My favorite subject in high school was French, and when I learned there was a 10-day trip to France I could join it was all I could think about. It was really rare for people to go anywhere in my hometown of Lansing, MI, and my parents weren’t willing to pay for this trip (although they were super loving and supportive of me going!).
Instead of giving up, I learned all about the opportunity, the program prices, how much spending money I would need and then spent the next year or so, working and saving EVERY penny! This wasn’t a get-rich-quick job opportunity. I bagged groceries at a store near my house where I walked to work, and built up a network of families that would hire me to babysit.
Looking back on it, I’m not sure how I juggled my schoolwork and jobs, although it didn’t seem difficult at the time. Maybe when you are working towards something great, you just somehow fit it all in.
In the end, my hard work paid off and I was able to save enough and got to France.
Of course, I couldn’t stop traveling after that and I learned from this experience that usually, if you put your mind to something, you can make it happen. It seems like a basic lesson to learn, but what I also took away is if you don’t spend money on things, your savings add up!
In this case, I always used my savings for an adventure abroad, and travel is much more satisfying than having things.
I know it is intimidating to consider a study abroad program, or any travel experience, especially when you see the price. I assure you there are many ways to afford this and don’t give up. You are making in investment in your future, in experiences that will help you grow and develop and will offer you countless, happy memories.
If you can babysit or get a job, awesome! Now, every time you get paid – put it in the bank. It sounds so simple but seriously, just don’t spend it or spend as little as possible and you will see your account grow and grow. It’s a good feeling and the more you save, the easier it is!
A second option to help pay for your travels is fundraising. If you plan far enough ahead and try every approach, you will be able to add to your travel savings. You can start a fundraising website, reach out to family/friends, and get creative! Quite a few Greenheart Travel high school students successfully saved money and fundraised for their programs and are also great resources for ideas.
Here are a few of our participants that made the commitment to travel abroad:
It takes a lot of time and determination to commit to studying abroad, but with enough passion and patience your hard work and discipline will pay off. Every Starbuck’s coffee you don’t buy at home can go toward your savings for travel, and sipping a latte in a new country is always more fun.