Deciding to study or work abroad is not just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - it is also an investment in your future. We are here to help you understand your options and to plan ahead with as much information as possible.
Like all investments, it is important to consider and understand the financial implications and relevant commitments of going abroad as part of your Queen Mary degree. Once you arrive at Queen Mary, you can attend one of the many "GO Abroad: Get Ready To Apply" workshops run by the Global Opportunities Office every autumn, which go into depth about the financial support, budgeting and financial requirements for certain destinations. These help our students to understand the real costs of an exchange and to apply for destinations that suit their individual circumstances.
Please consult the general finance information in the dropdown sections below, applicable for most students.
Then you can find specific information on different funding sources in their individual sub-pages via the left-hand menu.
For many International Exchange Programme (IEP) destinations beyond Europe, students are required to demonstrate they have access to a specified amount of funds to ensure they can support themselves while abroad (see below section "Living expenses" to download a fact sheet listing these amounts for each IEP host institution), most often in order to obtain a visa. Students should bear this in mind when selecting destinations in their application form.
Please note that you cannot use evidence of future potential earnings for this purpose. Whatever the source(s), your funds should be available when you complete your host institution’s forms, after you are made a Conditional offer of exchange.
Harry Gibney, Study Abroad Manager (International Exchanges) is available to advise and assist students with regards to financial matters relating to going abroad on exchange to an IEP destination.
Queen Mary tuition fees
If you are going abroad for one optional semester, you are responsible for paying full tuition fees to Queen Mary for the year during which you are abroad (with minimum 10 weeks of that year spent at Queen Mary).
If you are spending the full academic year abroad, you pay a reduced tuition fee to Queen Mary.
For full details please visit Advice and Counselling's guidance for Undergraduate Funding for study or work abroad.
Tuition fees at your host institution
You will not have to pay any university tuition fees (or fees for registration, examination, laboratory or library access facilities, etc) to your host institution, whether you study abroad on exchange for one semester or the full year.
However, you may be charged small fees for costs such as insurance, student union membership or the use of materials (such as photocopying, laboratory supplies etc) on the same basis as local students.
Tuition and maintenance loans
You should consult your eligibility for additional funding from Student Finance for your upcoming period abroad (e.g. Travel Grants, cost of medical insurance or compulsory medical, cost of visa for host country). Please see the Travel Grant section on this webpage for more details.
Bursaries and scholarships
If you are eligible to receive a Queen Mary Bursary, you can receive this during your study abroad year, as long as you continue to be eligible for income-assessed Student Finance.
Your exchange abroad should not affect any Queen Mary scholarships or bursaries you hold, but it is always worth checking this by contacting the GO Team.
Other national grants and loans
Your entitlement to any national grants or loans for your study at Queen Mary must be maintained during your exchange abroad. You must not discontinue, interrupt, or reduce your entitlement while you are on your placement and receiving your Erasmus+ grant. However, before taking up your place on Queen Mary's Outbound Student Exchange Programme, you should contact your funding bodies to ensure that your exchange abroad will not affect their contribution. As with Student Finance, you should make it clear to them that your exchange abroad will be an integral part of your Queen Mary degree programme.
Evidence of sufficient finances
In some countries, you may be required to show that you have the money to support yourself financially for the whole academic year/period of your exchange before you are allowed into the country. In these instances, Student Finance can pay the full amount of the Student Finance loan for the year on your first instalment date (unless quested otherwise). As only the university can make requests to Student Finance for special payment arrangements, please contact the Student Enquiry Centre if you need advice about this: send an email to email@example.com, call +44 20 7882 5079 or visit the SEC in person (ground floor of the Queens’ Building).
If you are a Home/EU student going on an exchange abroad and have a loan through Student Finance, you should consult your eligibility for additional funding from Student Finance for your upcoming period abroad (e.g. travel grant, medical insurance, visa). You can apply for an income-assessed travel grant from Student Finance to cover reasonable travel costs to your host institution as your exchange is an integral part of your degree programme (i.e. buying the most cost-effective tickets for the cheapest form of transport). Please note that if your application is successful, the grant comes in the form of retroactive reimbursement of approved expenses; you do not receive money up front.
- You can apply to be reimbursed for up to three return journeys from the UK to your host institution or workplace during a full academic year abroad;
- You cannot claim for the first £303 you spend; and
- You may also be able to claim for visa costs, medical insurance, and a mandatory medical.
How to apply
- To apply, you will need to visit one of the below links relevant for you if your Student Finance loan is through England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.
- You will need to check your eligibility by completing the process online (your eligibility will be income-assessed); remember to declare that your placement abroad will be an integral part of your Queen Mary degree programme.
- If you are from England, Student Finance England (SFE) will normally first send you a Course Abroad Form (see section above "Tuition loans and grants" for more details), followed automatically by a Travel Grant form if you are deemed eligible. Students from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales should consult the relevant process via the below links.
- You will be asked to provide evidence to support your travel expenses claims, showing proof of payment and confirmation of what you purchased, for example, an e-receipt for payment of flights, therefore you must retain all receipts.
- You should complete this process to apply for a travel grant as soon as possible once you have purchased your outbound airfare to know for which other costs you are eligible to claim reimbursement, yet you can do so at any time during the academic year (you won’t have to wait until your next instalment of Student Finance for reimbursement of your approved costs to be paid).
Student Finance provides detailed information and instructions about the funding available for study abroad at the following sources:
- Student Finance England - studying abroad: travel grants for students
- Student Finance Northern Ireland - Travel Grant
- Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)
- Student Finance Wales - Travel Grant
Please contact Advice and Counselling if you are having difficulties applying.
During your period abroad, you are responsible for covering all of your living expenses, such as travel, accommodation, food, health insurance, campus charges while you study abroad, etc. In order to prepare financially for an exchange that is financially responsible, you must consider: 1) your funding sources and 2) the cost of living in your potential destination (see section below), which will allow you to complete a budget wisely and accurately.
As advised in the annual series of "GO Abroad: Get Ready To Apply" Workshops delivered by the GO Office, you are strongly encouraged to complete a budgeting spreadsheet for your period abroad with the help of Advice & Counselling Service. This form is available for download here; you are encouraged to complete this as a preliminary step in order to help you assess if you can afford to complete an exchange at your desired destination/s and also for your desired duration. Submitting a completed budgeting spreadsheet is also encouraged as a step in the Pre-departure process after you have been nominated to your forecasted host institution.
If you receive a maintenance loan through Student Finance, please note that there is a special overseas rate for your Maintenance Loan (you will not be eligible for the same amount as you would be in London). Please check with Student Finance for more details. Do also consult the other sections on this webpage to better understand how your period abroad affects a student loan and for what other sources of income you may be eligible to apply for or receive.
Estimated living costs at IEP host institutions
Participation in any exchange programme can cost you more in financial terms than remaining at Queen Mary for the year, so it is of the utmost importance to research this in advance.
For IEP destinations, the cost of living varies considerably not only from one country to another but also from city to city. In some countries, living costs are lower than in the UK, while some may be much more expensive. It is important to understand how not only your expenses but also your income will change during your period abroad, as this will make your budget while abroad different from your budget as a student in London (please see earlier guidance to complete a budgeting spreadsheet).
You can download a fact sheet with estimated living costs at IEP host institutions Finance Sheet [DOC 37KB] (figures are up to date as of November 2020). All of the figures quoted in the Finance sheet for only for guidance and refer only to expenses likely to be incurred by a full-time student living and studying abroad.
These figures do not include the costs of air travel or expenses you may incur in between semesters (e.g. accommodation and travel).
Students' experiences suggest that these estimated cost-of-living figures tend to be on the low side. Feedback from previous students would suggest that you should budget for £1,500 – £2,000 on top of these amounts.
Additionally, the below websites can give you a rough of the cost of living in various countries as a student (search by destination), and your host university’s website might also have some useful information on projected living costs and budgets.
As part of the partner's application process, you will need to show that you have access to sufficient finances to support yourself for the entire duration of your exchange programme. Your host institution will specify an amount they think you will need to survive as a full-time student with them.
You may be asked to provide evidence to prove you have the funding (this will be a requirement for certain IEP destinations). Only once this has been received and verified by the host institution will they issue you with the document that you will need to apply for a visa.
The evidence required will depend on how you will be funding your exchange abroad:
- If you will be supporting yourself, you will need to provide bank statements or bank letters to show you have sufficient savings.
- If you will be supported by family or friends, you will need to provide bank statements/letters from your guarantors.
- If you who will be supported by a student loan, you will need to provide letters from the relevant authority confirming the amount of funding you will have available. Therefore, if you receive a Student Finance loan, you should apply for this as early as possible so that you have your financial evidence in good time for your visa application.
If you have further questions specific to your destination, please contact the GO Team.
It is your responsibility to check if your student visa allows you to work in your destination country. There will be restrictions to the amount of hours you can work and you may be restricted to where you can work (eg. in the US, your employment usually must be on campus). Any work done must not conflict with your academic programme of study. Your host institution will advise you on your employment opportunities upon arrival.
Do bear in mind that you should not count on obtaining part-time employment when planning your finances, no matter the destination.
If you ARE eligible to work, you should also consider if you would be willing to devote those hours to working, which would take away from time you could spend studying, adapting to a new academic system, socialising to meet other students, discovering your new host city (and country), etc.