On one hand, eager and ambitious high school graduates are carefully considering their options when it comes to studying abroad to develop their careers. On the other hand, they are also exceptionally vigilant because the ongoing health crisis has stifled travel in its entirety. Some countries, like Australia, New Zealand, or Iceland are reopening their borders, especially when it comes to travelers who intend to stay for the long haul, which is precisely the case with students.
In the wake of the pandemic, however, students need to come to terms with new ways of living and be much smarter when it comes to managing their resources, time, and money included. Now more than ever, students should be frugal to complete their studies without accruing too much debt (if any) and to make the most of the opportunities presented to them. When you’ve decided on the destination for your studies, you should use the following principles of thrifty living and learning, and you’ll preserve your budget from unnecessary spending with ease.
Get to Know the Local Currency
As a student abroad, you’re about to spend a few years in completely new territory in terms of culture, learning, socialization, but also money. That said, you’ll find yourself “thinking” in your native currency like US dollars, without understanding what it means that something is expensive or cheap in the target currency of your new country of residence.
For starters, make sure you can use a simple currency converter on your phone to slowly get a better understanding of local values. Try talking to other students, too, so that you can learn about cost-effective and affordable spending habits that are specific to the country where you intend to study – they can give you unique pointers and help you adapt more quickly.
Set a Budget for Every Month
In countries like Norway, it’s impossible to be a student and survive without a budget. The cost of living in this and other Scandinavian countries can be daunting, so it’s necessary to prepare yourself and understand what to expect.
Before you start accumulating debt, set aside a monthly sum of money that you really need for your new life abroad. Make sure to allocate your budget clearly to your top priority spending segments, like accommodation, food, and university-related costs. If you feel that your budget is too tight, you can look for creative ways to cut costs, use discounts, and of course, find a flexible job, all of which we’ll cover soon.
Get Creative with Your Study Materials
As the old saying goes, you need to spend money to make money, but for a student traveling abroad, especially to countries with high costs of living like Australia, you want to spend less whenever possible. Books and learning resources can be very expensive, which is why students have started leveraging university-specific learning materials via online exchange platforms.
For example, you can find ANU resources online and upload your own study materials and notes that will be helpful for other students taking the same exams as you. These exchanges make it possible for students to save up instead of spending large sums of money on brand-new textbooks, expensive tutoring classes, or additional learning material. This real-life study material helps international students adapt much faster, too, making it easier to pass exams while saving money and sharing their own knowledge.
Look for a Part-Time and Flexible Job
International students in Germany, for example, have access to a wide array of part-time positions that can easily help them increase their financial stability. Not to mention that a local job gives you the chance to expand your social and professional network, as you never know where your next professional opportunity might come from.
In EU countries, some of the most popular positions international students take on include babysitting, tutoring (especially if your native language is English), bartending, and you’ll find that your campus is likely a goldmine of work opportunities.
Look for Student-Based Discounts Locally
Wherever you decide to settle with your student dreams, you should learn about locally available deals for students that apply to you, as well. Once again, countries such as Australia are leading the way in optimizing the student experience, and they have a slew of cost-effective options, with many freebies in the mix, as well. Student deals in Australia range from fee-free bank accounts, affordable internet packages, and extra data for your phone plan, all the way to cheap meals with your StudentCard.
Europe isn’t lagging behind with such student-friendly opportunities, either, so you can find extremely economical memberships and deals to make your life a lot easier abroad. In Vienna, for example, the ISIC Card gives you major discounts for eateries like the famous Hard Rock Café and Yamm, while you can rent out a Segway scooter at a discounted price, too.
As rewarding and mind-expanding as it is to be a student, it also takes plenty of planning and practice. How you manage your funds during this stage of your life, especially in a different country will define how you start your professional journey soon after you wrap up your studies. Make this your learning opportunity to master the art of money management abroad, and you’ll develop a new skill that will become invaluable to all your future goals.
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