8 Tips On Financial Management When Studying Abroad

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8 tips on how to manage your finances while studying abroad

Many college students will choose to study abroad. However, as they study in a foreign country, financial strains might plague them during their college careers. In fact, financial management should definitely be considered when studying in a different country, meaning that all international students must handle their own finances by keeping up with bills, paying fees, and keeping their money safe and secure from scams and theft.

Fortunately, with a little experience and guidance, you’ll soon be able to manage your personal expenses, alongside tuition fees and rental costs.

Here are 8 tips on how to manage your finances while studying abroad:

counting money
Do you need tips how to manage your finances while studying abroad? Photo by Igal Ness

1. Understand Fees

“There are two kinds of fees for when you use a debit card in a foreign country,” says Leo Naylor, an education writer at Writinity and Researchpapersuk. “First, a foreign transaction fee is a percentage of the total transaction amount for purchases or withdrawals, which is typically 1–3%. An international ATM fee, on the other hand, is a flat fee charged by your bank for each third-party ATM transaction, typically ranging from $2 to $5 in addition to the third-party fees. Instead, try to find credit cards with no foreign transaction fees to avoid extra costs.

2. Create A Budget

Yes, even as you study abroad, you have to have a budget for each day, each week, etc. This will help you prevent unnecessary spending, especially with different currencies.

Once you have a budget plan, you can differentiate which expenses are priorities, and which ones are nonessential (i.e. fun and leisure).

a calendar laying on a white table
Buy a calendar and write down what your budget is for each day and week. This is a great way to keep track on your financials. Photo by Estée Janseens

3. Spend Like A Local

Observe the locals’ shopping behaviors. Plus, befriend a few locals, and introduce yourself to the cheapest shops (i.e. groceries, stationery, etc.). Spend as less as possible in the first few months, so you can understand how much it costs to get by.

4. Know Exchange Rates

When spending money abroad, you’ll notice that the exchange rate on local currency tells you how much your purchases will cost in U.S. dollars (excluding any fees). Also, rates tend to fluctuate, making it impossible to know how much a future foreign purchase will cost you.

Sites like X-Rates offer a currency converter that can make quick comparisons between U.S. dollars and other currencies.

5. Do Business With A Good Bank

Don’t want to visit a physical bank? No problem! Online banks are great for travelers; and, they typically have lower fees.

Though, if you’re staying longer in a foreign country, you can open a bank account there. However, educate yourself, and see if opening a foreign account is the right thing to do, especially should there be an emergency, to which you need your family to wire money to you.

You might also be interested in: What is it like to study abroad during the covid-19 era?

6. Avoid Fraud And Identity Theft

Identity theft is everywhere, especially when you’re travelling. So:

  • Let your bank know that you’re travelling abroad.
  • Bring a backup bank card, in case your primary card is put on hold or replaced.
  • Keep your passport separate from your bank cards.
  • Leave a photocopy of your passport with a trusted person back home, and keep another with you (in case your actual passport gets lost or stolen).
  • Don’t carry a lot of cash with you daily. When you take out a large amount from an ATM, keep most of it in a secure location where you’re staying, and only carry what you need.
  • Only go to ATMs in well-lit places. Leave if you notice anything suspicious.
  • Stick with trusted banking institutions.

7. See If You Need A New Debit Card

“In reality, many American debit cards may not work in certain countries,” says Rhonda Lawson, a personal finance blogger at Draftbeyond and Lastminutewriting. “In fact, some countries may not have the same EMV-chip-enabled technology that can help prevent fraud. Therefore, see if you need a new debit card, especially if you plan to stay in a different country for a certain amount of time.”

A brown wallet filled with credit cards
Remember to always bring an extra credit card while studying abroad. Photo by Stephen Phillips

8. Look For Extra Income

For students, it’s good to have extra income with freelancing, part-time jobs, paid online surveys, etc. With that extra money, you can pay for tuition, buy school supplies, tackle student loans, etc.


So, as you can see, financial management should not be left on the back burner, when it comes to funding your schooling, as well as your living arrangements and essentials. Therefore, we hope that with these 8 tips, you can better manage your personal finance in the best ways possible, and avoid stressful money troubles as you study abroad.

Are you interested in studying abroad in Asia? Find out more here

Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities inAsia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tipsand new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to ourmonthly newsletter!If you have any questions about studyingabroad, feel free tocontact us! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Ashley Halsey writes at Research paper writing services UK and Gumessays.com. As a professional writer, she has been involved in many projects nationwide. In her spare time, she gives talks at business training courses and spends time with her two children.