Intercultural

Budgeting While Abroad

Montana Dare is a student at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington and is an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Sevilla, Spain.

Lake Como, Italy

Before leaving for Spain, I had many friends say to me, “I would study abroad but it’s so expensive.” So often we associate traveling with big expenses and for some, the fear of spending money will hold them back from exploring the world. If you’re like me you are probably reading this because you are about to study abroad and you are having a hard time figuring out how to budget. Before my arrival in Spain, I spent a lot of my time and effort working multiple jobs, saving money, and worrying about not having enough of it.

Looking back, I do not regret working but I do regret worrying. While studying abroad and especially while in Europe, you will find cheap flights, you will take long bus rides, and you will eat good food all over. So yes, spend 73 dollars to fly to Paris for the day, or buy your friend a VIP ticket to the Kesha concert because you’re studying abroad and you should spend money.

Just remember, you will never have enough money to do everything you want. And that is OKAY. So go ahead and forgive yourself now. Forgive yourself for not having enough money to go everywhere in Europe or buy every pair of shoes you see. Saying no to a trip to Barcelona for the weekend because it doesn’t fit in your budget doesn’t have to mean saying no to adventure. Saying no to things outside of your budget means you find a new adventure to say yes to. Maybe that means exploring the city you live in and becoming more of a local in the place you live. My parents taught me a lot in life but the biggest lesson wasn’t something they intentionally taught me; it was something I saw in the way they lived. They understand how to be content. To be filled up by what they have where they are and who they are. Not only content but overjoyed by their current presence. So wherever you are, be there and enjoy it.

Outside of Dunnottar Castle in Scotland

Save money, but stop worrying about not having enough. I am guessing you are not a billionaire, so make peace with the fact that studying abroad will be the time of your life whether you have $20 or $2,000.

Spend it on what makes you happy and make yourself happy without spending.

The world awaits…..discover it!

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