10 Ways to Save Money When Studying Abroad

Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting parts of your university years, however, it can also be quite costly when you are already struggling with a student’s budget.
It is possible to save money while you are living in another country if you know which corners to cut and what tips to follow. This also doesn’t mean you need to give up any of the fun activities that can come with foreign study, such as sightseeing, souvenir shopping, and the occasional night of bar hopping.


One of the best ways to fund your studies abroad, scholarships can make all of the difference between leaving and staying. There are hundreds of scholarships available through a wide variety of businesses, organizations, and even nationally-sponsored grants aimed at students just like you. The competition is fierce for these limited scholarships, making it important to apply as far in advance as possible for one.


While Europe is a popular destination for students, you might want to consider a country that is cheaper and more economical. For example, when you choose a country in South or Central America, Asia, or Africa, you are more likely to find less expensive accommodation, food, and amenities than you could while studying in Europe. Compare countries where your currency is the strongest to see where to get the most bang for your buck (or euro, dinar, franc, etc).

Editor’s note: Studying in Europe is not necessarily more expensive than in other regions! Read about the costs of studying in Europe.


This category can be interpreted in two ways. First, it can be cheaper to travel with a friend to split costs, such as rent and groceries. You can also save money by making friends in your new country who can teach you insider secrets on where to shop for less, eat, and activities to do that can cost little to no money. You might even wind up with a free room and board, as well as home-cooked meals!

Independent Travel/Study

If you go with a travel/study package that is arranged by your university or another company, you are more likely to pay higher fees. Although it will take more time and can be difficult, it is possible to enroll as an independent international student and plan your own travel experience. If you are comfortable with the language and are more willing to craft your own plan in a foreign country, this can be a fantastic way to put some money back in your pocket.

Host Family

One of the best ways to learn about a new culture, immerse yourself in a foreign language, and save some cash is to stay with a host family. You will generally pay a weekly fee for room and board, including meals if you choose. Some host families will even cut down the cost even more if you offer to tutor them in your native language. It is wise to arrange for a host family through your university or a reputable company that places foreign students to avoid complications upon arrival, and to ensure your safety.


One of the easiest ways you can spend way too much money abroad is by not familiarizing yourself with the local currency and the usual cost of items you will need. Before arriving you should see how much basic items like toothpaste, a dinner out, a pint at the pub, and bus fare is, and then create a budget for yourself based on how much money you intend to spend while studying abroad.

International Student ID Card

For less than 20 you can buy an International Student ID card (ISIC) that is accepted all around the world. You can save on just about anything, from food and travel to sightseeing and exchanging money at the airport. Sure, the cost for the card can seem like a lot of money right now, but you will reimburse yourself and more with its purchase.

Calling Card

Even if you wind up getting a cell phone abroad it can be too expensive to use it to call friends and family back home. You will want to research which calling cards offer the best rates, how much they cost, how to use them, and finally where you can purchase them. There are some extremely affordable calling cards that can fit into even the tightest budgets.


Depending which country you choose to study in, public transportation may or may not be an option. If it is, become acquainted with the local systems, particularly the buses and trains. You do not want to rely on taxis as that will quickly eat away at your small budget. Of course, the best and cheapest way to get around your new city is on your own two feet.

Part-Time Jobs

While many countries will not allow you to work while you are a foreign student, there are some that will permit you to have a part-time job. If this is the case research how many hours you will be able to work, the general wage, and try to arrange for a job before arriving. Some examples of part-time work might include waiting tables and tutoring in your native language.

by David G. – originally published on GoOverseas.com

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