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How To Be Financially Smart Before and During Study Abroad

July 8, 2021

Before Study abroad 

Most students will want to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad in college. It is such an exciting opportunity that we can tend to get ahead of ourselves by daydreaming about the places we will travel to, planning out our Instagram poses, and begging our friends to come out and visit us. But what we can sometimes forget to do is start budgeting and saving up money for our travels before the semester abroad rolls around.

Summer work

If you are financing your study abroad, try to have at least three months prior where you can work consistently and set aside the money you make. Many students already know a year or so in advance that they are going to study abroad. Utilize the summer before the fall or spring term that you are studying abroad to work as often as you can so that you are able to save up as much as possible . Some days might be difficult if you are working 5-6 days a week and eight hours a day, but set your phone background as a picture of Europe, and remember that all the long hours will pay off when you are traveling the world for a semester.

Cutting out unnecessary expenses

In order to save as much as you can before getting on your plane to start your travels, there are a few expenses you can limit that we do not realize make a dent in our bank account: 

  • $5 dollar daily coffee 
  • Takeout/Eating out 
  • Limit your spending on social outings to twice a month instead of once each week
  • Shopping. You might feel like you need new clothes for your travels, but you will probably buy plenty in the countries you visit 

Apply for scholarships 

Schools like to show their support for study abroad programs by providing ample scholarship opportunities to their students. Look into your specific school program and try to apply to as many scholarships as you can.  There are many different amounts that students may receive, and any opportunity for aid should not be passed up. Even being awarded $200 will pay for a  fun experience, such as a weekend airbnb in Italy and most scholarships will award you more than that. 

During Study Abroad 

Budgeting is a long-term necessity. Saving your money while you are traveling is just as important as saving it before you go out and explore. It is easy to drain your wallet in the excitement that comes with being abroad, but following a few easy steps can help you be financially responsible. 

Create a budget 

During the week, give yourself a limit on the amount of money you spend going out to get food and drinks. Eating out and getting drinks tends to be a daily activity and can add up quickly, so make sure to keep track of this so that you avoid draining your travel money on things such as fancy pasta for lunch everyday.

Fly smart 

There is no need to book with expensive airlines, Although it may seem too good to be true, there are flights that will get you to the same location for as low as $30. RyanAir, for example, is a popular airline in Europe with competitive prices. Another practice to avoid expensive flights is to try and fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays as these days tend to be cheaper. 

Book airbnbs or private hostel rooms 

Many students do not love the idea of staying in a hostel and so they think they will be spending more on hotels. This, surprisingly, is not the case. Airbnbs are safe and inexpensive options all over Europe. Look into any reviews and check the location with popular tourist spots. Also, hostels have the option of private, two person rooms, which is an option people are more comfortable with rather than spending more on a private hotel room.

Saving money both before and during study abroad can be done easily and efficiently if you keep in mind these simple tips. It is important to always remember why you are saving money as staying focused on your goal can motivate you to keep up your progress. These budgeting tips and other methods of saving money for school programs and activities can also be applied throughout your life in many different areas. 

Safe travels and happy saving!

BIO: Elie Corbett is a senior at Northern Arizona University majoring in Marketing. She is interning at GradGuard for the summer. She loves to spend time with her friends,  travel, and go to concerts!

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