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How to Budget for a Semester Abroad

November 05, 2019
by CEA MOJO
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Studying abroad definitely has its perks but it can come at a higher price than a normal semester of college. However, no one should allow this to be a deciding factor of whether they go or not. It can be expensive, but it is manageable! I looked at the price and got a bit overwhelmed at first myself, but then I researched the best ways to budget for a trip like this. I discovered multiple ways to raise funds and budget while abroad.

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First, I calculated all of my existing monthly expenses and looked at ways to lower these to save money. Once I realized I could do this by monthly items, I started looking at weekly and day-to-day items as well. I no longer would buy unnecessary items or eat out as much. These both can amount to a good chunk of your paycheck without even realizing they do.

Second, I picked up another job during the days when my classes were not going on. Even though working and managing school can be difficult, this helped me stay focused on the bigger picture. It reminded me why I was working so hard. In the coming months before my departure, I set up a financial plan for my semester. This was the key to a successful four months.

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I budgeted per month and then each week. This might seem a bit much, but it is important to have this in place in case something comes up that wasn't calculated for. An added expense can throw your whole plan off, unless you have some wiggle room. Good thing I did, because I decided to go on one last trip after my final exams were done, which I had not planned on doing at the beginning. I had money for groceries, travel, activities/events while traveling, and spending money. This really benefited me and also kept my spending under control. It is important to be wise with your money, but also to not say no to going somewhere or doing something in that country, because you might never have the chance to do it again. 

Andrew Monk is a CEA Alumni Ambassador who studied abroad in the French Riviera during the Fall 2018 semester. He is currently a student at the University of Northwestern - St. Paul.


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