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It is now my second week in Berlin! Living in an entirely new city is daunting, especially financially. Dartmouth is a bubble of convenience and is very student-friendly. I am able to go from the library to the dining hall within 10 minutes. Most of my expenditures I have are for things I choose to spend on, not anything I need to. Berlin, on the other hand, is a sprawling city. I have to commute for 20 minutes on public transport to reach my classes. I am also responsible for getting lunch on weekdays. 

However, Financial Aid at Dartmouth carries over to all study abroad programs. I am receiving 100% of financial aid for my time in Berlin. This aid covers my plane ticket, meals and miscellaneous expenses. While living in Berlin involves many hours of public transport, all students receive a free student ticket for public transportation. I am responsible for getting lunch on weekdays, but my aid covers that cost too. 

There is extensive guidance by the Guarini Institute about budgeting and financing a study abroad. While the first week was definitely more expensive, as I needed to purchase basic amenities, the second week has been fine. My host family provides me with most meals and all excursions through the program are free. We are enrolled at Freie Universität, a university in Berlin and we have access to their cafeteria, which provides a variety of affordable food options.

To be completely transparent, I was worried about costs before I came to Berlin. However, with careful budgeting, I feel confident to navigate the program without worry. I spoke to many financial aid officers before I left Dartmouth, to fully understand the extent of my aid.

If you are a low-income student worried about the cost of study abroad programs, I would suggest consulting a financial aid officer to understand how your aid travels with you! Taking preemptive measures and planning will help greatly with financial concerns on study abroad programs!

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