In most developed countries – the average annual living cost for students ranges between Rs 10 lakhs and Rs 15 lakhs. This more than the annual household income of 95% of the families in India.
So – chances are that if you plan to study abroad, living expenses will drain a significant portion of your family’s expenses. However – there are several things you can do to effectively manage your expenses, support yourself and minimize living costs.
In this article, we will explain how you can manage your living expenses abroad.
Before flying abroad, do research on the cost of living in the city you are flying to. You can check your final offer letter to see the annual estimated cost. For more details, you can also check out websites like Numbeo or Livingcost for this.
The first step is to identify cost heads, and how much money living will cost you monthly. We recommend students to make a spreadsheet to estimate costs. The major cost buckets would include:
Once you’ve made a budget – then you need to track your expenses. Every expense made should ideally be added to your expense list. This helps in two ways: (1) The simple act of writing your expenses makes it more likely that you will save money. Writing expenses makes us conscious of how much we spend on each activity which is a deterrent to spending. (2) By tracking expenses – you will be able to identify the largest expense heads and then work on ways to reduce those costs.
One way to minimize expenses is to use discounts available to students. Most countries will provide you with discounts to recurring expenses. Students typically get discounts on:
These discounts can range anywhere from 10% – 50% leading to significant savings over time.
The other way to minimize expenses is by cutting down on unnecessary expenses. For example:
Most countries allow students to work 20 – 24 hours per week while studying and also allow students to work full time when school is not in session. You can thus apply for part-time jobs and internships to cover living expenses. You can apply for these kinds of jobs:
You can work with faculty on research projects by helping them to collect and compile data, setting up and running experiments or documenting research findings. These are high paying jobs but are difficult to get.
As a Teaching Assistant you would help faculty grade assignments and papers, track undergraduate student progress and attendance and take tutorial sessions and solve student queries. These jobs do not pay as much as a Research Assistant job but are easier to get.
On-Campus Part Time Jobs
University campuses abroad have a variety of facilities they provide students with such as a library, gym and canteen. Students can work in such facilities. There are plenty of such jobs in each university, and the hourly wage they pay covers the entire living expense for students.