Financial Preparation Tips for Students Studying Abroad

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Studying abroad can be an inspirational, transformational, and incredible experience. It’s a chance to tap into resources and classes you may not be able to find close to home, experiment with your independence, and even learn from new cultures and people. However, if you choose to study away from the comfort of your hometown, there’s a good chance you’ll have extra expenses to consider too. 

Depending on where you choose to pursue your education, the cost of living, combined with the fees of getting your degree can quickly add up. Fortunately, there are some ways you can prepare yourself for success. Here are some quick tips to improve your chances of maintaining your financial health when studying abroad. 

Financial Preparation Tips for Students Studying Abroad

Do Your Research

First, if you’re planning on studying abroad, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the expenses, you’re likely to encounter in your chosen country or city. It’s not just the cost of your tuition that will vary depending on where you choose to study, but the cost of living too. Think about the costs you’ll incur for things like transportation (if you’re going to be travelling back home regularly, or to your college campus). 

Consider your accommodation costs, particularly if on-campus living isn’t an option, and ask yourself what kind of health insurance and coverage you’re going to need. Look at the costs for food, entertainment, and hygiene essentials in your region. Even details like knowing what to expect if you are traveling with pets and what that means for your budget need to be assessed in advance. 

Financial Preparation Tips for Students Studying Abroad

Build Your Budget

Before you move overseas for the duration of your study, it’s important to think about how you’re going to manage your cash on a day-to-day basis. Even if you’re permitted to work part-time while studying abroad, the chances are you’ll have less income than the average person. This means you’ll need to ensure you’re using every penny carefully. 

Create a budget based on your available cash, obtained from student loans (some of your financial aid may be able to be used for studying abroad), grants, and any other sources you can think of. Ask yourself if there are any areas where you might be able to cut down on costs, by sharing a living space, or using public transportation. 

Know Your Credit Options

Although managing a student loan and credit card at the same time can seem like a daunting prospect, it can be a great way to improve your financial situation when you’re studying away from home. The right credit card can give you access to extra cash during emergencies, build your credit score, and even earn you rewards, like frequent flier miles. 

The key to success is knowing what type of credit card you should consider. Examine all your options carefully and think about how any fees and interest rates will influence your overall budget. Make sure you can afford to make the repayments on your card before you sign up.

Find Ways to Save Cash

You’re likely to have less money as a college student studying abroad than you would if you’re working and studying at home at the same time. That means you’ll need to be constantly looking for ways to cut down on expenses. Start by thinking about what your needs and wants are when assessing your budget. You may need a broadband connection to study, but you don’t necessarily need a subscription to a streaming service. 

Look for opportunities to save money as a student in the region you’re going to be studying in. Many countries have student discount programs, or special cards you can apply for which give you discounts on essential expenses. 

Monitor and Adapt Constantly

Finally, the most important thing you can do to preserve your financial health when studying abroad is keep a close eye on your spending. Use your mobile banking app or banking website to track your expenses, and pinpoint areas where you might need to cut down or make changes to your spending strategy. 

Think about how you can adapt your living situation to reduce your expenses. You and your house mates could plan meals and buy food together to save on bulk items. As your situation evolves, be ready to adapt and change to avoid getting into debt.

Financial Preparation Tips for Students Studying Abroad