Studying abroad sure is exciting and can be a life changing experience in so many ways. While it isn’t cheap, moving to another country to take up a course needn’t be out of your budget either!
So if you’ve been putting off the idea of going abroad to study just because you think you don’t have the means to make your dreams come true, you’ve come to the right place! Studying abroad on a budget is absolutely possible if you know what needs to be done and what you need to avoid.
Here are 8 tips that are sure to help you save money when you travel overseas to study.
Plan in Advance
A lot many students plan to pursue higher studies abroad toward the end of their academic program. This can cause students to miss out on opportunities to compete for big scholarships. Instead of rushing to apply for whatever is available at the last moment, think over what you want to do and plan well so that you don’t end up making the wrong choice.
Take time out from your current academic program to research about universities abroad- there are several study abroad grants, fellowships, and paid internships to choose from. Keep in mind that most scholarships have early application deadlines, so don’t delay filling out forms!
Most importantly, choosing the right country and city to pursue your higher education can be just what you need to do to afford your program and the costs that come with living abroad. While European cities are popular study abroad destinations, they are also expensive.
Exercise Caution When Exchanging Currency or Withdrawing Money
First things first- know exchange rates so you don’t get tricked into getting lesser value for your money. Note that exchange rates keep changing daily, so keep track of them if you will require exchanging a lot of money.
When it comes to withdrawing money from an ATM, remember that a conversion fee applies. A conversion fee is not a flat fee and individuals are usually charged a percentage of the amount withdrawn, a couple of dollars from the bank, and a fee from the ATM used. While you’ll get the best exchange rate when you withdraw money from an ATM, you might want to take out a lump of cash so you save on conversion fees.
Find a Good Local Bank
If you’re going abroad for just a couple of years, don’t close your existing bank account. However, be sure to inform your bank and credit card company about your travel plans- this will prevent incidents like your credit card transaction being denied.
Furthermore, find out if your bank has a sister bank operating in the country you’re headed to. If it doesn’t, open an account with a local bank so that you can carry out transactions without having to pay extra fees. Your college is sure to have tie ups with good banks, which means you won’t have to spend time researching the best option or waste time on paperwork.
Save on Books
Textbooks can be expensive, but just because you must have them doesn’t mean you spend a fortune on them. A good idea is to head to the university bookshop and see if you can buy secondhand books- you can sell them back once your course is over! Also, see if you can borrow the titles on the list from a local library.
Alternatively, befriend students from a year above and ask if you can borrow, rent, or buy their books. Do ask them which titles are absolutely necessary so you don’t waste money on books you can do without.
Communicate with Loved Ones on the Cheap
If you can use your university internet or Wi-Fi connection, you can communicate with your loved ones easily using VoIP options. In addition to this, consider unlocking your smartphone so that you can make use of a local sim card or pre-paid phone contract for the length of your stay.
Before you leave for your destination, ask your phone operator for international calling and texting rates. Do make note of rates applicable on mobile-to-mobile or landline-to-landline calls.
Master the Art of Using Public Transportation
Hiring a taxi a couple of times a month might be affordable, but overdoing it can take a toll on your budget. Your university is sure to provide you with subway passes or discounts on other forms of public transportation, so make use of the same and up your bus or metro game.
Use Your Student Status to the T
Keep your university ID card on you at all times and use your student status wherever you can. You’re sure to get entry to museums, parks, and other attractions for free or at discounted rates by showing your student ID card.
Eating out can be expensive too but plenty of restaurants and food joints offer discounts on meals to students. If you’re not that lucky, you can always make use of coupons and avail freebies!
If where you’re staying has a kitchen, you can whip up simple meals using ingredients purchased from the local market for cheap!
Studying abroad doesn’t have to be a dream that’s far away from your reach if you plan your trip and budget everything in advance. With the tips given here, you now know how to proceed if you want to travel overseas to study. So get started on the planning and budgeting as soon as you can!