How to be prepared financially before you study abroad

Updated 26 Jan 2018 – By Loanstreet


Planning to live and study abroad has always been a popular route for many students. However, there are challenges to be faced, especially when it boils down to financing your stay in another country. Wherever you plan to settle down, it is always wise to prepare financially before taking that big step.

1) Keep the right mindset

Keep a positive and realistic mindset, even if things don't seem to go your way. There will be failures along the journey, and no matter what you do, there will always be expenses you need to cover when you are overseas. It will surely be something that isn't enjoyable, but it is a learning curve.

Before you go crazy with the number of responsibilities on hand, start focusing on the important things, and let them motivate you. When studying abroad, think of it as a long-term investment rather than a huge expense. It’s only a temporary phase to go through, and there is bound to be some financial challenges here and there.

However, in the end, you will see your money’s worth – reaping the fruits of your labour and getting an enriching experience of studying in another country. These are good rewards by themselves, adding onto the numerous opportunities waiting for you once you finish your studies.

2) Learn to budget

How to be prepared financially before you study abroad

Before you make big plans for your overseas studies, you must also learn the basics of budgeting. Keep a list of your expected expenses and allot how much you intend to spend for them.

Living with your parents compared to living alone in another country is a whole different level. You no longer have anyone bugging you about not spending too much on anything. It's wise to learn how to budget now before you go.

Start by downloading a simple student budget template that you understand and suits your needs. This template will consist of a list of all your expenses and income, so it is good to track your money without worrying too much.

3) Research, research, research

How to be prepared financially before you study abroad

Thanks to the internet, you can have all the answers in just a few clicks! Got questions about studying overseas? Google the answers away – there will be lots of information available for you.

Start by looking for a course and the university you want. This will give you an idea of how much to budget for your actual education. Then, list down the countries you want to go to and compare how much you need to spend for your tuition, as well as other things like food, transportation, among others. Decide on which country offers you the most value in terms of education and living expenses, then start your application from there.

4) Look for scholarships

There will come a time that you will be choosing a country or a school that may be a bit over your budget. Before you let go of your plan, try looking for a scholarship that might be able to ease the burden of studying abroad.

When it comes to picking the right scholarship, make sure it matches the course you want and compare it with other scholarships just in case other choices will provide higher percentages for you to save more.

5) Have a financial backup

How to be prepared financially before you study abroad

It is always smart to have extra money as a back-up when you are abroad. However, breaking even with your incomes and expenses can be sometimes risky as unexpected challenges may come from time to time.

Consider working while studying. Some countries offer a certain amount of time for international students to work overseas. Consider doing part-time jobs or freelance work while you study.

6) Save on small things

How to be prepared financially before you study abroad

You know yourself more than anyone, so think twice before spending on something you want than need.

If you want to get started on saving, avoid using credit cards. Also, before you leave your house, practice preparing home cooked meals than eating out. Look for ways to get e-books instead of buying physical books, and remember to take advantage of your student card discounts.

To sum it all up, research and preparing beforehand, as well as practising a healthy budget are the most important things to help you prepare financially before you decide to study abroad.

Keeping your finances intact and being responsible for your money will take you a long way – even if you already completed your studies and ready to take on the world after university.

This article is brought to you by EasyUni.my, Malaysia’s first and largest online portal. EasyUni offers a comprehensive and complete platform for college and university applications for school leavers and working adults with over 70,000 courses and programmes from 2000 colleges and universities across more than 20 countries.

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