The euphoria of going to study abroad is something everyone should experience. However, it may also be one of the most financially stressful times of your life. I am sure you will want to see/do/try everything, but it will be so hard to budget when you are counting in a different currency and everything around you is so attractive and new. Thus, take a quick peek at the list of lifehacks below to have a joyful and stress-free experience when studying abroad.
1. Open a bank account in currency you will use abroad
It is not safe (and sometimes illegal) to travel with the cash you need for the whole period of your stay abroad. Therefore, think in advance which would be more useful for you: to open a local bank account as soon as you move or one in your home country but in a certain currency. Otherwise, you will face one of the worst parts about studying abroad – the conversion rate and the ATM fees you pay when changing your money into a different currency or just withdrawing cash.
2. Buy food at local markets
It is tempting just to stock up on pasta and pizza, but you will do much better if you visit the local Italian markets once or twice a week: the food is always cheaper there, you can bargain, and anything left over is sold off in the evening. A nice bonus is that local products are always fresher, riper and usually more organic, because they are not delivered from far away and do not need special treatment for long storage or transportation. Information on where and what time to visit the closest market to you can be found here: www.mercati-settimanali.it.
3. Forget those café sandwiches and make your own lunch for University
At university cafés, prices are generally inflated while the food is not particularly diverse. So, by bringing your own food, you can not only save money but also eat healthily regardless of time and place. Tuna salad, healthy chicken with rice or a quick turkey and avocado wrap – anything like that will not take much time to prepare but will definitely help you to be efficient until the end of the study day.
4. Have fun smartly
It is not a good decision to stay home every night just to avoid paying for a club entrance fee or drinks with your new friends. You can easily get your dose of culture without breaking the bank if you do some research on Groupon proposals, free museum days, open-a cinemas, street festivals and other cheap events. Regarding nightlife, asking some friends to come over or planning a picnic under the stars can be a pretty enjoyable way of avoiding the overpriced nightclubs.
5. Use your student ID
Always carry your student ID with you to get discounts. If you want to go further, get an ISIC card. This is the only international certificate confirming the status of a student worldwide that will open up the world of discounts and privileges to you.
6. Use a bike
Well, sometimes even public transport can seem pricey…Fortunately we are not studying in London, but anyway, getting a second-hand bike or subscription to one of the public bike-sharing systems may bring you some nice advantages, starting from no longer missing the last train to finally exploring all the cute hidden streets you would never have noticed otherwise.
7. Do not rush to buy textbooks
Perhaps it is surprising that you will have to buy textbooks again. To save money, you can enrol in a university/local library, look into buying them second-hand through Facebook groups or specialised websites like www.bookfinder.com or check if you can find them online. The literature-addicted can rely upon www.gutenberg.org, currently the biggest database of free e-books that are too old to be protected by copyright.
8. Want to travel? Use the bus!
This way of travelling is especially convenient and cheap in Europe due to its short distances. The main bus companies used to travel inside Italy as well as to go abroad are FlixBus, Eurolines and Ecolines. The www.goeuro.com website can help you to find all the ideal options for your schedule and budget in one place. The nice bonus of that kind of transportation is that you usually arrive in the city centre, so you save not only money but time as well.
9. Check university social websites regularly
To find out quickly about university events/trips which will be low-cost or even free of charge, sign up for student clubs or university groups on social websites. This could also be a good way to find new friends or solve the problem of traveling alone.
10. Be creative
In addition, check out university message boards regularly – your peers studying science may look for participants necessary for the research and will pay you for answering a survey or doing some specific tasks under their observation.