Studying abroad is one of the best ways to get to know another country and its people and culture. It is also a great way to become an independent person and to learn to get by on your own. However, it does cost an arm and a leg, so it’s important to prepare in advance for that kind of expense. If you’ve lived with your parents for all your life, you may find it particularly difficult, so here are some tips to help you save some money in a timely fashion.
1. Be realistic and learn the basic budgeting
First of all, find out about the cost of living in the country where you want to study. Make sure you do a thorough research. It’s not just about tuition and campus prices, it’s everything from the price of a cocktail in a bar to the price of toilet paper. Try to work out exactly how much money you will need every month. After that, see how you can adapt your lifestyle to your budget. Start learning the basics of budgeting before you go. It’s an easy thing to overlook when you still live with your parents and you don’t have to think about it. However, once you go to a foreign country, you’ll be on your own. Therefore, it would be wise to start practicing immediately. Set a budget for yourself, and stick to it. See where you can cut down on expenses, and how much money you realistically need. It’ll be good practice for your independent life in another country.
2. Start saving on time
This is the key to financial success. Start saving on time, and when the time comes, you won’t be in trouble. The moment you decide that you want to study abroad is the moment you should start saving. Get your priorities straight. Do you really need that new phone, or would you prefer to spend that money abroad? Remind yourself constantly of the reason you’re saving, and it’ll make everything easier.
3. Apply for scholarships
Not having to pay for tuition is usually a considerable advantage when it comes to your finances. While there are some really inexpensive universities you can attend in Europe, there are also some incredibly pricey ones that could really put a strain on your budget. Therefore, research all the scholarship options and apply, apply, apply.
4. Apply for financial aids
Other things to consider are various forms of financial aid. Crowdfunding is one of the options, and several websites deal with that kind of financial aid. It’s a good option for those of you who don’t have any sort of income at the moment. Alternatively, you can find good deals on unsecured personal loans online, if you do have some income. Depending on your current income, you can borrow a smaller or larger amount of money, which you will need to return with interest. Another option is to look into what kind of help, if any, does your government provide for cases such as yours. Explore all options and see which ones you are eligible for, and work from there.
5. Research everything
Research all other options to save some money, including any financial relief for students in the country in which you want to study. In many countries, students have special discounts for everything from food, and transport, to theatre tickets. However, in many cases, those discounts aren’t advertised well (or at all), so you can’t stumble upon them if you don’t do your homework first. It’s worth looking into and can save you a pretty penny in the long run.
6. Get a job
This one may seem a bit obvious, but if you need money, you should get a job. As many of the scholarship programs don’t allow you to work legally in the country you’re studying in, you should get a job before you go there, and pile up some extra cash. That way, you’ll be a little more at ease because you’ll know that you have a backup for the rainy days, and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your experience.
Financial preparations for studying abroad are not easy. However, unless you’re already filthy rich, they are necessary, so start on time and prepare well.