Dollar dollar bills y’all

Pamilla Kang, UCSD, California, USA

This blog is about… you’ve guessed it, finances on a year abroad.  I’m sure everyone reading this is aware that a year abroad costs a lot of money, but I don’t think I realised just how much living in another country could cost! So, this is my warning and advice to all my future year abroad people out there.

Save money…and then save some more.

This one is pretty self explanatory and obvious, but basically, make sure you try to save as much as you can before you move abroad.

Be aware / beware of costs

Before you go, I’d recommend researching living and accommodation costs. Living abroad in general can be costly, but it can be especially expensive if you’re moving to an expensive city or area e.g. California. Researching will mean that you won’t get a shock when you go to do a food shop for the first time and realise that a loaf of bread is like $3 or $4 (true story).

Something I didn’t take into account before I went, is how much the exchange rate could affect my finances. When travelling abroad, a bad exchange rate is never really the end of the world and only ever makes a difference of a few pounds. But on a year abroad, you’re going to have spent thousands of pounds overall, and so an exchange rate can make a difference – especially since Brexit (cough cough). So make sure you google the exchange rate so you can prepare for your budgeting!

Getting a job abroad?

Most students in America have jobs while also going to university. American universities are also campus based and so there are so many jobs on campus that are available to students and which work around your university timetable.

If you plan to get a job on campus, I’d suggest looking at your options as soon as you get there. This is because some applications for campus jobs can take a while to process – maybe even a whole quarter. So definitely don’t leave it until the last few months, even if you only want a job for part of the time that you’re there.

Here’s some incentives to save

Even though budgeting and saving is hard as a student, it honestly really pays off when you’re abroad. It means that you have more freedom to travel and actually do the things that you planned to do when deciding to go on a year abroad! As motivation to save so that you can travel and live your best life, here’s some pictures I took on my trip to New York a few days ago…

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