So you finally made it! Brand new place, brand new degree, brand new you. You get to explore a different country, all while getting the knowledge and skills you’ll need to succeed in the workplace. You’re studying abroad, so congratulations!
Everyone you’ll meet will be incredibly happy for you; they’ll pat your back and envy you for all the adventures and challenges you’ll go through. You already know the benefits of studying abroad, but face it, you can’t really have many adventures and explore the world if you’re broke.
Studying abroad can be extremely expensive, even more so if you’re doing a master’s degree. Whichever degree you are getting in whatever country you are in, you may find that it’s difficult to manage your budget. So we’ve asked some former study abroad students to guide us through a few actions you can take to save money. Here’s what they had to say.
Get a scholarship
This is not something specific to just studying abroad, but it is one of the most important ones. Unless you’re in a country where tuition is free, such as Germany, you’ll notice that your biggest expense is paying for classes. So go to your financial aid office and find out as much as possible about getting a free or cheaper degree, as well as information on merit scholarships. You could save anywhere from $500 to your entire thousands-of-dollars tuition. Then you’ll have more disposable income to explore and have fun in your new home.
Learn some cooking skills
Different culture, different cuisine! Many students are excited to try the new food their new country has to offer. Each country is so diverse in terms of food, that you might just discover your new favorite dish there. No one says you shouldn’t try the local delicatessens and desserts, but overdoing it will leave your wallet as empty as your kitchen fridge. So stock up on ingredients and find some good recipes online. It’s time to put your cooking skills to the test.
Cooking food on your own doesn’t mean you’ll never get to eat out, it just means that at least a few times a week, you won’t spend a ton of money on restaurants and fast food chains. Not only will you be healthier, you’ll save a fortune, which in student terms means a few hundred dollars a month.
Invest in a bike
Biking is healthy and with all the new food you’ll be trying in your study abroad home, you’ll most likely need the exercise. Plus you’ll save a bunch of money avoiding public transportation, cabs, or Ubers. Make sure you get a reliable bike, one that won’t leave you in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire or broken brakes. Try to stay out of the way of cars, and if possible, stick to the bike lane. Unless public transportation is free for students, make sure you know that you don’t have to spend the extra dollars getting to class, when you can do it just as well for free on a bike.
Curb the alcohol
And finally, the cherry on top of the cake. Drinking! Yes, drinking a bit here and there is part of the whole student experience. You know what it’s not good for? Your liver, obviously! But also your wallet.
Alcohol is expensive in any country you go to and if you drink too much, a hangover won’t be the worst feeling you’ll experience. Not drinking too much will keep you healthier and will save money you can use to further your experiences in the new country you’re living in.
We all know staying at a 5-star hotel is a nice experience. You get all the perks and comforts, and you also get all the costs. When you study abroad, you’ll want to travel around, and that costs money too. The best way is to go about it smart and save a little. Use cheaper transportation methods, stay with friends, couch surf or book a low cost hostel. Also, if you don’t travel alone, you can share the costs with your travel mates, and you’ll have saved enough to afford another trip.
So here you go! Scholarships, cooking, biking, avoiding drinking and travelling cheap are definitely tips that will get your financial situation out of a rut and have you feeling like a millionaire.
This article was contributed by Liv Luget.