As we all know, studying abroad in the United States can seem like a big expense. Many families are deterred by high tuition fees and living expenses. Is it really worth spending so much money to study abroad? Well, sometimes the budget for studying in the United States can be overestimated; it is a long-term investment in your future. Let me talk about the cost of my study abroad and benefits it has provided me.
At first, the biggest expense is tuition. The University of Cincinnati is a public school, which means its tuition is cheaper than the private ones. The tuition of UC is about $27,000 per year including two semesters —- spring and fall semester. If you want to finish your credits as soon as possible, you can also take classes during the summer semester.
UC has many well-equipped dormitories. The accommodation costs between $3,400 and $4,800 per semester which depends on what kind of dormitories you choose. You can choose single room, double room and multiple occupancy room or whatever you want. It also includes living fees like a meal plan for the on-campus dining halls, and access to the recreation center (gym). As for me, I live off campus which is 10 minutes away by driving. My monthly rent plus electricity and Internet is about $1,100. I think it is too expensive and I want to move elsewhere soon. Actually, there are also lots of houses and apartments around the campus to rent. They cost between $300 and $1,500 per month. This is a great option that many students utilize, and often live in a house with their friends. The price varies a lot based on what you’re looking for and what you are comfortable in. UC has shuttles with different routes around the school which are free and convenient.
There are many great restaurants around the school. You can find Chinese food, Japanese and Korean food, Indian food, Mexican food and so on. A meal at a restaurant costs between $6-20. Also, the school has four dining halls. You can buy a Meal Plan, which costs about $10/meal on average. Of course, the most cost-effective and healthy way would be to cook for yourself. I often buy the ingredients at the grocery store near campus called Kroger and Cam International Market. I can use 70 dollars’ worth of ingredients for about a week. If you want to go shopping on weekend with your friends, there is a big shopping mall named Kenwood Towne Centre which is about a 15-minute drive from school.
You may be confused about what the return on your investment is. Well, you can experience different lifestyles abroad! When you are alone in a foreign country, you become strong and independent. You’ll learn to handle all of life’s chores alone. I learned to make new friends here, learned to cook my own food, find my own house, my own electricity and Internet and so on. These are the abilities necessary to succeed in life.
Not only that, going to school is also an important part. You can receive different kinds of education abroad here. You can also broaden your horizons and learn about diverse cultures, especially American cultures, holidays, traditions, and lifestyles. Through communication with students and teachers from different countries, I gradually understood the cultural differences and conditions around the world. In addition, I have learned that only openness and communication are the way to live in an international environment. I am very happy I made the choice to come to the United States.
I also am able to make money while I am abroad by working as a student ambassador in the UC International admissions office. I am learning a lot about work culture and am picking up valuable job skills that will help me in the future.