Study Abroad: Live Well but Live Frugally

Tue, May 24, 2011

Financial Advice

Studying abroad can be an exhilarating time for those wanting to experience new cultures and lifestyles. At the same time, the experience can be incredibly expensive. A majority of the costs are dependent on the country you visit and your spending habits in general. Are you willing to make changes in order to save money? Will you cut some terrible habits, such as your shopping addiction, if you are living in one of the most expensive countries in the world? There are many things you can do to prepare yourself for the study abroad experience. Some early preparations and decisions can help you save money in the long run. There are also some measures you can take while you are actually in your country of choice. Find out how to live well but frugally below.

Destination is Everything

You want to choose a destination that will help you further explore your educational interests. If you are an Asian history or Asian studies major, your destination choice of Australia may be hard to explain to future employers. In addition to finding a place fitting to your degree program, you need to find a place that won’t drain your savings account. If you live in the US, find a location with an exchange rate in your favor. In England or France, the dollar may not go that far. In addition to exchange rates, look at overall costs of living. How expensive is an apartment in China? Japan? How will you get around? Is public transportation accessible and affordable? Some early planning can help you get the most bang for your buck.

Drinking: Your Apartment is the Best Bar in Town

You are in college. That doesn’t change just because you are living abroad. There is no need to drink Dom PĂ©rignon every night (just because you are in France). Find local deals in your new city. Does the country have Groupon or online websites with coupons? Print them out and keep them in your wallet. Also, how expensive are bars and clubs in your area? It may be a good idea to have a drink or two with your friends, rather than wasting your money on ridiculously expensive drinks in a bar. Or have a drink at home, and then go out.

Eating: Learn How to Cook While You’re Abroad

Eating out should be treated in the same way as drinking out. Do it sparingly, and find cheap delis or grocery stores in your area. You can have just as much fun cooking with your friends at home! Some of my best nights abroad were spent in my apartment. Some cheap wine, delicious local cheeses, vegetables, and great company can be just as satisfying as a meal prepared at a restaurant. Of course, you should definitely try the local cuisine on occasion. Find out which restaurants are affordable (and unlikely to take advantage of tourists). Do some analysis on your spending power. Allow yourself to eat out accordingly. My rule of thumb was: lunch at a restaurant twice a week and dinner out once a week. I ended up coming home with money left in my bank account!

Bon Voyage and best of luck!

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about top online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031

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3 Responses to “Study Abroad: Live Well but Live Frugally”

  1. YOHannisTAMmu Says:

    Yes we must cut our terrible habits…..


  2. Jane Says:

    My friend also studied abroad and when she got home , everything changes maybe because of the new cultures and lifestyles. This blog is really a great learning for all of us. Everyone shoud absord what do it tells to us. Yeah ! I also believe that we must cut our terrible habits as early as now.
    Jane´s last blog post ..How to Gain Trust from Your Girlfriend


  3. Monica Says:

    You listed some great ideas for saving money when traveling overseas. For those who want to travel abroad and save money, there are several organizations that organize volunteer vacations or study abroad programs. The person lives with a family and experiences the culture while spending a portion of their time doing volunteer work, such as teaching English, etc. The places available include Japan, Eastern Europe, and many others. This is a great option for young people or anyone who wants to travel, but save money at the same time. Thanks for the great information.
    Monica´s last blog post ..Credit Card Information Blog


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