Studying abroad may be an alluring idea in college. But the cost makes it a reality for only about 1 percent of students each year, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Program prices vary widely by school, region and other factors. Brown University students, for example, must pay $24,136 for a semester in such locations as London and Kyoto, excluding health insurance, travel, housing, meals, books and miscellaneous expenses.

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Stacie Berdan demystifies some of the complexities of these programs in the book " A Parent Guide to Study Abroad." 

“As a parent, I understand that price matters a great deal,” she tells us. “But as a businesswoman, I recommend parents look at the value of the experience and its return-on-investment, or ROI.”

We asked Berdan for her cost-saving tips on studying in a foreign land.

Forget Europe

“Generally speaking, Western European countries such as England, Italy and France are inherently more expensive than developing countries such as Peru, Senegal or Thailand,” says Berdan. “The difference has to do with the host country’s overall standard of living and the overall cost of basic goods and services.”

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Look into scholarships

“Every year tens of millions of dollars are given to students to study abroad,” says Berdan. “Most colleges and universities with study abroad offices have a wealth of information about the various forms of scholarships available from a variety of sources.

“The Institute of International Education offers the most comprehensive listing of study abroad resources online.”

Enroll in a foreign university instead

“Look into the option of having your child enroll directly in a foreign university, which usually requires withdrawing from his or her home college for the semester or year,” Berdan suggests. “This is usually the cheapest alternative, and significantly so, and offers your child an opportunity for real independent learning on a global scale.”