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Creating a Budget

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Some fellowships offer a set stipend to each recipient, others require you to submit a budget based on your expected costs.

Preparing an appropriate and effective budget is a skill that you will be able to carry forward to other aspects of your life, at Yale and beyond.

Creating a budget can help you to:

  •     plan your experience and identify the related costs
  •     research the location of your experience
  •     convey your expected costs to the committee
  •     convey the extent of your preparation to the committee
  •     reduce the risk of spending your funds too quickly
  •     focus your resources on what is necessary

Link: Websites, internet forums, and travel guides offer helpful information. Here are a couple of good places to start:

Oanda currency converter

Expatistan cost of living index


Typical budget items:

  •     Airfare [indicate departure and arrival airports]
  •     Local travel (bus, train, car, etc.)
  •     Visa fees
  •     Health Insurance
  •     Housing (including utilities)
  •     Food (including bottled water, if necessary)
  •     University tuition or other fees [please describe]

Tips and suggestions:

Tip: Air Travel

  • Search the Web for airfares and strike a likely average.
  • Take into account factors that might impact ticket prices, such as seasonal or holiday rates.
  • Include costs for travel to and from airports.

Tip: Housing

  • Google "Cost of living in....." and see what comes up! Really!
  • Ask other Yale students who have been to your proposed location.
  • Ask your contacts in your proposed location (e.g., your contact at the NGO which you will affiliate, your internship coordinator) for their insight.
  • Use the resources on the OCS website.
  • Get in touch with alumni groups in the area.

Tip: Local Transport

  • Google "local transport in....." and see what public transport is available.
  • Ask other Yale students and contacts who have been to your proposed location.
  • Investigate frequent travel cards/student or commuter discounts - it's often cheaper to buy a monthly plan than pay for each trip

Tip: Food

  • Take a realistic measure of the amount of food (including snacks and beverages) you consume on a weekly basis.
  • Use internet resources (see below) to estimate how much that would cost if purchased in your proposed location.
  • Base your estimate on using local stores and markets for most of your meals.
  • As above, seek out others who have been to your proposed destination to give you an idea about basic costs.

Tip: Health

Other important things to keep in mind

  • Prepare a budget for a modest lifestyle—neither lavish nor unsafe.
  • For example, if using you can use the “combo meal” estimate and multiply by three for a reasonable idea of the average daily cost of food (groceries plus a meal out once in a while).
  • You should not plan for extensive hotel stays, frequenting restaurants, etc., but you should plan to stay in a secure location and to eat more than dry toast.
  • While fellowships will cover some supplies required by your project, most awards will not cover the purchase of equipment (e.g., cameras and accessories, laptops) that will become the student’s personal property.
  • If you are going abroad, Yale offers emergency evacuation assistance through International SOS (ISOS), but you are responsible for your health care and prescription drug coverage.
  • Fellowships are not intended to cover lost wages from summer employment.
  • If you are concerned about the loss of summer earnings needed for term-time expenses, you may seek advice at the Office of Student Financial Services even if you are not currently on financial aid.
  • All fellowship applicants must report pending or received funding from other sources for the same or a similar project. If multiple awards are received, an equitable arrangement will be made among the funding agents.

Point: Fellowship funding may support low/unpaid internships; however, to be eligible for Yale funding, your total compensation amount cannot exceed $1,500 (USD).