How to budget while on international placement
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So you’ve been accepted on to an internal placement scheme, hooray! Now comes the long and tedious task of planning exactly how you’re going to do it (no sugar coating here). Budgeting can be a difficult task – throw in a foreign currency and it gets even harder. When I moved to South Africa for my placement, I had no idea how much things would cost and I ended up overspending. But, having been through it myself, here's my advice for making your budget work for you.
yourself, while having a bit of fun too? These are the questions you should be asking yourself.
cards, if one gets lost or stolen, then you’re not stuck. Getting a travel card that doesn’t charge you for making purchases in a foreign currency is one of the easiest ways to take your money with you.
Revolut and Monzo charge no fees for any foreign currency and ATM withdrawals which is a definite benefit. Revolut doesn’t charge for bank transfers to foreign bank accounts, so that’s the most convenient way for me to pay my rent. But this is just my advice and each person’s financial situation is different, so find out what works best for you.
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Research the Cost of LivingYour best friend is research. A good place to start is on forums like Reddit. There is often a page dedicated to the country or even city you are moving to. You can ask questions about the cost of living and get responses from people who live there. Research room rental costs on Facebook and letting agents, but be aware that often letting agents will be more expensive. Travel costs are one of the most important. How are you getting to work on a daily basis? Is public transport safe and reliable? What are the basics you're going to need to make sure you can get to work and take care of
Save UpHow much you will need to save depends on whether the placement is paid or not. In my experience most international placements are, but it is important to make sure you clarify this. It is true that international placements are usually costlier than a local one, but the value of the experience that you gain is worth every penny. If you’re enrolled on a degree with a placement scheme, start saving as early as you can. You’ll thank yourself later. Often, Student Unions offer flexible jobs to students allowing them to work while studying. These jobs can vary from bartending to being a store clerk or even providing social media management. I made sure I saved money for my placement by working as a bartender at my university nightclub. It definitely came in handy because it helps to know someone behind the bar when you’re on a night out.
Find the Right BankMost international placements are usually a year or less in length. Its more hassle to open a bank account for such a short period of time and you may encounter difficulty doing so as a foreigner in some countries. You may even be charged to keep it open! It’s a must to have at least two
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