How to Manage your Finance as International Student?
As a student, the thought of taking on new foreign skills and culture can be quite daunting. There is no doubt that this experience will be one-of-a-kind and exciting. However, there are also many things to consider before embarking on an adventure like this.
Smartest Ways to Manage Finance while Studying Abroad
This blog post discusses the important financial issues to consider when studying abroad including how to manage your finances and benefits from student discounts and deals while abroad and how you can ensure your return home is as fruitful as your time away!
The most important thing for any student doing an exchange or scholarship abroad is to make sure you are fully financially prepared before leaving. This means that you have a budget and that you know how much money will be left at the end of each month.
In this day and age, there is no excuse for not having a budget! There are so many free budgeting apps available on the internet which makes it much easier to put your finances in order and plan for the future. Budgeting can seem like it is out of reach when you are in college but, with this blog post as a reference guide, I hope I can help show you that everything does not have to be difficult.
Building a Budget
Building a budget for studying abroad is quite different than if you were staying in America. First, it is important to know where your money will be coming from and what it will be spent on. There are lots of ways to get funds for study abroad programs such as scholarships and visas. However, these funds are often set aside specifically for the time you are abroad and do not allow room for any ‘miscellaneous’ spending. I recommend that you take a portion of the money you have received from scholarships or financial aid and put it into a savings account that can be accessed while overseas.
Debit or Credit Card
Credit/debit cards are an extremely useful budgeting tool; however, they have many risks associated with them. I recommend using your credit card for any and all transactions you would be willing to pay interest on (such as paying rent and shopping online) and only using your debit card for anything which will immediately take money out of your account (such as eating out).
Also Read: safest ways to pay for online shopping
Debit cards: These come in handy while you are studying abroad because they can be used at any ATM machine, though it is important to note that sometimes banks charge a fee if you use them outside of the country where you bank. Credit card: These should be avoided, however if necessary use a credit card with no annual fees.
Living expenses are a basic necessity of any exchange/scholarship student. Living expenses include tuition, room and board, and other miscellaneous costs such as groceries, transportation, books, entertainment, gym memberships, etc. I recommend budgeting around $2000 for living expenses while studying abroad.
This amount may seem like a lot at first when you are initially receiving financial aid for students but it will quickly go down as time goes on due to inflation. There are many websites such Expatica which give estimated rates for living expenses which you can use to put together your budgeted amount.
Taking a Leave of Absence
If you are studying abroad for less than a year, I highly recommend taking a leave of absence from your school. A leave of absence is simply an official statement that you will be taking a semester off to study abroad and will return to school at the next possible semester. If you decide not to take an official leave of absence, you should still make sure everyone at home and at the university knows your plans so they are not worried.
Most countries in Europe provide health insurance to their citizens. This is an extremely important piece of information! As a US citizen, I am not legally required to have health insurance while studying abroad but I believe it is a smart idea to always purchase some. Many student exchange programs require students to have health insurance on-site and once you leave the country you will lose your right to it, making this requirement that much more important.
If you are studying abroad for ten months or more then you will most likely begin taking on additional expenses such as transportation, food, entertainment, and other miscellaneous expenses.