budget sheet or on 
  • Check program fees. All program fess are different, so check to see what yours includes. A program fee is a fee charged by some programs and may include:
    • Accommodation
    • Orientation/Administration fees
    • Social Events
    • Start Up Costs (e.g. Student ID cards, Initial Transportation Costs)
  • Non-UM Program Students: Different program providers may charge different program fees and cover different things for the same program.
  • For more information refer to your program details or contact your program administrator 


Consider waiting to buy your textbooks until you are there, as they are cheaper in other countries, and you will not have to pay to ship them.

Academic Supplies

You can buy your supplies before or during your trip, but don’t leave home without at least a pen or pencil and notebook. You never know when you will get a chance to buy these things.


Pringint might not be included in your program fee or student benefits. Consider bringing some money to cover this unexpected expense. 

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Travel Expenses

Airfare To and From Location

  • When should I plan my flight(s)? Check with your program advisor. Some programs offer discounts or require students to be on the same flight. Make sure you know when you must be at your destination and plan accordingly.
  • Should I buy my return flight now?  There is no good answer to this question. The advantages of buying your flight ahead of time are: round trip tickets purchased well before the date of departure tend to be less expensive, you will have paid ahead of time and you won’t have to worry about taking care of it while abroad. Students often change their plans after programs and want to stay and travel or extend the work experience which is expensive to do if you have already bought a return ticket. 


IPE program participants are required to have a passport which is valid at least 6 months beyond the end date of the program. Note: It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to process passports. If you need it faster, you will need to expedite your passport which is more expensive.

For more information on passports, click here


Visa requirements and cost vary from program to program and country to country. Check with your program for more information.

For more information on visas, click here

GeoBlue Travel Abroad Insurance

GeoBlue insurance is available to all UM students, faculty and staff and required for IPE programs. For U-M programs, students are automatically enrolled for you program dates; students should not enroll themselves.

Students extending their trip before/after an IPE program will need to purchase additional coverage. Students going on no U-M programs may purchase GeoBlue coverage if insurance is not already provided through their program.

For more information on GeoBlue insurance, click here


Check with your doctor before your departure to ensure you have enough supplies of any prescriptions before your departure. Ensure you are up-to-date on any vaccinations and check with your program for more health and safety information.

University of Michigan Health Services’ Overseas Travel Clinic can help assist students with specific international health concerns including vaccinations.

Re-entry fees/Exit fees

Re-entry fees/Exit fees vary from country to country and may be applicable to travel you do while abroad. Budget money for this and check with your program for more information. 

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Living Expenses

Living abroad can be expensive especially since you can’t bring everything with you. Consider budgeting money for the following things:

  • Housing & Housing Deposits: Your housing may be included or discounted by your study abroad program or your employer. Check with them before budgeting money for housing. You may be charged a housing deposit, particularly if you are living in accommodation off-campus. It is important to budget for this beforehand even if you will get the money back.
  • Utility Bills: Study abroad and work accommodations normally include these bills, but it is important to consider this if you are find your own housing.
  • Commuting: Don’t forget to budget money for commuting to and from your school or place of employment. Research what options are available using travel guides and websites.
  • Clothing: It may be impossible to pack every bit of clothing you may need. Consider factoring some money to purchase clothing while abroad into your budget, also consider the possible weather changes when packing and planning a budget for clothing.
  • Personal Care Items: The personal care items of your choice may not be available in your destination country or may be significantly more expensive. Examples of things not always found abroad include: bug spray, preferred feminine hygiene products, contact lens solution, solid stick deodorant, and over the counter medicines. It is highly discouraged to bring any time with a heating element with you abroad (including hair dryers, hair straighteners, and some electric shavers). 
  • Laundry: Check into the costs of doing laundry and try to bring small amounts of the basics. You might have to buy detergent, hangers, and laundry baskets if you are staying for a long period of time.
  • Household Items: Check to see if you will need to bring or purchase things like: sheets, blankets, pillows, kitchen appliances, utensils and dishes.
  • Emergency Reserve: It is commonly suggested that you budget at least $200 of Emergency Reserve Funds in case of an emergency. Make sure this is in the form of cash in the local currency.
  • Phone/Internet: Programs and work experiences will rarely provide phone services, although they may provide internet. Explore options available to purchase a phone or SIM card with in your country. Internet Cafes are common around Europe for an easy way to access the internet, although you may have to pay for it. International calling can be expensive. Consider services like Skype for calling home.
  • Miscellaneous: Consider any additional costs or expenses you may incur. 

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Food Expenses

Research your available options by using travel guides and websites.

  • Does your program offer a meal plan? If your program offers a meal plan, is it included in your program fee or tuition, or will it be an additional expense?
  • Meals out: Consider how often you plan on eating out per week and research how much a typical meal out might cost in your host country.
  • Meals in: If you have kitchen or some way to cook and store food, create your budget based on purchasing weekly groceries.
  • Snacks: Remember to budget money for any snacks you may purchase. 

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Personal Expenses

  • Entertainment: Consider how much money you will need for shopping, souvenirs, museum tickets, shows, and nights out on the town.
  • Public Transportation: Consider additional money you will need to spend outside of your normal commuting funds for entertainment transportation.
  • Food and Drink: When you’re out around town you will likely spend more money on food and drinks then you do on campus or at work.
  • Activities and Events: While you are in your host country, your school or place of employment may offer activities or events for you which may cost money, itis important to think about this budget money for yourself so you can participate.
  • Gifts and Souvenirs: Don’t forget to budget money for gifts and souvenirs. Remember you will have to get them home too.

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Side Travel Expenses

This section is here to help you consider your side trips. While we understand that each trip will last for a different length of time and cost different amounts, it is important to think about how much you’re willing to spend on each trip and try and divide your resources. If on one trip you spend too much money, you know you will need to be more frugal on your next trip. Alternatively, if you don’t spend a lot on one trip you now have the opportunity to splurge on the next. Things to consider:

  • Number of Trips you Expect to Take
  • Accommodations: Accommodations can vary from Couch Surfing and Home-Stays to Hostels and Hotels. Consider the costs of these different options in your planning.
  • Meals: Consider times you might spend more money on food than usual, such as: at the airport or train station, in your hotel or hostel, experience new cuisines, or in a large city.
  • Travel Snacks: Remember that you can’t bring everything with you, and you probably won’t go the supermarket while you’re at your destination. You may end up buying things each time you want them that you’d normally just have at your residence.
  • Entertainment: When you travel you are going to be visiting more museums and shows than you normally would in a week, budget for this.
  • Other Vacation Expenses: Don’t forget extra costs for souvenirs, cab rides and public transportation, and extra cell phone fees. 

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Financial Aid

Consider the sources that will contribute to covering incurred costs:

  • Total Grant and Scholarship Money: Grants and Scholarships will often apply to study abroad and there are many available just for study abroad.
  • Income per Week While Abroad: If you will have an income while abroad, you can enter it per week (in USD) to defray your costs. 
  • Other Aid: Other aid might include loans, savings and money from family.
  • Financial Aid Assistance: Visit the Office of Financial Aid’s website 

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