Hello! My name is Ronika and I studied abroad in South Korea for the Fall 2017 Semester.
I want to go over a few ways that I budgeted my money while making sure I could still enjoy myself abroad.
We all want to enjoy our time abroad, but the more you spend doesn’t necessarily equate to having more fun. One of the MOST important things concerning study abroad and funding is to research and apply for multiple scholarships and grants. You can get a lot of information from the Financial Aid Office. I applied to scholarship through USF, as well as non-USF scholarships. Fortunately for me I was awarded $2,500 through the Fall 2017 Global Explorers Travel Award.
Sightseeing and taking LOTS of pictures is a great way to make memories and it doesn’t require a lot of cash. In the picture above I went to Gyeongbukgung Palace in Seoul with my roommates. There is an admission fee to the palace, about $3 USD. Around the palace there are a lot of shops where you can rent a hanbok (traditional Korean dress) for a day. Each shop charges around $10 for the day’s rental. This was affordable because anyone wearing a hanbok gets free admission into the palace.
In this picture I visited Bukchon Hanok Village with my roommates and a friend from the program. Before I went to South Korea I researched some landmarks that would like to see in person. In this picture we are walking around a neighborhood of traditional Korean homes. To save money I definitely recommend looking up what must see places are easy to get to, and focus on making memories, those are always free!
There will be a lot of opportunities to shop. There is something about being in another country that makes you want to buy everything you see. We want to take something home with us to commemorate our trip. My tip to not overspend was to ask myself important questions before every purchase. Is this something that I will treasure in a few years? Can I find this somewhere else at a better price? Will I have space for this in my suitcase? Asking myself theses questions helped me from developing buyer’s remorse or spending money unnecessarily.
Souvenir shopping is a big part of studying abroad. This is a good way to share some of your adventure with friends and family back home. Souvenir shopping can get expensive, so it’s important to plan ahead. To try to curve my spending I dedicated an entire weekend to souvenir shopping. This gave me a chance to compare prices to make sure I was getting the best deal. Also, I only carried a certain amount of money on me when I was shopping, this made it so much easier to control my spending. Whenever I used my credit or debit card, I always checked my account online to keep up with my expenses.
My biggest recommendations for enjoying your time abroad while keeping up with your expenses it to focus on your experiences and plan how and where you want to spend your money.