How Exchange Students Manage To Save Money

On why IKEA is not the only place where you can buy furniture, grocery shopping as a way to go to London and more.

How Exchange Students Manage To Save Money

As it might be already known to some of you who have completed the Expenses Estimation Form at least once, going somewhere as an exchange student might be quite expensive. While some might only realize that halfway through and manage to figure out how to save the money that is left, it’s always better to plan your expenditures way ahead.

I decided to reach out to Anastasia Vlasenko who has just returned from her exchange in Norway and discuss some of the tips and tricks for those about to begin their semester abroad. We’ve come up with total of four points we’d like to draw your attention to.

And he took off running to IKEA – the land of pillows, lamps and carpets.

Exchange students usually either stay at the dorms or rent a flat or a room on such platforms as Airbnb, Booking, etc. While in the latter case students might already have everything they need at the place they are staying at, those students who are staying at the dorms might face some of the difficulties regarding the lack of some furniture or interior design pieces. Sometimes lamps might not be working properly, pillows might not be comfortable enough, there might be not enough power sockets… As one might guess, in such cases students quite often rush to such stores as IKEA to buy everything they think they are in desperate need of. However, what you need to know is that various student organizations that somehow deal with what’s going on in the dorms often organize fairs to give the incoming students some of the things that other students have left.

As Anastasia recalls, her roommate ended up getting a fan she could buy for 20 crowns for only 7 crowns at one of such fairs. It’s always a good idea to ask local students if there are any fairs of that kind. That might help you to save a lot of money.

Know your public transportation system.

You probably do not even realize how much money you spend taking a bus or using the subway every day. While making effort to save some money by taking a walk instead of paying for a bus ticket is always a good idea, we would also like you to remember that there are other ways to save money while still using the public transportation. Information on various discounts for students or teenagers, changes in prices and instructions on how to get a card (instead of buying one-way tickets all the time) can often be found on the official websites or apps. On top of that, don’t forget that people working at the subway stations or ticket offices would also be willing to help you out. Talking to other students or people working at the international office of your university is also an option since they, for sure, have a lot more experience with local transportation system than you do.

Anastasia, for instance, found out that there was a special transportation card for people under 21 years old and payed 35 euro for her card instead of 46.

What you eat matters. How much you pay for that matters just as much.

Anastasia also mentioned that it is important to talk to local students to find out where they go to buy groceries. Sometimes differences between prices for some products might seem not that big, but it definitely adds up as you keep buying them, and sometimes the price difference is so significant that you can actually buy sometimes a lot more expensive and cool with the money you saved: Anastasia says, that she even managed to get a ticket to London!

Another important reminder is to check if there are any apps that would enable you to save some money by using various codes, buying products that are on sale or getting sets instead of buying everything separately.

Travelling is good. Planning everything is advance is even better.

Anastasia mentioned that it is extremely important to check ticket prices on official websites of airlines and to compare them. There are most probably local airlines from which you could easily afford buying a ticket, so make sure you did your research and found the best option for you. Don’t be scared to travel! Exchange is a wonderful opportunity to explore other cities and countries. And don’t be scared to try something new: travel by train instead of getting a plane ticket, travel with friends to make the whole experience even better, stay at hotels that are less popular but have something unique about them.

We know that you are probably overwhelmed by the amount of planning that has to be done for your exchange to go smoothly, but the time and effort you invest in it will definitely pay off. Good luck! 

Interview by
Nadezhda Bykova