Allison Grier
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
By Allison Grier (BBA20)

As an out–of-state student from Illinois, I was concerned about the difference in cost for studying abroad via the CIMBA Program. I had heard from other students and faculty that it is comparable to out-of-state tuition per semester; however, I still made an effort to apply for as many scholarships as I could. Not only did CIMBA allow me to keep my current University of Iowa scholarships, the program also offers a number of merit-based and job-oriented scholarships, such as becoming a social media ambassador during your semester abroad. The University of Iowa scholarship portal also offers scholarships for students as well. For my study abroad experience, I was awarded a CIMBA merit scholarship and the UPO International Fund Scholarship. I also earned scholarship money for my high performance in Introduction to Management. After calculating the numbers, I ended up saving my parents a large sum in tuition for the semester. They were super proud, and I felt better about saving them money.

Another obstacle I have had to overcome abroad is spending money while traveling. Growing up, I was taught to be a saver. I knew I had to find a way to make money to spend on weekend travels and meals. During the spring 2018 semester, I persistently looked for paid summer internship. I quickly found out, because I was only a sophomore, most companies chose to disregard my applications as they were looking for juniors or seniors. Fortunately, a week after I returned home from college, I got an internship blocks away from my house. I opened a savings account and vowed that most of my paychecks would be deposited to ensure I would have enough money for my semester abroad. Saving money gave me a huge advantage as I feel more comfortable spending my money on food, experiences, or travel souvenirs for my family.

Despite having confidence I will make it through my study abroad trip without having to ask for money from my parents, watching my bank account get smaller and smaller is more off-putting than I anticipated. I have to keep mind I am not spending it on clothes or fast food back at home but rather on tours of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Weiner Schnitzel in Austria, and paragliding in Switzerland. Talk about money well spent!

I have also found value in keeping track of what I spend my money on each weekend. Every time I am in a new city I often write down what I buy and how much it costs. This is especially helpful when traveling with a group because most often at restaurants they will not split the check among the group members. Instead, one person will put it on their credit card and the rest will pay them back in cash or via Venmo.

Overall, studying abroad has given me huge life lessons when it comes to being on top of scholarship applications, saving, and when it’s ok to splurge to make your experience more memorable. In fact, I have already started planning to save this next summer to hopefully return to Europe after graduation.

If you're interested in other first person perspectives from Tippie students studying abroad, check out our Instagram Story "Q&A" highlight.