Thinking of studying abroad next semester? Great! Study abroad is a unique experience full of incredible opportunities to go out into the world and embrace new people and ideas. But it’s also expensive and a fabulous opportunity to make some big financial mistakes.
Here are three things you should know as a student that can save yourself some long-term financial pain post-graduation.
1. Not Budgeting Properly
Create a budget and estimate your study abroad expenses ahead of time. There is no universal way to calculate a budget, because each person will have different needs while staying abroad.
Eating out every night or buying food from the campus café can add up big time. Planning your meals ahead of time and making them with healthy ingredients will not only lighten the load on your wallet, but you’ll also probably feel better too.
So consider how much money you will need to eat out, buy groceries, pay rent, buy souvenirs, travel in your destination country, pay for transportation, and more.
2. Misusing your student loan money
In the short-term, spending your loan money on something else apart from your tertiary education may not seem like a big deal. Others have done it, you tell yourself as you make a mental note to take up a part-time job to earn some cash on the side.
But then the semesters zip by and the little you earn, you spend on night outs with friends. Before you know it, you’re graduating and up to your ears in debt.
That excess money should have been put to better use such as repaying your loan and avoiding accrued interest. Spending money to live beyond your means may mean spending a longer time in debt post-graduation.
3. Not getting a part-time job
Getting a part-time job while in university is not only a great way to help you earn some money to build your savings or reduce your dependency on your loan as you study, but it can also help you build your career simultaneously.
You’ll gain valuable soft skills, such as communication and time management skills (when balancing your work-study life), while doing internships in your field of choice gives you professional working experience, in addition to acting as a platform that enables you to network with people who are already in your field of choice, which may help improve your future employability.
The point of any study abroad experience is to have a lot of fun while learning about a new country. So you should treat it as an amazing adventure, no matter where you go or what you study.
Be flexible and keep in mind that participating in a study abroad program is about living your real life in real time in a new country.
Study abroad is one of the most rewarding and life-changing experiences of your life—take advantage of it by avoiding these common study abroad mistakes.