UNAM, National Autonomous University of Mexico
- 13 May 2021
In addition to finding an internship, possibly arranging a visa and booking an airline ticket, it is also important to set up a budget. It requires a little more preparation, but it is certainly worth it to not always have to keep an eye on your spendings. Having a budget does not mean that you cannot spend any more, but it helps you decide what you want to spend your money on. Do you prefer to eat on a beautiful roof terrace under the sun or would you like to go to the beach for a weekend?
Don’t you know where to start? Let’s discuss a number of tips on how you can get financially sound during your internship abroad.
The largest bill will be your accommodation in which you could also save the most. Finding a nice and affordable room is often one of the most important things you have to do. First of all, ask your internship company if you can help you out. Often companies have experience with a foreign intern looking for accommodation. Without knowing the city it could be very time-consuming and stressful to find a room in a great location, that’s affordable and fun.
Another option is to get in touch with a number of landlords that you will visit in your first week abroad. During this week you could book an Airbnb to have a place to sleep and leave your backs, while you are exploring the different possibilities.
The cost of the food can be very different from the country you are going to. Without paying attention these costs could rise faster than you might expect. During an internship abroad you are easily tempted to go eat at a restaurant and that’s perfectly fine to experience the food of the culture. However, in some countries these costs might rise quickly.
It is a good tip to always make sure that you regularly buy groceries at the supermarket and sometimes cook your dishes at home. Just save some money for dinners with your friends, instead of making eating at a restaurant a habit. Ask your colleagues at your internship for good and affordable places to eat. This will save you some money and help you emerge with the locals.
If you are a real Dutchman you buy a bicycle that will ultimately save you money, but in many cities this is not ideal. It’s best to have an indication of what the transportation costs are prior to when you book an accomodation. This helps you to make the decision if you would rather live close to work or rather closer to, for example, the city center.
Often you can buy a monthly pass that is cheaper than buying a tickets every day. Compared to West Europe, the taxis are often very cheap. For example in Mexico you only pay 1 to 5 euros per ride. It is a good tip to use Uber because you will have a clean taxi, you do not have to negotiate the price and you do not have to pay in cash. You do need a credit card for this, but this is advisable anyway if you are doing an internship abroad. If you do not have a credit card, cash is also an option in certain countries.
Of course, you do not only do an internship abroad to gain professional experience. It is an amazing time and you will have to make the most out of it. Unfortunately you can not take the plane every weekend to discover the country and you can best plan the more expensive trips in advance. You then know how much money you will have to put aside for this and you will be able to more easily reduce costs.
During your internship abroad there will be so many new ideas coming up to do something fun. You never know what adventure you will go on next week. Do not say yes to things that you can hardly afford, but make sure you have room to be flexible and to be able to do unexpected activities.
You now have an estimate of how much you can spend and how you are going to spend this money. A good budget is not useful if you do not apply it properly and do not continue to use it. Especially the first month you do not really know how best to spend your money and you do not know exactly what you spent it on. Fortunately, there are different apps that enable you to easily keep track of your costs. Some good apps are Mint Budgeting, PocketGuard Budget and Goodbudget.
Depending on the size of your budget, these tips are very important to you. If you have a little more to spend than you can live more flexible and you do not have to pay attention to the little ones. It’s most important that you enjoy your internship abroad. The local population can always give you tips about the costs at different restaurants, clubs, public transport or accommodation. Regardless of how much you spend abroad, you will always return richer in experience.