Student exchange is without a doubt a very expensive affair. In this article let us explore some of the costs of going on an exchange programme. The information is Europe/France centric but most of the headings are equally relevant for other countries.
Cost: INR 0 to INR 2,00,000
Some colleges don't charge any tuition fees on the term that you are on exchange. They might also exempt you from paying hostel and mess charges. But most of them do charge tuition fees. Some might even ask for hostel and mess charges. So depending on the applicable policy of your instituition, the cost under this heading can vary significantly and form a large chunk of the costs involved.
For eg. IIM Indore takes tuition fees for the term but exempts the students from hostel and mess charges.
Cost: EUR 0 to EUR ?
Most partner universities don't charge any tuition fees from incoming students. There might be some exceptions. There might also be other fees such as administration expenses or facilities usage fees (computer lab, library, etc.)
For eg. EM Lyon does not charge any fees from incoming exchange students.
Cost: INR 7,000
The first step to the visa process for France is to visit Campus France and get all the documents verified. They charge INR 7,000 for this service.
Cost: EUR 50
Embassy charges this Visa fees for processing your visa. Student Visa for France costs EUR 50.
Cost: EUR 55
Once you have entered France, you need to get a OFII stamp if you are on long-term visa. So if you are planning on staying in France for more than 90 days, you need to get this done. If your planned trip is for less than 90 days, you can apply for a schengen visa instead.
Cost: INR 1,600 for Visa, EUR 100 - France
There are two insurances required. One is required in India when you go for your visa interview. The other is the resident insurance which all students are required to get when in France.
Cost: INR 30,000 to INR 45,000
Depending on how early or late you book and your destination, air travel costs can vary by as much as 50%. You might also need to take a train after you arrive to your destination. You may or may not want to use the Eurail pass this early in the trip.
Cost: EUR 0 to EUR 1250
Some opt not to take the Eurail pass. They instead either take flights or not travel. The cost of eurail passes vary drastically with the cheapest starting from EUR 34. A three-month global pass costs EUR 900 (after discounts) for people under 26 years of age. This is the most popular option.
Cost: EUR 3 to EUR 20 per trip
All night trains and high-speed trains require reservation. Depending on how often you use high speed trains and night trains this can become a significant cost in your travel budget.
Cost: EUR 1 to EUR 2 per trip
Most city travel will involve using some form of public transportation. You can look for any student passes available in your home city. Most cities you visit will offer a 24-hour pass or a similar arrangement.
Cost: EUR 160 to EUR 350 per month
This is the rent that you will be paying for the apartment that you will have to rent in the home city. This can also be for accommodation provided by the partner university in their dorms. The rent varies from city to city but most end up between this range.
Cost: EUR 10 to EUR 20 per night
While traveling you will have to spend nights in youth hostels. The average youth hostel across Europe charges on average around EUR 15 per night. Hostels in Greece and Portugal are cheaper whereas in countries such as Italy or Switzerland, the charge is usually higher.
Some nights stays costs can be avoided by utilizing night trains to travel.
Cost: EUR 2 to EUR 5 per meal
With a combination of ready to cook meals and cooking from scratch, a meal at home typically would cost somewhere around 4 euros.
Cost: EUR 10 to EUR 20 per meal
While traveling, eating out averages to around EUR 10 and more if you are drinker. Kebabs are very cheap, followed by McDonald's' and other fast food joints.
Let's take an example scenario to understand the costs better. The student is going to EM Lyon from IIM Indore. She will be staying in Europe for 100 days, 50 of which would be spent traveling.
She will be taking 12 trips, each involving 2 nights of stay, 4 train reservations each. Also she will be using 8 night trains during this period. Because she has planned for such extensive travel, she has taken a 3-month global pass.
She will be renting an apartment for EUR 200, but she has to pay the rent for all the four months.
- Home University - INR 1,00,000
- Partner University - EUR 0
- Campus France - INR 7,000
- Student Visa - EUR 50
- OFII - EUR 55
- Insurance - INR 1,600 and EUR 100
- Air Tickets - INR 35,000
- Eurail - EUR 900
- Train Reservations - EUR 264 (4 trains reservations * 12 * 3 euros, 8 night trains * 15 euros)
- Bus/Metro/Trams - EUR 210 (70 days * 2 trips * 1.5 euros)
- Rent - EUR 700 (200 per month * 3.5 months)
- Hostels - EUR 360 (12 trips * 2 nights * 15 euros)
- At Home - EUR 300 ( 50 days * 2 meals * 3 euros)
- While traveling - EUR 1000 (50 days * 2 meals * 10 euros)
- INR 1,43,600
- EUR 3,939
- Total - INR 3,99,635
I hope that through this article and a very simplified example you get an idea of the nature of costs involved. You can refine and edit the headings to suit for your particular situation to get a closer fit.
Shopping, spending on activities, entrance fees to attractions, etc. are not accounted for here. So the above estimate is definitely on the conservative side.
Costs Excel File
The excel file used to calculate the costs in this article. Download it and modify it for your own calculations.
- Koganti Greeshmanth
(The writer is an alumnus of IIM Indore – Batch of 2011 and currently works with HCL Infosystems)