Study Abroad
Study Guide to Masters and Bachelors Degree Courses


Saving money while you study abroad

Most students studying masters programs in Europe have some savings set aside for their trip. If you don’t plan to work while you’re overseas then this means that you’ll be living on a fixed budget, and making this money go further can make all the difference. Running out of cash in a foreign country is not much fun, so we’ve taken a look at things you can do to increase your savings before you go, as well as decreasing your costs once you get there.

Your first step should be to draw up a realistic budget for your overseas study trip. As well as major costs like your accommodation, if it’s not included in your study program, you’ll need to include basic day to day spending requirements – food, course materials and stationary, transport costs, toiletries, phone and internet charges for example. It helps to have an emergency fund in place too, as well as some spending money for the fun stuff like weekend excursions, dinners, bars, the cinema, gigs and festivals.

With a realistic budget in place, you’ll be able to see just how much money you’re going to need for your trip. Set up a dedicated savings account and try to set some money aside week by week. Many students choose to work a summer job prior to their trip to save up some extra cash too.

Before you set off, make sure you sign up for an International Student Identity Card (ISIC). There is a small charge for the card, but the ISIC entitles you to savings and discounts worldwide on a range of products and service. You can get money off travel costs, restaurant bills and entry to galleries, museums and other places of interest too.

Once you reach your destination, you’ll soon come across ways to save. You may want to take up a part time job there while you study. Not only will this help you increase your savings, you’ll meet new friends and it can be a great way to accelerate your language learning too.

Talk to other students that live locally as well as other students who are studying abroad with you. They’ll have plenty of tips on how to live on a budget and will be able to help you locate the best value for money stores, eateries and bars.

To save on phone calls, get connected using Skype. Your family can set this up on their computer back home – all you need is an inexpensive Skype headset, download the free software, and you can make calls back home without having to spend a penny on phone bills.

Make sure that you fully get to grips with the local currency too. Most mobile phones now come with a handy currency converter so you can access the latest currency rates and work out whether you’re getting value for money when you go out shopping.

Choosing the right savings account before you leave for your trip can help you to boost your savings too. Major banks like Santander have a range of savings accounts to choose from, from specialist student accounts that come with handy perks, to ISAs that allow you to save tax-free. Try to choose a savings account with a good rate of interest, and this will help your savings to grow more quickly.

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