How To Financially Survive Your First Semester Abroad


Your first semester abroad will probably be the most trying moment in your school life. Not only do you have to deal with nervousness and adapting to life in a new place, but also manage your own finances – oftentimes for the first time ever on this scale. The financial burden can overwhelm you and add to your stress and anxiety if you don’t learn how to make smart choices. 

Check the following expert-recommended, student-tested tips on how to financially survive your first semester abroad.

Apply For A Student Loan

Applying for a loan for international studies is a great way to ensure that you can afford your tuition and living costs abroad. So long as your study programme is accredited, the loan application process should not be a complicated one.

The Student Revolving Loan Fund offers affordable student loans for international studies with attractive terms designed with student borrowers in mind. Click here to learn more.

Budget Your Finances

The leading cause of the financial challenges most first-semester international students face abroad is poor money management skills. If you don’t know how to budget, no matter how much money you have you will find yourself struggling financially. 

Before you leave for college overseas, make sure your money management skills are top-notch. Prepare a budget that takes into account all your financial obligations and make sure you prioritize needs over wants. To succeed, you will also need to discipline yourself to stay within budget.

Live Off-Campus

Another way to manage your finances during your first semester abroad is to cut costs by living off-campus.

Though campus residences may look cheap and manageable, when compared with off-campus shared accommodation, you could end up paying up to $300 more per month! That’s a lot of money that could go towards something else and give you more wiggle room in your budget.

Another great thing about shared off-campus living is that you can save even more by preparing your own meals and sharing the cost of food with your roommates.

Use Cheaper Or Free Transportation

Living off-campus means you’ll no longer be able to walk to class within minutes. However, that does not mean you should use costly means of transport to school. In fact, most colleges provide free transportation to students within a certain mile radius. Find out if your campus has an active free transportation service for students. If not, consider taking public transportation, which happens to be the cheapest way to travel in most countries.

Buy Used Books Or Rent Books

New books are pretty costly and as a new student in a foreign country spending so much on books can drain your limited finances. Instead of buying new textbooks, consider renting or buying used books. 

Most college and community libraries allow students to rent books. If your college library does not allow renting of books, consider buying used books instead. For a book that costs $25 when new, you might pay less than $10 when it has been used.

You Can Survive Your First Semester Abroad

Studying abroad is supposed to be an adventure, and it can be one you enjoy if you learn how to manage your finances. Make your funds stretch further through smart budgeting and wherever possible making more affordable choices.