Antonella is one of our Essex students who studied abroad in Mexico in 2021/22 and is now a Frontrunner in the Essex Abroad team. We asked Antonella how she managed her study abroad expenses…
“As a university student I know it can be tough to save up money while in school; it can be even tougher when you are on your year abroad.
Your economic possibilities are not endless and while on the one hand we would like to spend all our money on travelling, going out and enjoying life carelessly, on the other we feel a strong sense of responsibility to pay the rent, do grocery shopping and more.
However, there are tips and tricks I’ve relayed on when I was abroad and that helped me not to stress over handling expenses”.
1. Where to go on you year abroad
If finances are a concern, the first thing to consider is where to spend your year abroad. There are some countries that have a much lower cost of living than others like Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia or Latin America. In my case, choosing Mexico really made things easier and cheaper.
2. Plan your expenses
Something easy and helpful is keeping track of your expenses. After my first month in Mexico, I got a notebook to write down my monthly expenses which helped me to understand where I needed to cut back or where I could save up for extra money to spend in things I was interested in like travelling.
I would monthly divide my expenses into categories (like food, transport, rent and bills, leisure), I would set a maximum amount of money to spend on each and I would daily write down my charges.
3. Consider getting a part time job
Having a part time job is a great solution not only to make money but also to meet people and to get into a routine which will make you feel part of the community.
As I didn’t have much spare time, I decided to give Italian classes online for a couple of hours a week which surely helped me supplement my budget. Be sure to check your host country’s visa guidelines before applying for any job.
4. Apply to scholarship early
Check any kind of scholarship or grants available in time. Consult with the Essex Abroad team to learn about any possible finance you can receive but also look online for organizations which offer scholarships to students, regardless of the university they are studying at.
5. Take advantage of your student discounts
Get a temporary student ID from your host university or get an international student ID card (ISIC) and you will get discounts on transportation, leisure (museums, gym...) or even food. Thanks to my Mexican student ID I had the chance to visit most of the museums in Monterrey for free.
If you are thinking of a year abroad and would like to know more about this topic then visit the Essex Abroad funding and finance page where you can find information about your fees, funding managed by Essex Abroad and funding from other organisations.
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