The idea of studying abroad is an exciting one and a great way to experience a new culture and travel the world. However, it can also be one of the most financially stressful time of your life. Therefore, it is important that you analyse your cost of living while studying abroad and ways to save money. Here are a few tips to help you do exactly that:
Open a local bank account and save your money
First things first, set up a local bank account in your new country. Take your time to research on the leading bank accounts to make an informed decision. Understand the bank fees such as foreign transaction fees and international ATM fees. Ensure you choose a bank with maximum benefits for students and one that doesn’t impose heavy charges for international transfers.
Create a budget
It is important to understand your current financial status before you create a practical budget plan. In your budget, include expenses like rent, utility bills, food, transportation, study material, travel and recreation on it. When creating the budget, strive to save some money at the end of each month for unexpected emergencies and situations.
While it is tempting to sample international cuisines, you will do much better hitting up the local markets. Ask the locals for recommendations on where to eat out and shop the best grocery deals. Always buy food that is in season and look out for local recipes on how to survive on a budget. Do not throw your leftovers as you can bring them to school the next day for lunch and save some money.
Studying abroad is expensive. However, with smart planning, you can survive quite easily. Making a priority list is a great way to understand what you need, what you want and the best way to get it. Find ways to use your money smartly and save some of it. For instance, since you are in a new country, there is a high chance that you will meet new friends, and you will need to pay for a few drinks as you get to mingle.
However, night outs with friends are the biggest sinkhole you will face while studying abroad. Therefore, think of ways to reduce the money you spend by researching free museum days, street festivals, open-air cinemas and other cheap events so that you can still go outdoors, get a dose of culture, and have fun with friends without breaking the bank.
Get a bike
Transportation is a major expense in most cities around the world. Understanding how to minimise this cost while learning your new city will make a huge difference to your budget. One of the most cost-effective ways to keep travel costs low is by using a bike. A bike provides a great and affordable way to explore the city. You can buy one or subscribe to one of the public bike sharing systems cropping up in many cities around the world. With a bike, you will never have to worry about missing a class or train. Plus, you will have total freedom to explore your surroundings affordably.
Skimp on textbooks
One thing that most people tend to forget when planning their study time abroad is the money they will need for textbooks. These costs can add up quickly. Therefore, consider buying second-hand textbooks or seeing if you can find them online. You can also save money spent on textbooks by selling those that you will not need once your semester is over and use that money to get other books for your next semester.
Make money on the side
If your study abroad visa restricts you from working in the country, there are a few ways you can make some money on the exchange. For instance, you can make money by tutoring, translating or even babysitting. You can also check out local universities that are looking for participants for studies and will pay you to answer an hour-long survey or do some simple task. The little money you make from these gigs can help sustain you a little bit longer.
Use your student status
Make sure to get your International Student Identity card (ISIC) as early on as possible. This is an internationally recognised proof of full-time student status that is issued in 130 countries. If you can’t get the ISIC, make sure to have it processed by your designated university or college. This card will accord you discounts on transportation, movie tickets, restaurants, shops and most cultural events.
At the end of the day, how you manage your money while studying abroad will define the failure or success of your experience. Make use of these simple tips to get the most out of this experience.