There is no doubt that interning abroad is going to be fantastic. Once you’ve figured out the biggest expense, paying for the internship program, the next step is preparing yourself for all the wonderful things you’re going to do while you’re abroad. Before you start planning for all the fun stuff-like skydiving in Sydney, going to a music festival in London, or taking a trip to another country-remember these six simple budgeting tips.
1. Create a Budget
Create a budget of how much money you expect to spend before your internship starts. Make a list of things you will be spending money on like food, transportation, travel outside the city, and entertainment costs. Remember that you will need to readjust your budget once you’ve arrived in your host country since you will have a better idea of how much you’ll actually be spending. Don’t forget to calculate in the currency exchange rate as well!
2. Using Your Bank’s ATMs
Ask your bank if it has an international branch in the country where you’ll be interning. If not, they may have an international sister bank that you can use that won’t charge you an exuberant amount each time you withdraw cash at the ATM. For example, Bank of America’s international sister banks include Barclay’s in the United Kingdom, Westpac in Australia, and Banca Nazionale Del Lavaoro (BNL) in Italy.
3. Hit Happy Hours
You don’t need to pay full price for food or drinks. Take advantage of happy hours after work where you can load up on half-price foods and drinks in many locations. Did you know in Italy you can attend an apertivo where you can buy one full-priced drink and then get complimentary access to a buffet of finger foods? When you arrive in your host city, do some research on the local bars and restaurants and find out what places have the best specials for your wallet.
4. Cook Together
Save money and make friends by cooking with your roommates, flatmates, or other internship participants. Cooking dinner together is a great way to save money on groceries (and prevent spending money on going out for dinner) and is a fun, and affordable way to build closer relationships. Make it a weekly routine by having people take turns making the dinner each week and going over to different people’s rooms or apartments.
5. Student Discounts
No matter where you travel, it is pretty universally understood that students do not have a lot of money. Look out for student discounts and bring your university student ID with you. You can also consider getting an international student discount card, and use it to get discounts on museums, transportation passes, and stores in several different countries.
6. Avoid Currency Exchanges
When you do need foreign currency, try to avoid using currency exchange stores or using kiosks in the airport or train stations. Currency exchange stores, such Travelex, will have the worst highest exchange rates. Instead, wait until you can pull out cash from an ATM that will always have the current, and possibly best, exchange rates. You will most likely be charged a fee to pull out cash, so it is wise to pull out large amounts at a time to avoid having ATM fees add up (but you never want to keep all of your cash on your person at any time).