On traveling abroad as a low-income student

Vanessa Morales
April 30, 2018

Before choosing to study abroad in Berlin, I was heavily discouraged from going to Europe because it is significantly more expensive than the Caribbean or Latin America. However because, Berlin is one of the more affordable cities, I saved money through my three jobs on campus for study abroad, and my program was able to help with one month of transportation costs - so, while I could try to squeeze past the transportation costs, Berlin transportation system runs on a sort of honor code tradition as there are no barriers at the stations, but rather, there are random checks on the trains by plainclothes inspectors who will fine you up to 60 euros if you are caught without a valid ticket. Regardless, Berlin’s fare are cheaper than other European cities such as Paris.

While I highly recommend a budget, I must admit that it was hard for me to abide by it. I would then recommend prioritizing your necessities and wants while abroad. For instance, you can choose to spend 10 euros on brunch or 10 euros for a club cover charge depending on what you want/need that weekend. Admittedly, this is a simplified way of making a decision but it is what worked for me throughout a majority of my time abroad (a few weeks, I did have to cut back and prioritize my well-being over my FOMO).

As for traveling abroad, as much as I would have loved to travel every weekend, it would not have been realistic for my wallet or my body. I choose the places I traveled to based on a desire to know and experience the country as much as I could over a long weekend. Traveling with friends also made the experience easier because as a woman, and as a woman of color, it provided a sense of security knowing there were others with me, and there were also people I could split meals with. I stayed in hostels for all of my trips as they were designated towards young student travelers and are a cheap alternative to hotels and AirBnbs. I would like to note that it is important to realize the role that we take on as tourists and how we may impact the environment of the locals, and to be respectful when traveling to new countries.  

To throw everything in a little nutshell:

  • Saving funds before studying abroad
  • A budget, considering a balance of your necessities and wants
  • Traveling with friends
  • Hostels > hotels and AirBnbs

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Vanessa Morales

<p>Hi y'all! I'm from the beautiful city of Santa Ana, CA, the heart of Orange County in Southern California. At Haverford, I am a QuestBridge Scholar as well as a Chesick Scholar; aside from being a full time student, I work at the Office of Academic Resources and the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship. I also am involved with the Alliance of Latin American Students and a resident of Existence as Resistance House at my school. When I'm not in classes or working, I love to take the time and document memories, and growth, through journals and photographs.</p>

2018 Spring
Home University:
Haverford College
Santa Ana, CA
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