Ready to go to Greece
Planning a Personal Budget
Now that you have been admitted to the program, one of your first questions is how much it's really going to cost. This section will help you anticipate a variety of common expenses so you can start planning now. If your family is helping to pay for your program abroad, you should discuss your budget with them also.
The Fees and Financial Info page explains what your program fee does and does not cover, and will provide you with an overall estimate of expected expenses. It is important to note that the "Expected Cost of Attendance" information is provided for planning purposes only, and may vary according to your own personal spending habits.
Let's go through each of the items for which you will have to budget:
Your program fee does not include the cost of international air travel to Greece. (Please see the estimated airfare under the expected cost of attendance section). However, for your convenience we sometimes make arrangements for a round-trip group flight. While most students will opt to travel with the group, you are free to make your own travel arrangements. You must plan to be in Athens for the opening day of the orientation program.
Because students' semester in Greece will exceed three months, they will need to apply for a residence permit in Greece before the first three months are over. Students will be responsible for the approximately 150 euro fee.
Allow about $80-$100 per week in Athens for meals. Estimate a bit more if you like to eat out frequently.
You should budget about $100 for books and educational supplies, although most of your books will be provided through the program library. Summer program participants should budget $25 for books.
You should budget $250-$300 per semester for bus, rail, or ferry transportation around Greece, and for occasional taxi fare in Athens (which is quite inexpensive). Transportation during program field trips is fully covered.
Weekly costs for postage, stationery, local phone calls and other miscellaneous expenses can run $25-35 a week. Entertainment can add another $25-35 a week.
This is the category that can really add up, depending on how far you go and how much time you take. Fall semester students will have a long weekend at the end of October; Spring semester students will have two weeks off for spring break. If you are in the program for the full year you will have four weeks at Christmas, and you may also opt to tack on travel time before your program begins or after it ends.
Most students travel during vacation breaks. If you plan to travel, you'll have to budget for housing, meals, travel, and other personal expenses while you're on the road. (If you stay in Athens during vacation breaks, though, you may remain in your housing at no extra charge.)
Arthur Frommer says you can do Europe on $45 a day. You should be able to do it for less, if you stay in hostels, buy groceries, and take advantage of rail discounts. To get an idea of what you may spend, buy Let's Go Europe or Europe on $45 a Day and use the prices listed as a rough guide.
No matter what your budget, Greek students manage on much less. And they not only survive, but enjoy themselves. You will learn to save money simply by observing the lifestyles of your new Greek friends.
Some Helpful Hints
You'll stretch your budget if you do the following:
- Make both weekly and daily budgets and stick to them.
- Prepare your own food. It's cheaper than eating out. If you do eat out, eat your main meal at noon, rather than in the evening. Plan your activities around free, inexpensive, and discounted events.
- Take care of your belongings and safeguard your cash, passport and credit cards. Loss from carelessness or theft is hard enough to bear at any time, but it is even more distressing abroad. Pick-pocketing is common, particularly in spots frequented by tourists.
- Make a photocopy of the document page of your passport and write down the numbers of your travelers' checks.
- With a little realistic planning, you won't be caught by surprise later on.