Smart Saving Tips for International Students
Ways to cut costs and manage your expenses when studying abroad.
Studying abroad needs planning; beyond your tuition costs you have to think about your daily living expenses. While you may have planned for this, living expenses as a student in a new country can throw some surprises your way. In order to stay prepared for the unexpected, and within budget, here are few ways you can cuts costs and manage your expenses.
Look up Scholarships
There are many scholarships awarded specifically to international students. These include general assistance, as well as targeted awards for people applying to certain programs, awards for diversity, first-generation students, and merit awards. Fulbright scholarships (offered by the US) and Chevening Scholarships (by the UK) are popular scholarship programs among international students. Find out more about scholarships offered in the US and Canada from our blogs.
Travelling to the country you will be studying in will be a major upfront expense. Thankfully, there are many airlines which specialise in low cost airfare; Airlines such as Southwest, Ryanair, and EasyJet offer travel to many countries around the world at a fraction of the cost. A few airlines may offer additional baggage allowances to students.Search for the best deals on airline tickets before you book. Also understand that you may not have the funds to fly home to see your family during your study abroad program.
Cut Costs of Housing
One of the biggest expenses you will incur while studying abroad is housing. Although this may not be an option during your first year of study, you can reduce your housing expenses by choosing to participate in a homestay. A homestay is where you will live with a host family in your new country during the duration of your program. A homestay can include meals and laundry, in addition to a room. This is also a great way to immerse yourself in the culture, meet new people, and pick up the local language very quickly.
Smart Banking Choices
Using the same bank card (you used back home) to make purchases or withdraw money from an ATM could result in large fees. Each time you withdraw money from your bank, these expenses will add up. Consider opening an account at a bank in the country you will be studying abroad in. Alternatively, find an international bank with branches in both your home country and the country you will be staying in. Or, find a bank with free ATM withdrawals and no foreign transaction fees. This will all help eliminate these often unplanned and unforeseen costs.
Eating While Abroad
Eating can be a major expense while studying abroad. You can reduce this cost by choosing to cook your own meals rather than purchasing a meal plan through your university. Dining hall plans can be expensive. Going to the grocery store, buying food and cooking it yourself will help you save money, introduce you to local foods and be a fun social experience. Of course you will want to go out to eat at times; in these cases, ordering daily specials, appetizers, and using carry-out containers will help you save money.
Your student ID is the magic ticket to getting you discounts to all of your favorite things. College students can get discounts on travel, concerts, restaurants, movies, school supplies, and more. For example, Eurorail offers a 35% discount for people 25 and under on their rail passes. The university you are studying at should also be able to tell you what businesses will give you a discount when you use your student ID card.
About the Author: Liz Witbeck loves to help college students with their educational goals, including studying abroad. In her spare time she enjoys reading, writing, and traveling the globe. She received her master’s degree from California Polytechnic State University.