Studying Abroad can carry a heavy load on your wallet. From university fees to plane tickets, and all expenses in between, it’s hard to make it work from a financial standpoint. You want to be able to explore and experience as much as possible while studying abroad, and we’re here to help.
In this blog post we will give you all the best tips to avoid overpaying for your study abroad experience and still fully enjoy the adventure!
1- Do your research
The first step to studying abroad on a budget is to properly plan prior research about where and how to do it. Look into all the most affordable universities, programs, and countries for the type of study and degree that you wish to complete. You can use some online tools to compare the cost of living in different places and make your selection from there. Make sure to also book your plane tickets in advance for your new country, as they can get quite pricey with time! Same goes for the accommodation, try to have your pick before others as the places with the best value for money are always the most popular. Once you have moved abroad, research remains key as you will have to keep an eye on potential offers for the different activities you’re into, always book your trips in advance, and check as many sources as you can before you dig into your wallet.
2- Learn to budget
For every purchase you make you will need income. And no matter where your monthly allowance comes from, the principles of budgeting are the same for everybody: what goes in must come out. But don’t stress, budgeting is much easier than it seems. Start by listing your income somewhere and remember to document every expense you make on a monthly basis. This includes but is not limited to: rent, utilities, flight tickets, groceries, restaurant bills, accommodation, school supplies, clothes, insurance, phone bills, and transportation. You can easily find apps to do this for you or if you are more old school, keep a notebook handy for this purpose. If you wish, you can set an estimate of the savings you wish to reach in a given month and do your best to save up to that number every time. One simple trick for managing your finances: if you notice that you’re spending more than you’re earning, it’s time to rethink your strategy.
There’s no shame in applying for financial aid. It’s there for you to ensure that students enjoy all the benefits of a degree that will take them towards the ideal career path, no matter their personal background. Scholarships are available at a variety of universities worldwide, so have a look today to make sure you are eligible and know the specifics of the whole process. A scholarship will often depend on your previous accomplishments and grades and is reserved for highly performing students, so make sure to work hard in school and you will be rewarded with a financial peace of mind when looking for your higher studies.
4- Student ID
One of the first things you should do as you land in your adoptive country is acquiring your student ID. This will give you a lot of discounts to cinemas, museums, parks, and all types of benefits that cannot be overlooked! You never know when you might have access to a unique perk only available to students, and this extra piece of identification can always prove useful. If you have no way of getting one, you can always try getting discounts with your regular identification card, but it is widely advised to carry a student ID with you at all times.
This cannot be stressed enough. Starting university and leaving your home is the perfect opportunity for a transition into your serious adult life. Studying abroad especially pushes you to learn on your own and hopefully not make too many mistakes on the way. Part of this aspect of your uni life means you must learn to manage your finances and find out what you should spend money on, and more importantly what you shouldn’t buy. Of course, this all depends on the budget you have at your disposal, and what lifestyle you choose for yourself. Try to avoid going shopping too much, as you will still need to fit everything in your suitcase for your trip back home. Learning to cook will also cost you less than eating out every day and will add another useful skill to your arsenal. Choose right over wrong, choose wisely over foolishly, and choose success over failure. In the end it’s all down to your personal priorities. Should you skip a few meals so you can party on the weekend? Maybe, but that’s part of the learning process.
5- Avoid the obvious
Many students going abroad will make the mistake of taking the typical touristic road and doing all the advertised excursions by fear of missing out on However, oftentimes this will be the most expensive option for you, and most likely the most boring one as well. Try looking into joining student groups through your friends, your campus society, and social media apps and you will find plenty of unique, fun ways to experience all that your country of choice has to offer. Besides, going on spontaneous adventures and discovering unknown paths is what will give you the most entertaining stories to tell at the end of the day.
6- Make your own money
Being a student means having fun, but it also means learning how to handle increasing responsibilities, and getting a part-time job is a great way to do just that! Although you might need to complete an internship near the end of your degree, it will most likely not be paid – or not very much – and can generally only last a few months, while working full time. Instead, you should opt for a casual student job that will not only break the monotony of your student life but will give you real life experience for the future. There are many options for getting a job as a student, as long as you have previously made sure that you have the proper visa to work in the country of your studies. Simply create a CV with all your relevant experience if you haven’t already, print it and go hand it to the manager of your favourite coffee shop, bar, supermarket, etc. With this job, you will earn the money you need to fully enjoy your free time and will also learn to appreciate that free time even more.
Hopefully, some of these tips can help you better plan your student journey abroad, and make sure you remain on top of your finances during the whole experience. In the end, money should not stop you from pursuing your dreams and studying abroad. Remember to be careful because every little thing adds up to a lot! Every year, thousands of students become victim to overdrawn account syndrome, but you don’t have to join them. Plan further for your studies by signing up to some of The Study Abroad Portal’s Online Open Days now, and get a head start on your finances!