With the growth of technology, business has become increasingly international. It’s never been more important to have a global perspective in finance than now. Studying finance abroad can give you an edge and the opportunity to see how global markets interact and what makes businesses successful around the world.
The program you choose depends on what your goals are as a student and a professional, as well as how far along you are in your academic career.
Study Abroad Programs
For someone not entirely committed to the idea of completing 2-4 years of education abroad, studying finance as part of a domestic degree program might be the best option. Many schools offer semester or one-year programs abroad, giving you the flexibility of easily transferring your foreign credits to your home institution and allowing you to get a degree from an American college or university.
A bachelor’s degree in finance is the most common route for students wanting to study abroad for longer than a semester. This is a safe route to take if you’re not completely sure whether you want to pursue graduate education, especially if you already have a clear idea about what kind of finance and global markets you want to explore. Many schools abroad offer finance degrees in English and are looking for international students to bring a global perspective to their classrooms.
You may want to have a solid background in finance before diving into another international economy. In which case, you might consider looking at a master’s program once you’ve completed a bachelor’s degree. This might be the best option if you’re looking to specialize in finance, particularly in international business.
Where to Go
To get the most out of a finance study abroad experience, you have to go to the financial centers of the world. These are some of the cities with the largest economies and the ones expected to have the greatest impact on global finance in the future.
The U.K. has one of the largest economies in the world, and in London, you’ll find banks from all over the globe. After all, this is where many of the economies of the world converge. Much of London’s economy is in international banking and foreign exchange. The biggest advantage of studying finance in London is getting an in-depth look at a major European economy without having to learn a new language. Studying in London also puts you a short train ride away from all of Europe if you want to explore during your semester abroad.
One of the fastest growing economies in the world is in the ultra-modern city of Tokyo. Though many finance and economics programs are available in English, immersing yourself in Japanese culture is a great way to learn a language that will be invaluable in your career. It will also give you an opportunity to become acquainted with ever-important Japanese business customs. Not only does Tokyo serve as the headquarters for many global banks and companies, it’s home to the third largest stock exchange in the world: the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Perhaps the best place outside of the U.S. to study finance is where western business meets the largest economy in the world. Hong Kong is the perfect international hub for trading and financial growth, especially given its geographic proximity to mainland China and its port. Many international companies have a presence in Hong Kong, making it a great place to get well-connected with big names in global business. The low corporate taxes attract a lot of foreign companies and investors to the city.
Costs & Funding
The idea of paying for school abroad might be daunting, but don’t let the cost dissuade you from pursuing your dream. You’re studying finance, after all -- you can figure this out! With a little bit of research, you may be able to save more than you think on a study abroad program focusing on finance.
Scholarships & Grants
Many international and prestigious schools offer grant funding and scholarships for the most promising students. Applying may take a little more effort, but showing the school that you’ll go the extra mile is a great way to prove your commitment to their program. Similarly, study abroad programs often offer scholarships or grants for students participating in a semester or year-long program in specific destinations or topics.
Some grant-funded programs require you to “work” on behalf of the school; this may take the form of an unpaid internship that ends up helping your resume in the long run. This is a great way to gain the kind of experience you can’t get any other way, too. And it’s a small price to pay for free tuition. If your school of choice does not offer scholarships, you can apply for independent grants not associated with the university.
Even if scholarships are not an option, many schools will help you fund your education by offering low-interest loans. This is particularly common for study abroad programs, which in addition to helping you finance the cost, provide assistance with housing, health insurance, and sometimes language-learning.