International education is a dream for millions of students across the globe, but it isn’t financially feasible for all of them. If you are a study abroad aspirant with minimal resources, you will probably feel the pinch of costs like language tests, application fees, admission expenses, flights, and living expenses. The numbers can easily run in thousands.

You may work part-time to sustain down the line, but not everyone has a job waiting for them when they land. Not surprisingly, many talented scholars give up on the dream of studying abroad due to financial hardships. A few go too far with drastic measures, even like selling a kidney, to realise the dream of international education.

Students in developing countries are the most desperate because they have little or no parental support and struggle with hefty currency differences when it comes to arranging funds for education.

Study-abroad aspirants from Iran have reported considering kidney transfers for buying a dream degree in countries like the US. Some end up selling their homes, only to find that the plan is still out of their reach due to the increased price of the dollar in Iran.

Some opt for jobs to save money for international education, but salaries in these countries are hardly enough to cover the language test cost, let alone the other expenses. The road is long, and students have to sacrifice many things to achieve their dreams. Tons of people give up because the mission seems impossible despite their best effort.

The talented ones feel depressed because they do not get the chance to pursue international degrees, regardless of the highest calibre. These students believe that the universities in the US, Europe, and Canada can help them with measures such as reducing application fees and offering waivers.

They may even consider eliminating fees for deserving students from economically disadvantaged countries. Accepting affordable English proficiency tests and providing assistance with travel and living costs are some other helpful measures to keep international students from making desperate moves.

A lot is said about diversity and inclusion, with statements on university websites and advertisements. They should do their bit to show solidarity toward the cause by enrolling candidates from all over the world, including women and students without financial potential.

Fortunately, some organisations are coming ahead to help students from economically-weaker backgrounds. For example, the Institute of International Education (IIE) advocates for access and equity to encourage international education opportunities for all. It launched the Center for Access and Equity in March 2023 as an initiative to foster equitable practices in higher education and expand international exchange and opportunity.

Some US colleges and universities are waiving application fees for economically-disadvantaged candidates. Many English proficiency test providers give waivers to lower the cost of international education.

Students can look for alternatives such as free education or low-cost universities in destinations such as Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Those having specific countries and programmes in mind can explore scholarship and financial aid by institutions.

The study-abroad dream may be challenging to realise for underprivileged students, but it isn’t impossible. The right mindset and some research can help you achieve it, so you need not consider drastic measures to get there.

If you are considering studying abroad why don’t you discuss your prospects and opportunities with experts at Lurnable’s dedicated study abroad counselling division LurnPathways?

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