Going on an overseas study program is a privilege and definitely one of the best experiences anyone can have. Getting to know new places, people, languages, and cultures is part of all the wealth acquired in one’s whole life, and it is common to return home more mature personally and professionally.
Yes, although it is enriching to be able to live in another country, the fluency acquired in the native language is the main point of this choice. Many of the large companies are looking for professionals who are able to communicate without difficulty in other languages – mainly in English and Spanish – and, at this point, it is very advantageous to study abroad.
However, the problem for many people is the financial issue, as it is necessary to invest, at a minimum, in air tickets, accommodation, courses, and food, which can frighten international students at the beginning of the process.
But fear not, because even on a tighter budget, there are many ways to get control of your money when traveling. We have 8 tips on how to save money on your exchange. Check out!
1. Choose a destination that fits in your pocket
The first thing you must do is define how much you are willing to spend during your period overseas. With that decision made, it’s time to choose which country best fits your budget. Researching the cost of living of destinations and local currencies is the most efficient way to start planning your trip.
Furthermore, the cost of living can vary between countries, so it is important to study all the possibilities before choosing to go directly to the capital. Accommodation is often lower in suburban cities, but transport can be more expensive. Put everything on the scale before going to the study destination.
The period of the year in which you intend to travel can also influence the values. Try to avoid peak seasons, when prices tend to get more expensive.
2. Organize yourself financially
Having decided on the initial budget and the destination, it is easier to control your expenses. Plan all your daily needs, such as transport, food, and lodging, and how much each activity will cost. That way you’ll know how much you can spend on other things, like sightseeing and shopping.
To make it easier, it is highly recommended to create a financial organization spreadsheet in Excel to track daily expenses. That way, you don’t lose control of your money and know what you can and cannot spend.
3. Search, search and search some more
Most countries offer promotions for students, especially for cultural activities and sightseeing, so it’s always good to do good research about your destination before boarding.
Another tip on how to save is to pay attention to the discount coupons offered by stores and restaurants. This practice is very common in some countries and, normally, they are available on the establishments’ websites.
In addition, it is good to pay attention to the markets in the region where you will be staying. Prices can vary a lot from one store to another. Search for the best value for money to satisfy your budget.
4. Plan your daily meal
Food is a matter that must be taken care of. Of course, on a trip to a different country, eating in restaurants is a great way to learn a lot about the local culture.
Okay, but what about in everyday life? Buying meals every day can take away your budget, which you could use for other things like shopping and cultural activities.
The tip is: cook your own food. This is the cheapest way to eat, as well as being healthier than eating at fast food outlets every day. Buy your ingredients (remember the market with better prices?) and make most of your meals.
5. Register in advance
Having chosen the destination, it’s time to choose courses and schools. Search for institutions with references, that have values that fit in your pocket and that, mainly, match your objectives in the exchange.
Enrolling in advance helps in planning the trip and, often, you can get a better payment term, with longer terms for payment in installments and even discounts.
6. Use public transport
No taxi! A great way to save money on your trip is to use the least number of transports possible – the famous “stomping around the city”. Of course, doing everything you want on foot is often impossible.
In such cases, use public transport. Big cities offer a wide variety of means of transport, such as buses, subways, trains, and even bicycles! In addition, it is common to have weekly or monthly usage passes, which ends up being much more affordable.
7. Look for the best hosting for you
There are several types of accommodation when it comes to an exchange program, such as hostels, accommodation at schools or universities, and family homes.
Usually, when thinking about saving, the best option is a family home, in which you rent a room in the house, being able to use the bathroom and even the kitchen in some cases. Thus, it is possible to cook your own meals and save some bucks, as we’ve already said.
The advantage of accommodation, on the other hand, is that it is closer to the location of the course, which guarantees a lower cost when traveling.
Do the math and decide which option is most cost-effective for you.
8. Consider getting a job
Some countries, like Australia and New Zealand, make it possible for you to work and study at the same time. For this, you need a student visa, which allows you to work up to four hours a day.
This is a great option: it allows you to earn a salary to help with expenses while studying and it also improves fluency in the native language since interaction with different people is required at work.
Studying abroad is a great opportunity to learn and grow, in addition to adding a lot to the curriculum. And, as we’ve shown, there are several ways to do it without spending too much. Plan your trip calmly, be wise when spending money and know-how to save. Don’t let your opportunity pass you by. Remember: traveling is the only “buy” that makes you richer.
Read Also: How To Save Money for Vacation?