Let’s hear top tips from Maria, one of the Co-founders at Study Advisory, who has years of experience from the banking industry. Bring it on, Maria!
There is a lot to consider before going to study abroad; Where to study, where to live, how to get there… Planning can be one of the best things before heading abroad to study. I remember having planning nights with my friend before leaving to study abroad. It was so exciting! I never thought that I would say so but although being impulsive, young, wild and free it really is a good thing to make plans in this matter.
This post is the story of my exchange studies: what I learned about planning and budgeting my studies abroad few years ago – and by few years I mean six. Wow! Was it that long ago? Well, time flies when you’re having fun. Here are some pieces of advice for how to study economically abroad.
Advice 1. Choose a cheaper place to study. There is a big difference in budget if you are going to study in Oslo, Norway or in Bali, Indonesia. Use a price index when comparing your options to get an idea of living costs in a certain area. Cheap and cool options are Thailand, Vietnam or Philippines, for example. (Find more information on www.expatistan.com or www.priceoftravel.com)
Advice 2. Look up every possible way to fund your studies abroad well before your trip. Is there a possibility for a scholarship, financial aid or student loans? Is there a local company or a trust that provides sponsorships? You can start with our Study Advisory Scholarships.
Advice 3. Make a budget. How much are your living costs per month? Rent, food, transportation, partying… Write everything down to get a realistic idea of your consumption. For example, in Vienna a bottle of wine is four times cheaper than in Finland. And for the record this had nothing to do with me choosing Vienna six years ago 😉
Advice 4. How to top-up your budget? Work and save money, sell stuff and rent stuff. Did you know that people rent almost anything today? Bikes, guitars or even dogs. Do you have an extra bike, for example? Another buck earned. (Find more information: www.renthything.com)
Advice 5. Try to stick to your budget… but prepare a plan B in case that something goes wrong. A recent study says that 8 of 10 travelers spend more money than they have planned. I’m definitely on that sad group of 8, but then again, I usually don’t mind. So, make a budget and add 20 % extra and then you might be close to your actual spendings. Otherwise you might end up selling your blood to finance your partying abroad… (This real story came from a medical student and yes, in some countries they pay you for blood donation and of course organs too… but please keep that at least in somewhere near Plan W).
Okay, so back to business with some plan B options: get a part-time job, get a credit card, stash some extra cash and try not to use it if it’s not an emergency (this one is hard – I know). You can also just leave really specific and easy directions for your parents how to send you money abroad quickly. (Find more information: www.westernunion.com)
Advice 6. Travel plans. Here are some easy tips for travelling cheaper: be flexible with travel dates (some studies say that Tuesday is the cheapest day to travel), follow travelling-related newsletters, sign up for e-mail notifications from airlines, become a Facebook and Twitter fan for travel sites, use low cost carriers, remember to ask student discounts and keep an open mind when travelling =)
Hopefully you will find that these pieces of advice are helpful. Finally, my last plea in this manifest: if you are still hesitating whether to go and study abroad… stop that immediately! Now that you have some advice in your pocket on how to study economically, go out there right now – study hard, party hard and enjoy the world!