9 Ways to Save Money For Study Abroad
Money is often seen as a barrier to studying abroad and international travel but it doesn’t have to be if you’re smart and plan ahead!
The opportunity to live and learn in a foreign country is an invaluable experience. You’ll learn so much not only about the world, but also about yourself. While money may seem like a barrier to study abroad there are many ways to make study abroad feasible, you may never have the opportunity to spend this much time abroad again so now’s the time, follow this guide and get out there.
1. Start planning early
As soon as you’ve decided you want to study abroad it’s time to start planning. Start looking for ways to make extra money and save extra money, maybe babysitting on the weekends and making coffee at home instead of buying it before class. There are lots of pretty simple ways to do this and you’ll be glad you did when you’re experiencing what life is like abroad.
Additionally, start comparing places to study abroad in. The cost of living in different countries can vary, so if you have the flexibility it’s worth it to consider going to a less expensive area.
There are a plethora of scholarships out their for study abroad students. Ask your study abroad advisor, compare opportunities offered by study abroad providers, or even just do a simple Google search. Putting in the legwork and applying for scholarships has the potential to pay off in a major way.
This might be the most important step. Once you have established where you will be studying, determine how much money you can afford to spend and how you will spend it. Be diligent and realistic. Set aside some money for emergencies (aka breaking your phone, getting stranded on a weekend trip to Lisbon, or having your wallet stolen in Rome). Also remember you don’t want to be completely broke when you get back home, so make sure you have something left over.
4. Student discounts
Once you’re abroad remember to always ask for student discounts. Many stores, attractions, and museums offer them, particularly if you have an ISIC card (International Student Identity Card). Check to see if they’re worthwhile for the country you’ll be staying in.
5. Shop at the grocery store or local markets
While fancy meals out are a nice treat, when you’re traveling it’s tough to afford this for every meal. Make a stop at local grocery store and pick up snacks and things to make sandwiches for lunch and dinner. If you’re not picky it’s a super easy way to save money, not to mention visiting foreign grocery stores and looking at all the different products is always a blast.
6. Do things in groups
In addition to student discounts there are often group discounts, most frequently for tours and entrance fees to museums. If you’re traveling with friends, see if you can’t plan ahead and find a discount. More here: Money Saving Tips for Traveling in a group.
7. Try alternate forms of transportation
Always opt to walk or take the bus or metro around the city you’re staying in, as taxis tend to get expensive. If you’re planning on going on trips do your research. Compare the price of flying with a budget airline, taking a train, an overnight bus, or using a rideshare service. Depending on the time of year, where you’re headed and where you’re coming from, you might be surprised which option is the cheapest.
8. Opt for anything free
Free things are more common than you think. Many museums and attractions have free days, take free walking tours (but don’t forget to tip!), explore parks and landmarks that don’t charge an entrance fee. Again, do your research here and you might be surprised by what you find!
If you will be traveling book in advance and compare prices. Airbnbs and hostels are both great options. Hostels often provide discounts on things like tours and pub-crawls and give you the opportunity to meet cool people. Sharing an Airbnb with friends will often give you more privacy, which can also be nice. Remember to check locations before booking. Sometimes spending a little extra on lodging to be directly in the city can save you a lot of money (not to mention time) on transportation to and from your accommodations.