Making the Most of Your Money

September 7, 2021

As you prepare for your upcoming international experience, your finances may be on your mind. How will you manage your money in an unfamiliar place completely removed from your daily routine? We compiled a list of financial tips to help you prepare for your time abroad and alleviate any stress you have surrounding the cost of your experience.  

Think about your bucket list

Are there certain places you hope to visit while abroad? This may include specific monuments, tours, or cities. Estimate the cost of each activity, excursion, or trip. Be sure to check API’s schedule because there are a number of excursions included in your program! Once you know which activities are included in your program costs, you can start prioritizing the other activities on your bucket list. 

Create a budget

Decide how much money you want to spend on cultural activities, trips, and souvenirs. Ideally, your budget will set a guideline, helping you cut down impulse spending, but also allowing you the freedom to treat yourself when the opportunity arises.

Keep an emergency fund

You never know what could happen while abroad. Keep an emergency fund in case you wind up lost while exploring a new city and need to take a cab back to your hotel. This emergency fund may look like having a credit card of spare cash. If you choose cash, make sure it’s in the local currency of  your host country. You won’t regret having money set aside for these sorts of emergencies! 

Use the resources available to you

You are likely familiar with online banking apps that can assist you in tracking your expenses. As a student, you should also look out for student discounts. A flash of your student ID could bring you savings on train tickets, hotels, or sightseeing tours. If you know other students or friends who have studied abroad, ask for advice! They may have some useful tips for managing money during your experience.

Consider the exchange rate

Keep in mind, currencies in other countries aren’t worth the same amount in the U.S. When shopping in another country, it’s important to keep the conversion rates in mind. Depending on the country, you might be spending more than you think, especially for larger purchases such as plane tickets. Here’s a helpful resource to get you thinking about currency conversions.

Investigate conversion fees and withdrawals

Pay attention to the credit and debit cards you plan to use during your study abroad experience. There may be conversion fees that can add up over time. You may want to search for cards that specify no foreign transaction fees. In some cases, you can avoid withdrawal fees if you stick to the same network of banks, so be sure to explore your bank’s policies. By going into your study abroad experience informed and prepared, you can avoid extra costs! And remember, you can do a money exchange at the airport, on-site with your Resident Director, or at your bank before you leave on your trip.   Also, make sure to notify your bank of your travels abroad so they do not view your international transactions as fraud! 

Connect with your API Resident Director

Your Resident Director is a local expert who will have tips to find safe, reliable, and affordable deals. They have years of experience helping students make the most of their journey abroad, so don’t hesitate to ask questions! 

By taking the time to create a budget and track your spending, you can have peace of mind while traveling abroad. We hope these tips help you track your finances in a way that works for you!


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