Studying abroad is an opportunity you should be looking forward to. However, pursuing it will not be cheap, and will require you to display some financial responsibility. In order to make sure your stay in a foreign country as a student will be everything you had hoped for, you need to take some time and devise a study abroad budget. Below are some things you should take into account when financially preparing for this educational venture.
Research the costs of living in the foreign country
This is essential for making a realistic budget for your time abroad. The main costs you should focus on are the exchange rate, rent, transportation, and groceries, since these are essential expenses you will not be able to avoid. You should also have a good idea about how much social activities or a drink in local pubs will set you back. If you know someone who has studied in the same country, you should ask them about their experience. Otherwise, you can do your research on the internet.
Avoid foreign transaction fees
If the currency in use in the country where you plan on studying is different than your domestic currency, you should find a bank or a credit card which allows you to withdraw money without foreign transaction fees, since avoiding bank charges on this account can save you a substantial amount of money over time. If most of your expenses are paid for with cash, you should avoid going to an ATM too often, as they will charge you a fee every time. You can minimize the total sum of the fees by withdrawing larger amounts of money, for example, once a month, and then budgeting it until the next time you planned on visiting the ATM. This requires some discipline, but most students are already used to sticking to a budget anyway.
Take out a loan
Investing money in your education is never a bad idea. If you are planning on studying abroad, you should make sure you are financially prepared, as having extra cash in your bank account can make your budgeting a lot easier and give you a sense of security. If you weren’t able to set some money aside, you should consider taking out a loan. Applying for a loan at your bank isn’t the only option and you would do well to consider the alternatives, such as OurMoneyMarket, to make sure you got the best deal.
Find a part-time job
Having a job while studying may be a little challenging, but it will help you earn some extra money, and allow you to meet local people. When looking for a job, you should keep in mind that your studies are a priority and make sure your job won’t interfere with your academic obligations. It is also important to familiarize yourself with any legal requirements, such as obtaining a work permit.
Plan ahead with your money
Finally, you need to take all the factors into account, plan a budget and stick to it. Start by calculating your total income and the amount of money you expect to have available for each month. After you have calculated your monthly budget, move on to the expenditures. Identify and prioritize crucial expenses you can’t work your way around. Be sure to check whether you can save money by finding cheaper accommodation, or whether you are eligible for public transportation discounts. Use the excess in your budget to plan for other, non-essential expenses, such as sight-seeing, nightlife, or other entertainment based on your personality. However, make sure you always leave some wiggling room, in case of emergencies. After putting everything to paper, all that is left to do is adjust your lifestyle to your budget.
Spending a semester or two in a foreign country can be a very valuable experience, apart from looking good on your resume. After all, it is a unique opportunity to meet new people, get to know other cultures and see new places. However, money can be a limiting factor, so it is very important to manage it properly. Exploring all of your financial options and following the suggestions above will help you have a great time during your stay abroad and return smarter and happier.
|Leila Dorari is an entrepreneur and freelance writer from Sydney. She believes that the quality of our lives depends on how much we invest in ourselves. You can usually find her blogging from the comfort of her room or hiking with her furry four-legged friend.|