Alumni Tips for Creating a Study Abroad Budget

You are here

Trying to balance enjoying authentic restaurants, taking bucket-list trips, and visiting all your host city’s hot spots? Sounds like you’re in need of a study abroad budget. Read on for tips from IES Abroad Ambassadors, recent alumni who are ready and eager to help you make the most of study abroad – no matter the size of your bank account.

Determine Your Preferred Budget Strategy

  • “Personally, I allowed myself to spend within reason for the first few weeks. Once I found an average that I was spending, I used that as my weekly budget so I wouldn't overspend too much in later weeks.”
    – Sophia B. (IES Abroad Barcelona, Spring 2017 | University of Wisconsin – Madison)
     
  • “I had a set amount of money going into my semester that was my overall budget. I divided this budget by the number of months I was abroad. I got a credit card that had no international fees, and I paid it monthly with my allotted amount.”
    – Sadie D. (IES Abroad Auckland, Fall 2017 | University of Rochester)
     
  • “For study abroad budgets, it is important to start budgeting from the start before you are spending money freely, and then try to budget whatever amount you have left. I budgeted so I was able to have as much money as possible for weekend traveling and spending.”
    – Cara H. (IES Abroad Amsterdam, Fall 2017 | Penn State University)

Shopping in Chefchaoen, Morocco

Overestimate Costs

  • “I would recommend over budgeting, leaving yourself plenty of wiggle room for unexpected expenses –for example, I had two friends who had to buy new phones while abroad. I'd add about $10 to each known expense. For example, if you know public transport costs will be $40 a month, then budget $50, and you'll have extra money in the end for travel that you saved by accident. Additionally, make sure to take into account exchange rates.”
    – Spencer A. (IES Abroad European Union, Spring 2017 | George Washington University)

Prioritize Your Expenses

  • “Decide what is most important to you, and prioritize based on that. For example, I valued experiences and food over comfort, so when I traveled around, I booked overnight buses (which meant that I didn't have to pay for a hostel room or a flight, but also that I didn't get a whole lot of sleep and wasn't very comfortable) and splurged on nice food, museum tickets, and tours.
    – Julia M. (IES Abroad European Union, Summer 2017 | University of Puget Sound)

Students sitting on bench in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Madrid

Plan for Visiting Friends & Family

  • “Know that if friends come to visit, you'll likely spend more money than you typically would on your own.”
    – Mikaela S. (IES Abroad Amsterdam, Fall 2017 | Purdue University)

Ask Past Students on Your Program

  • “Ask previous students what to expect for daily expenses and how much traveling costs on a student budget. I was able to go in with some expectations for how many trips I wanted to take and how much I wanted to spend. I was able to keep track of my daily purchases and come up with a budget goal within a few weeks.”
    – Liz J. (IES Abroad Buenos Aires, Fall 2017 | Case Western Reserve University)

Don’t know anyone who has studied abroad on your program before? No worries. Contact an IES Abroad Ambassador.

Recent news & press

Feb 25 2:36pm

Top 10 Study Abroad Instagram Photos from January & February 2019

by IES Abroad

Are you ready to fall head over heels for study abroad?

Read more
Feb 22 3:48pm

61 IES Abroad Students Received Gilman Scholarship in 2018-19

by IES Abroad

We are proud to congratulate 61 IES Abroad students who have received the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for the 2018-19 Academic Year.

Read more
Feb 20 11:12am

Reinventing Yourself Through Fashion While Studying Abroad

by IES Abroad

Studying abroad provides a great opportunity to reinvent yourself. Our Ambassadors tell us how they explored their senses of fashion while abroad.

Read more
Feb 20 10:03am

Five Years After Study Abroad: IES Abroad Alum Mallory Rotondo, Speech-Language Pathologist

by IES Abroad

After studying abroad in Christchurch, New Zealand, Mallory Rotondo (IES Abroad Christchurch, Spring 2014 | Purdue University) went on to become an early intervention speech-language pathologist. Read on to hear how this IES Abroad Scholarship recipient’s study abroad experience gave her the skills necessary to be a more understanding clinician.

Read more
Feb 20 9:36am
Madrid

You Can Go Home Again - Alum Reunites with Host Mom Decades After Study Abroad

by IES Abroad

Jeff Rosenthal (IES Abroad Madrid, Spring 1982), had an unforgettable experience studying abroad in Madrid, thanks in part to his warmhearted homestay mom, Señora Carmen. Jeff shares, in his own words, how he returned to Madrid to find his homestay residence was still the home he cherished and remembered.

Read more
Feb 19 2:12pm

Our Colleagues, Students, and Alumni Make Black History Abroad

by IES Abroad

At IES Abroad, we believe that every black student going abroad, past or present, is making black history abroad.

Read more