Tips to Create a Realistic Study Abroad Budget

Are you wondering about the financial investment required to fund your overseas education? Have you prepared a rough budget, including all the essential factors? Learn everything about pre-departure finances, including foreign exchange policies and day-to-day expenses with the help of our experts in this comprehensive guide.

One of the most crucial parts of your overseas education is making sure that all your financial commitments at home are being addressed and your research on how you are going to manage your finances once you go abroad.

Once you have shortlisted your university, the first step is to draw a budget based on the country you are going. An ideal budget plan should be drawn considering expenses like fees, accommodation, meals, health insurance, internet, phone bills, travel, leisure, and personal care. From tuition fees to the internet, there are a lot of factors that can affect your budget.

But there are certain things you need to consider before preparing your budget. Here are some of the keys things to consider for your study abroad program:

  • Airfare prices add up to be a considerable amount as the date approaches, and it is always recommended to book your flights in advance.
  • Once you have decided to move to another country, it is better to leave your old credit card at home as most of the banks charge an extra 3% charge on every purchase made abroad.
  • The International Student Identity Card will help you get discounts on any products, services, or experience relevant to student life. Please note that not all countries offer the same concession cards as domestic students.
  • Another way to cut costs is by applying for funding. There are a lot of international and domestic organizations where you can get a loan, scholarship, or grant.
  • You need to keep a check on the exchange rates as it could affect your ability to pay for fees and accommodation.
  • You should also choose your accommodation wisely as living in urban areas would cost you more than living in a small town or rural area.

Here are some of the expenses you need to consider while preparing a budget for your overseas education:

Tuition Fees

It is no surprise that your tuition fee would comprise a major part of your expenses while studying abroad. You can get financial aid by applying for loans, grants, or scholarships.

The average tuition fee in some of the major countries are:

The USA – 25 to 35 lakhs
Australia – 12 to 18 lakhs
The UK – 8 to 18 lakhs
Canada – 8 to 20 lakhs

Airfare

As discussed earlier, airfare prices balloon as the date approaches, and it is always important to book in advance.

Rent/Accommodation

You have several accommodation options while you are studying abroad, and it is important to pick one that fits into your budget. Some of the most common options are apartments, hostels, homestays, and dormitories. Let’s discuss the cost of living in some of the major countries:

The USA – Rs. 75,000/month
The UK – Rs. 1.1 lakhs/month
Australia – Rs. 86,000/month
Canada – Rs. 57,000/month

Utility Bills

You can always check if your phone and internet bills are included in your program fees if not, you need to consider these expenses before drawing a budget. Research the market trends in the country you have chosen and take electricity, gas, and water bills into consideration. Some of the other expenses that you should take into account are:

  • Food and Drinks
  • Commuting
  • Personal Care
  • Leisure
  • Books and Study materials
  • Health Insurance
  • Data Fees
  • Laundry
  • ATM or bank fees
  • Accommodation Deposit

Some of the sources of funding are as follows:

Educational Loans

Educational loan is the next best option after scholarships if you are planning to pursue your degree from another country. Most of the educational loans offer a flexible, which gives the students enough to room to repay the loan after graduation. These loans have a fixed interest rate and are not subsidized, which can be beneficial to the student.

Scholarships, Grants and Financial Aid

There are a lot of scholarships provided by governments and educational institutions to aid you financially. The different types of scholarships include:

  1. Fellowships or Merit-based scholarships
  2. Academic scholarships
  3. Grants or Need-based scholarships
  4. University scholarships
  5. Government-funded scholarships
  6. Program-based scholarships
  7. Athletic scholarships
  8. Specific scholarships based on your ethnic background or community.

Grants can be acquired from various sources, and one of the most significant advantages is that you do not have to repay the amount except under certain circumstances. The most popular out of all the grants is the Federal Pell grant. The pell is usually offered to undergraduate students from low-income families who have not completed their bachelor’s degree. However, the amount you get depends on your financial need, cost of attendance, and your status as a student.

Money From Parents/Savings

You always have the option to use the money you have saved or take money from your parents to save yourself from the interests on loans.

However, these are not the only ways to find your overseas education as you can sell some of your unwanted things from home to make quick money.

Now let’s discuss some of the crucial things to consider before your overseas education:

  1. Before opening a foreign bank account, you should understand that you are dealing with a different currency and that the exchange rate can vary from country to country. Some of the key things to consider are:
    You need to make sure that you keep track of the exchange rates in the country. If you are taking out large chunks of cash from the ATM or making big purchases, these rates can majorly affect your budget. You can always use currency converter tools to draw a budget and keep track of your expenses.
  2. You can sign up for a bank account within the Global ATM Alliance which is a group of several major international banks. You will be able to use your card without any transaction fees from any bank within the group.
  3. Most of the universities will recommend particular banks that are student-friendly, and opening a foreign account will solve the problem of ATM fees. Make sure you approach an authorized dealer before you open a foreign account and stay away from using black money as they have strict policies while opening an account.

Given below are the rough budget plans for some of the major countries:

UK:

Meals – $8 – inexpensive meal (fast food)
$15.50 – pub/ restaurant meal
$67 – average weekly grocery bill
Monthly rent
$850 – $1,000
Utilities
About $80 per month
Cell phone
About $30 per month
Local transportation
Monthly pass: $60
Personal expenses
Pair of jeans: $80
0.5L of beer: $5
Cappuccino: $4
Movie ticket: $12

You can expect to spend about $6,200 – 7,000 for one semester in England after airfare and program fees.

Australia:

Meals
$14 – inexpensive meal
$63 – date at a mid-range restaurant
$63 – average weekly grocery bill
Monthly rent
$942 – $1,311
Utilities
About $165 per month
Cell phone
About $45 per month
Local transportation
Monthly pass about $100
Personal expenses
Pair of jeans: $100
0.5L of domestic beer: $5
Cappuccino: $3
Movie ticket: $14

You can expect to spend about $6,000 – 7,500 for one semester in Australia after airfare and program fees.

Germany:

Meals
$9 for an inexpensive meal and the average weekly grocery bill will be around $46.
Monthly rent will be around $260 (dorm) – $630 per month for a dorm or bedroom in a shared apartment.
Utilities will be about $0 – $238 per month
Cell phone
About $11 per month
Local transportation
Monthly pass: about $72
Personal expenses
Pair of jeans: $86
0.5L of domestic beer: $1
Cappuccino: $3
Movie ticket: $11

You can expect to spend about $3,800 – 4,500 for one semester in Germany after airfare and program fees.

Canada:

Electricity
CAD 140
Internet
CAD 60
Movie
CAD 8–13
International postage
CAD 2
Local telephone call
CAD 0.25
Groceries
CAD 150–250
Books and supplies
CAD 1000 per year
Transportation
A one-way ticket (local transport) – CAD 4
Monthly pass – CAD 91
Taxi (normal tariff) – CAD 3.5

The living cost will entirely depend on the way and where you choose to live in Canada. The price for food and other basic amenities could cost nearly CAD 600–800, which will increase when you include the cost of accommodation, which will cost you less than 6,000 CAD.

USA

Room and board: $5,654
Sorority: $3,258
Tuition – in-state, public university, after scholarships: $2,651
One-time expenses (computer, printer, dorm room furnishings): $2,322
Fees (campus, technology, orientation, parking, sports pass, etc.): $1,976
Books: $1,074
Deposits (enrollment and housing): $500
Food: $651.79
Clothing: $515.55
Gas: $534.21
Personal :$1,063.34
Miscellaneous : $779.71