Studying abroad is quite an adventure. It’s thrilling to step out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in a totally different world. You broaden your perspective by meeting different kinds of people, visiting places you’ve only seen in books and experiencing a different culture.
But, every adventure comes with it some challenges. With studying abroad, the biggest challenge you’ll face is how to survive with enough cash to finish your degree.
Fortunately, there are ways to help survive financially as an international student:
1. Come up with a budget plan
Before you buy a ticket to your overseas destination, plan a budget for your stay abroad. Do some research about the location of the university to find out student options for cheap food, transport and accommodation. Often, the university provides student services including guidance on student life. If you know someone who has attended the university, ask them for advice on monthly expenses and ways of reducing expenses.
Once you have found reliable sources of information, think of other aspects that affect the cost of living. Are utility costs included; are there additional education costs, such as study trips and book purchases? If you are moving to a different climate, do you have the appropriate clothes? What is the typical weekly cost for social events? Also, think about medical insurance costs. Reputable companies like LewerMark offer insurance packages tailored to a student’s budget and needs.
2. Practice disciplined spending
Your parents might have given you a credit card for emergency purposes while you’re studying abroad. But, it can be tempting to use the card for other reasons with your new-found independence. So, keep the card in a secure place and agree with your parents what justifies its use.
Use your expenses budget to help guide you in what you can afford and what to avoid. If the item you’re checking out in the local souvenir shop is outside your budget limit, then you can survive without it.
3. Find ways to minimize expenses
Students need books, but these items can be very expensive. So, rather than buy a new textbook why don’t you ask around and see if any of the senior students have old books you can borrow. Also, check out bookstores that sell used textbooks.
Although the student canteen may be subsidised, preparing your own meals often provides a cheaper option. If you live off-campus, eating out will become a social expense that will have to remain within your budget plan. If you are cooking for yourself, work out the basic equipment and utensils necessary – you don’t need to buy the latest food processor or juicer.
4. Get a part-time job
Many international students find part-time jobs to take care of their expenses. Once you’ve settled in your university, ask around if there are any jobs. Depending on your lecture schedule, students often have the flexibility to work at different hours of the day. Common ways to earn include babysitting, dog walking, or as a shop attendant. You could also ask your university if they have job openings in the library or registration office.
It may be difficult at first to balance study and finding ways to survive financially in another country. But, as you become familiar with living costs, study time and where to find work, your financial situation will become easier. In time, you’ll be able to truly enjoy being an international student.