3 Ways to Financially Prepare for Studying Abroad

Study abroad commitments were due this past week for Spring 2018, so you must feel thrilled with the prospect of embarking on a new adventure. The thought of living across the world for a few months is both terrifying and exciting. Now that you’ve figured out your study abroad program, you are probably  wondering what your next steps are. The Office of Global Education has helpful resources on their website, as well as a checklist to help you prepare. Settling these matters before the semester ends will help you stay relaxed over winter break as you get ready to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Each program on the study abroad portal has a document outlining the budget for that program. It shows the estimated tuition cost, which is usually around the same amount for a semester at Georgetown.as well as estimated personal spending needs, including food, transportation, and travel. You want to be able to have fun when you’re abroad without worrying  that you’ll fall into financial troubles, especially if you’re far from home. Here are three key tips you should keep in mind to help you manage your budget when studying abroad.

1. Know Your Cash Situation

When should you exchange your currency? When is the best time to withdraw cash at an ATM? These are all questions you may find yourself asking as you wonder about your study abroad experience. It can be costly to exchange U.S. dollars to local dollars at airports or in touristy locations. You should also be wary of using non-bank ATMs, which can charge rates that are higher than typical foreign exchange fees. You can also incur lots of charges if you withdraw from an ATM frequently, so know your daily withdrawal limit and plan your visits accordingly. You can read more advice on best practices for withdrawing cash here.

2. Notify Your Bank and Credit Card Company Before You Leave

Make sure that your bank and credit card companies are aware that you will be abroad for a certain time period, so they understand that your card is not being used improperly. You should also understand their respective policies on spending in foreign locations. In most cases, you’ll incur a fee for using your credit card, but credit cards are a convenient payment option offered in many popular study abroad locations, especially if they are near touristy areas. These fees are similar to the exchange rates you would have to pay at ATMs. However, you should avoid using a credit card to take out money from an ATM.

3. Start Saving For Your Adventures Abroad Now

Hopefully you’ve saved up some cash from your summer job or internship, or you’re working this semester so that you have a decent amount to spend while you’re studying abroad. You’ll want to try the local food and explore neighboring cities and even countries. These costs can quickly add up, but you should absolutely take advantage of every adventure that is offered while you’re abroad. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you don’t want to worry about running low in your budget while you’re there. Besides your own personal savings, you can also apply for scholarships, and maybe even ask your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles for early birthday cash or donations to fund your study abroad trip.

Studying abroad can be a defining moment in your college journey, so make sure you make the best of it by planning ahead!